How ISO standards connect construction stakeholders for an interoperable job site

The construction industry currently grapples with disconnected systems: With each technology provider using proprietary systems, data is siloed and processes remain fragmented. This inability to integrate data across platforms has hindered the widespread adoption of machine control.

Now, a new framework from the International Standards Organisation (ISO) facilitates integration and automation by standardising machine characteristics and data exchanges for earth-moving and road construction machinery — a crucial milestone in the industry’s journey towards autonomy.

Machine control will no longer be limited by brand-specific languages, meaning mixed fleets will be able to share data in a common format. The standards will allow the industry to unlock machine control’s full potential to benefit from enhanced efficiency, accuracy, and profitability.

This set of standards dates back to 2010, and this latest framework, expected to be implemented later this year, is its fourth generation. Collaborating closely with industry peers Hexagon has been heavily involved in the development over the past six years.

The construction industry is under increasing pressure to embrace digitalisation, and technology providers play a pivotal role in facilitating this transition towards heightened connectivity and guiding the industry towards machine control solutions.

An immediate impact

Interoperability paves the way for automation. Machine control adoption is already increasing in the construction industry and every step towards autonomy will bring additional benefits for the industry. Project managers, OEMs, and contractors will feel immediate benefits, including increased time-efficiency, profitability, sustainability and accuracy.

For project managers, real-time centralised visibility of all equipment and progress data enables better project oversight and planning. OEMs can integrate with more third-party solutions, offering customers more flexibility. Contractors also see benefits — streamlined data exchange avoids wasted time and costly errors, while integrated workflows enable significant efficiency gains.

Collaborating for the benefit of all

The potential benefits of the new standards for customers are enormous. Many construction firms operate with mixed fleets from various technology providers. If each technology solution uses proprietary data formats, machine control solutions remain disjointed and thus insular.

Open data exchange standards between machines simplify workflows and integration. By enabling seamless communication between all equipment, teams can invest in the machinery and software that suits them and the project best. It also relieves the burden on the site workers who can concentrate on core construction operations, rather than data wrangling.

These new standards for earth-moving and road construction machinery are just one part of the puzzle. ISO working groups for safety, communications, and sensors will launch additional standards that also contribute to autonomy in construction.

Openly exchanging experience and expertise between industry players when developing standards like this is key. Together, we can position the industry to thrive in the era of connected machine control, and ultimately, autonomy.

[1] ISO Technical Committee 127 Subcommittee 3, specifically the subgroup 15143 - Working Group for earth-moving machinery and road construction machinery worksite data exchange. Parts 1 and 2 were published in 2010 and Part 3 in 2016.

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