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Orange deploys private LoRaWAN for McConnell Dowell to help with construction site automation

Orange Business Services, the enterprise services division of French telecoms firm Orange, has been appointed by New Zealand based infrastructure construction company McConnell Dowell to design a customised IoT system based on a private LoRaWAN network to enable its construction sites to collect and report on real-time information.  

The pair said the construction industry faces certain challenges with equipment and labour shortages, short project schedules, and rising costs of infrastructure delivery. New IoT capabilities will allow McConnell Dowell’s construction sites to tackle these issues, and to bring smarter decision making for operational efficiencies and cost reductions, they said. In particular, the solution will optimise equipment usage, and introduce asset tracking.

Orange has completed a ‘co-creation’ exercise with the firm to define use case applications. Orange said it has created a “flexible and scalable” IoT platform to handle real-time information over a private IoT network, and drive automation on site. The solution digitizes paper-centric processes and removes manual tasks from the construction site. Previously, McConnell Dowell could only access reports that were manually collated from physically captured data.

The IoT platform allows McConnell Dowell to access and manage multiple devices and sensors collecting environmental data. It can collect telemetry data such as machine movements across wide areas. The system integrates with its supply chain, too, to track material such as concrete panels from the manufacturer through to transportation and installation. 

Data is sent across a LoRaWAN network to the company for analysis, correlating with other environmental data. There is no mention of cellular IoT in the press statement. More use cases, business applications and new construction site roll outs are planned across the business. 

Rhys Craigie, alliance systems manager at McConnell Dowell, said: “Infrastructure delivery costs are rising by eight percent per annum. Efficient project management directly impacts our business performance. We are focused on embedding technology in our processes and Orange proved to be an ideal innovation partner. We are now working jointly to develop solutions that can be used at various project locations for different use cases. Together, we are future-proofing our business through agile, scalable and smart solutions that streamline business insights.”

Kevin Griffen, managing director for Orange Business Services in Australasia, said: “We take pride in working with organizations who lead their industry in driving digital transformation and continuous innovation. McConnell Dowell is revolutionizing the way infrastructure construction projects have been managed over the decades. We look forward to co-innovating with them to drive robust IoT-enabled ecosystems for large scale projects that touch millions of lives globally.”

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