Constructing a Connected Enterprise
Winter Park Construction is a Florida-based construction company with a focus on renovating and constructing commercial buildings, multi-family units, student housing builds, hospitality and government buildings. Winter Park’s trademarked slogan is “Building Beyond the Blueprint.” That is how they operate their company, their worksites, and how they wanted Cognizant Microsoft Business Group and Microsoft to approach solving their issues. Their goal is to be a modern company in a traditional industry.
Winter Park was facing roadblocks that were stopping them from elevating their operations and creating a more modern business. As a construction company, they are obligated to restrict access to work sites as a safety measure and only allow certain workers on-site. This can become cumbersome while running numerous job sites and using various sub-contractors; it becomes difficult to track with much room for error. Safety is another top priority for Winter Park, and all on-site workers are OSHA-regulated to wear hard hats and safety vests. However, accounting for the presence of both the hard hat and safety vest on each worker is a time-consuming activity for the on-site manager. Construction companies function with their employees and equipment dispersed around job sites. Overnights and weekends means that their equipment sits idle and at risk for possible theft. It requires a great deal of man hours and organization to ensure that the right equipment is at the right location at the right time.
Previously, there was no way of tracking who was on a job site, the presence of safety gear or high-value equipment, except to do it manually. Winter Park's old tracking system included a checklist and badges that identified the subcontractors, but no automatic collection of data. All this affects billable hours and project management governance to estimate timelines.
"Partnering with Cognizant Microsoft Business Group was undoubtedly the right choice for us. They have helped us connect us to our employees and equipment in a way that has never been possible. We can track who is on each job site, guarantee safety gear is in place, and maintain control over equipment location. The innovation that Cognizant MBG implemented has changed the way we work and serve our clients every day."
Cognizant Microsoft Business Group’s goal was to help make Winter Park a Connected Enterprise by turning data into insight and insight into action. New Signature leveraged the idea of “Building Beyond the Blueprint” to solve the problem of unauthorized site visitors and safety regulations. It was determined that an Internet-of-Things (IoT) solution would provide Winter Park with the insight they needed to remain diligent and save time and man hours.
Cognizant MBG met Winter Park’s needs by building a prototype RFID reader and connecting data streams to the Azure IoT Suite. Once data was streaming to the cloud, Cognizant Microsoft Business Group built an architecture of supporting Azure IoT services to stream, analyze, store, and visualize the data. This system also sends real-time text and email alerts to the worksite operators. The information received from the alerts will identify if anyone is unauthorized to be on-site and ensure that those on-site are meeting safety regulations by tracking their personal protective equipment.
Once the information is funneled into Azure, Azure translated that data into action by generating alerts and notifications on the Power BI dashboard in real-time. The data revealed who was onsite by location, date or project, and if there were any safety violations related to those sites or individuals. All of this contributed to an IoT solution that ingested real-time data from remote RFID readers to create attendance tracking logs and issue real-time alerts, ultimately presenting this information in a highly visual Power BI dashboard and bringing work site administrators easily to the data they need to manage.
Benefits & Results
The benefits and business impacts of the IoT solution Cognizant MBG implemented for Winter Park Construction were multi-faceted. The discovery of actionable intelligence and modernized business operations is helping Winter Park transition from manual processes to operational efficiency. Optimizing the number of sub-contractors needed to finish a specific job and monitoring safety regulations will save money spent on extra resources and violation fines. The IoT solution establishes Winter Park as early adopters, giving them a heavy competitive advantage in the large-scale construction industry. Also, Cognizant Microsoft Business Group is currently walking alongside Winter Park to develop an asset management program that leverages the Azure IoT Suite and helps them to optimize their supply chain for lumber and other critical resources.
For Winter Park, device connectivity is only the beginning when realizing value from the IoT solution. They now have data which provides resource optimization and project management efficiency. As real-time data continues to gather from current work sites (RFID tags), it can then be compared to Winter Park's project plans and timeline when developing upcoming construction jobs.
Cognizant MBG approaches all IoT and Advanced Analytics opportunities with a data science lens while also looking toward the future of a business to create the connected enterprise. Through innovation and repeatable methodology Cognizant Microsoft Business Group was able to leverage the value of IoT and Advanced Analytics along with our partnership with Microsoft in order to achieve the Construction of a Connected Enterprise with Winter Park Construction.