A laptop and angular custom device.

Buildstream brings the networked construction equipment to the job site

Buildstream is a construction startup leveraging data and internet-of-things (IoT) technology to improve the utilization and efficiency of heavy equipment. Started by a team of developers, engineers, and experts from the construction industry, Buildstream has developed hardware and software to empower contractors with precise, real-time information about equipment location and operation.

Buildstream uses a custom algorithm to detect equipment operation data gathered from existing OEM systems or their own off-the-shelf IoT hardware. Whether a user owns or rents their equipment, they can gauge performance, track costs, maintenance, and availability, and make better-informed decisions to improve efficiency. This information links to a central dashboard that can be monitored anywhere across the supply chain, on-site or in the office. This proprietary software can also integrate with existing project management software and other tools, connecting everyone involved with a project.

In addition to saving time and money, this equipment could also potentially help reduce the environmental impact of the construction industry; better planning and increased efficiency mean diesel-powered machines will burn less fuel than they might otherwise.

Making heavy equipment a little smarter is the first step toward embracing the broader changes that may come as the construction industry embraces automation. “Our vision is to become the industry’s standard equipment management platform, whether that’s autonomous or man-operated equipment,” said David Polanski, chief operating officer of Buildstream. “We believe that in order for automation to have real positive impact on the way we run construction projects, we need to have better control of the data that already exists today and have the right systems in place that allow us to learn from it. This is exactly what BuildStream is built for.”

In addition to improving efficiency, most contractors believe IoT technology will increase job site safety, protect investments, and reduce risk. In fact, according to a recent report by Dodge Data & Analytics, the top motivator for adopting new technology isn’t increased efficiency, but lower insurance premiums.

The report also notes that there may be challenges to the emerging industry, as few contractors budget for technology, choosing to instead absorb the costs or pass them along to the client. However, as data increases with adoption, so too will the benefits. “When [contractors] see something that will improve their projects and their profitability, they embrace it,” said Steve Jones, Senior Director of Industry Insights Research at Dodge Data & Analytics. “Their enthusiasm for IoT technologies suggests that we may see the project job site become much smarter in the next few years.”