Livermore, CA — In construction job site management, the key to increasing productivity, effectively managing assets and improving profit percentages is communication – between people, between machines.
In the construction business, mastering the art and science of communication is paramount to success, in a boom economy or during an industry-wide slowdown.
In the construction communications community, the new buzzword is telematics, a word that means the sending and receiving of information via telecommunications.
But in the fast-paced world of telecommunications technology, it means much more than that.
Telematics opens up an entirely new world of communication . . . from transmitting individual pieces of information from big iron to the job trailer, from machines to the home office (no matter where it’s located on the globe), or even from machine to machine.
Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) has made a giant leap into the telematics marketplace by forming a new Telematics Business Unit, headed by Mark Bittner, senior vice president. The telematics team has hit the ground running with a targeted solution for the construction and agriculture markets. Within the first 60 days of operation, TPS had mobile control and monitoring equipment installed and operating with key customers at five test sites – three in the United States and two in Europe.
Topcon’s emergence as a global player in the telematics business is the result of a joint venture with Divitech S.p.A., a telematics solution provider based in Turin, Italy. The joint venture company is Tierra™.
Established in 1997, Divitech is an experienced software development and management company with a global footprint providing analysis, design, realization and installation of fleet management systems, as well as value-added, web-based solutions.
"Topcon Tierra™, along with its myriad application is the product of the TPS telematics business unit," Bittner said. "It uses advanced GPS technology to form a two-way, web-based communications system with unlimited commercial, core-to-client applications.
"Topcon Tierra takes information available from any piece of machinery – regardless of age, make or model, analog or digital – and sets up two-way communications, transmitting data about the tracking or operation of the vehicle, plus behavioral aspects of the machines," Bittner said.
He described Topcon Tierra as a "tool to increase productivity and reduce costs, allowing users to access a ‘window’ into machine operations from anywhere in the world, via the web."
Gianluca Fiori, founder of Divitech and a pioneer in web applications for job site management, said, "Telematics will become the decisive factor in job site management information in the future. With Topcon Tierra telematic service, what you do at the machine will be available from a remote location and all that you do in a remote office will be directly available on the operating vehicle.
"In this way you can have complete monitoring and control of all phases of every job," he said. "Adopting and utilizing the best technology for a business will help every operator increase productivity and profitability like never before."
Topcon has been "working hard to get into this market segment," Bittner said, "and now we’re doing it in a substantial way. It’s a major priority for Topcon Positioning Systems and a key component of our managed services offering."
Fiori said, "Topcon Tierra is a complete Internet application, linking together remote devices in a centralized service. We don’t use just a single technology but adopt the best the IT can offer. In a fast changing world, we built our web application on the best ingredients available at the moment but we are ready to move to the new ones tomorrow.
"Modularity, flexibility and scalability are really not buzz words for this new technology application, but words we live by every single day with every single product application."
Construction companies worldwide are looking "to Topcon to give them a total management solution to better track and analyze their entire operations. With Topcon Tierra, we are giving them the same around-the-corner solutions in the telematics area that we have in machine control."
The beauty of the Topcon Tierra system is that "it literally puts you in the passenger seat of every single machine on virtually every job site, anywhere in the world."
Bittner described Topcon Tierra as a "return-on-investment-based solution, guaranteeing each customer measurable time savings in machinery upkeep and repair, in man-hours expended and in increased productivity. Companies realize measurable productivity increases and real return-on-investment from day one. The payback is in months, not years.
"It’s a total solution for every construction firm, big or small, allowing for you to stay competitive through improved operations.”
What is Topcon Tierra?
The Topcon Tierra job site management system utilizes remote communications devices to provide a centralized information service on virtually every aspect of a job site.
The main features of the system include:
• Access is via a login and password, necessitating management authorization.
• The secure, open-structure database has both import and export functionality, plus automatic back-up. It also can export reports to Excel, external database or designated third party formats.
• Its communications capabilities include large fleet management, multi-channel availability (GPRS/UMTS and WiFi), with streaming and ftp capability.
• Mapping availability include Google maps engine, plus customer shape file and points of interest.
• Complete Internet application with multi-language interface.
• The ADL-100 or ADL-200 controllers are secure 2GB digital devices that are CAN bus, Ethernet, USB or RS232 compatible. The AM-50 is an entry-level unit with basic telematics functions. It is an ultra-small but powerful asset management tool.
• The units’ machine function gives real time data localization, fleet management information, individual machine status, machine location information, plus text messaging between machines or from machine to other locations.
• The "dashboard" function gives perfect, individualized instrument panel reproductions for each machine, appropriate pie and bar charts on performance, with "quick glance" view of mo st important features.
• Topcon Tierra’s diagnostics feature includes messages from other electronic devices, firmware uploads, periodic maintenance reports, and real time video streaming.
• An alarm function shows when vehicle is outside set parameters, i.e., geo-fencing; notification via various modes of communication.
• The reporting platform includes: path run, engine-on time, fuel consumption, telemetry status and productivity. It also can compare performance of vehicles and operators, and generates specified reports automatically.
Topcon Tierra website: www.topcontierra.com
About Topcon Positioning Systems
Topcon Positioning Systems, a developer and manufacturer of positioning equipment, offers the world’s leading selection of innovative precision GPS, GIS, laser, agriculture, optical surveying, and machine control products, software, and applications. Topcon Corporation is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (7732).