I will never forget the look on my son Tyler’s face as we backed out of his grandparent’s home late one Christmas day. At nine-years-old, he had received his first computer for Christmas, a small netbook -- the perfect starter. He said in an ever-so sad voice, “Dad, my computer is not working.” I looked over and replied, “Son, we are not connected to the Internet anymore. You can still use your computer, you just can’t connect it to the Internet while we are driving.” In a tone of voice increasingly glum-sounding, he said “If it can’t connect to the Internet what good is it?” Then came the obligatory speech about the old days and how the Internet came after computers. All of this was met, of course, with the usual eye-rolling and the deepening of my dinosaur-experience hole.
Every time I think about the construction industry and Cloud applications, I think of my son. His connectivity issues are not unlike those experienced by the construction industry when it comes to Cloud applications: If you can’t get to them – what good are they? And, the issue is actually bigger than that. A lot of important business takes place at a construction site and sharing and using field information in real time can pose a business-critical challenge. The construction site is where risk is heightened and where quick, fact-based decisions need to be made in the battle for margins. For a long time, it’s also been the place that’s been disconnected from all the tools that can improve productivity, manage risk, and enable effective decision making. But – that was then. Today, portable Internet access is available from B4 Consulting's valued partner OpenRoute.
OpenRoute was born out of CoCo Communications, which was established post-911 to build software-defined, tactical communications solutions that enable people in mobile- and zero-infrastructure environments to share information securely and reliably. OpenRoute was formed to commercialize aspects of CoCo technology in support of the construction industry. The result: OpenRoute™ OnSite Wi-Fi - a truly state-of-the-art, construction-rugged device, which extends Internet connectivity past the trailer and out into the field. OpenRoute OnSite Wi-Fi is easy to set up. It starts with connecting a small, self-contained yellow box to your existing Internet and power sources. That's it. When you need even more coverage as the job site expands and structures are built, add another yellow box or two, or more. The yellow boxes connect wirelessly and automatically, forming their own mesh network.
OpenRoute On-Site Wi-Fi - A briefcase-sized yellow box that's easy to deploy and use.
To assist in deploying additional yellow boxes, you get a free OpenRoute™ NetMeter mobile application, which quickly identifies where to place units for optimal coverage across the site. You can even pick up a yellow box and move it for the day. No professional site survey or calling the wireless carrier. No need to add expensive controllers or computer-based software programs to manage the network.
OpenRoute Wi-Fi is a fully enclosed “simple-to-deploy” piece of communications hardware that’s built to withstand the harshest weather elements. A single weatherproof connection point substantially reduces installation time, moves and re-configurations.
I’ll let the facts speak for themselves:
- Top-of-the-line radio cards generate maximum FCC allowable transmit power with extreme receiver sensitivity. Supports HT20 and HT40 backhaul speeds (130/300 Mbps) with very low latency. MIMO technology optimizes packet delivery.
- The “best” antennae available – 2 omni-directional 5.8 Ghz and 2 cardioid patch 2.4 Ghz antennas installed in opposing positions provide a host of orientation/positioning options without changing antennas. Patch antennas optimize user experience in high noise environments.
- Near-perfect antenna/card match (VSWR) for optimum coverage and throughput.
- Operates in Layer 2, each unit capable of multiple roles
- Self-forming network - does not require hardware or Cloud-based controller
- Both 2.4 and 5.8 Ghz networks secured
- Remote connectivity secure terminal via SSH
- Multiple SSID and Radius support
- Basic industry standard 802.11g/n/s protocols, compatible with standard networks
- Enhanced patented software developed to “fix” 29 serious routing deficiencies in standard 802.11s improving packet delivery, throughput speeds, and user experience
- Radius support
- Downloadable OpenRoute NetMeter app. supports set-up, configuration, and management without a laptop
- Rover capability for instant network extension/fill-in
- A myriad of mounting options for virtually any environment or application
Sample Deployment of OpenRoute On-Site Wi-Fi
OpenRoute's rock-solid technology has been extensively field testing with several contractors and in different construction environments: vertical and horizontal construction; high-rise commercial construction; industrial construction; and in multiple infrastructure sites. Contractors such as Bayley Construction and Lease Cruther Lewis are among contractors who have deployed their yellow boxes. And, here are just a few of the benefits they are realizing:
- Immediate access to information reduces rework
- Reduced RFIs ($1500/RFI)
- Near elimination of “Trailer Walks” ($20-$40/walk
- Field Data Management Tools save an average of 9.1 hours per user, per week
- Improved “single entry” collaboration eliminates multiple emails on multiple enterprise networks, and multiple phone calls
- Reduced/eliminated significant printing costs (paper, ink, printers, time, etc.) by going “paperless” onsite
- Reduced/eliminated mobile carrier data fees ($25/GB)
- Improved accuracy of project bids as a result of real-time data collection/tracking closer on the job site
- Data connectivity to sub-contractors (monthly charge or free) to improve productivity
At B4 Consulting, we design solutions that give our customers end-to-end functionality utilizing the best technologies available. Many of the emerging solutions are Cloud based, which gives customers quick and easy implementations, rapid time to value, and the lowest total cost of ownership. Our Cloud solutions enabled by partners such as Ariba, Corecon and MobileLogix provide rich functionality. With OpenRoute we solve the connectivity problems of the past and provide reliable access to applications and data that are needed at your jobsite. We have partnered with OpenRoute to help solve construction site connectivity issues regardless of the applications you are using.
And to my son, Tyler, you are spot-on – applications aren’t worth much if you can’t connect to the Internet.
Let’s talk if you are ready to see how OpenRoute’s innovative technology can improve your field operations. Contact me at email@example.com.
Phillip Schell is vice president of Industry Solutions at B4 Consulting.