Guest blogger: Mr. Markku Palkama, Destia Oy, Finland
Data management in a demanding infrastructure project with several subcontractors can be very challenging. However, it becomes extremely challenging when subcontractors use different machine control systems than we as the main contractor. When data does not automatically transfer from one system to another, it needs to be handled manually which is both costly and time-consuming. If all parties would use the same system, such as Xsite®, such problems wouldn’t exist.
“Data management plays a remarkable role in a large infrastructure project. Information needs to move fast to. In an ideal situation, data moves fast in real-time to drivers, surveyors, and site management. This enables efficient work and monitoring the progression of the construction work.
Sadly, that is often not the case. In reality, data moves slowly or not at all. This is because of the large variety of machine control systems used on site by subcontractors.
Imagine a situation where 50 excavators are standing still because their drivers cannot have access to the data needed. This happened to us just a while ago when we transferred a new model through a cloud service. It took about 1,5 hours to sync to the server, and only then the drivers had access to it.
Disparate systems cause problems in data transfer and require extra work
In one of our large infrastructure projects, we are currently using three other machine control systems in addition to Xsite®. Data management is not so straightforward when there are different types of machine control systems, which produce different types of information content, and the different systems do not talk to each other because of different formats. This causes data not to move.
To overcome the problem and avoid costly delays caused by poor data transfer, we have had to come up with a solution to manage all the different systems. To get the data moving from one system to another with other machine control systems than Xsite®, we have to transfer the data either manually or through another system, possibly edit the data and then enter it manually into another system. Currently, we are using two cloud services for this, Trimble Connect and Infrakit, as tools to transfer data. At the moment, we have somewhat made it to work, but it requires extra work, and it is not trouble-free.
Infrakit is an information management and quality presentation system developed for cloud services and construction. Xsite® is connected to Infrakit, which makes data transfer automatic, while the other systems connect to it through their own cloud services and certain interfaces. Then there are of course those systems that do not connect to Infrakit at all making data management extremely difficult for us.
Working towards a shared goal — making data management easier
We have been working with Novatron and using Xsite® for over 20 years now. In fact, our collaboration culminates in Xsite® which is a final product of our fruitful collaboration. All in all, Novatron has done a lot to unify and take things forward on the infrastructure side, which we are thankful for.
For us, Xsite® is the best system for presenting our data management and quality. The way how information is managed and how the system compiles different files with each other help all parties: drivers, surveyors, and site management. Presenting data to the customer is also easy with Xsite®.
When choosing subcontractors, my advice is to ask in advance which system they use. If it is compatible with the system that you use, you are good to go.
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