Applications of converged networks in construction

Converged networks which carry voice, video and data have promised cost savings for its users. Much of the construction industry spends over £1 million on communication, mainly from the construction sites to headquarters. With the use of IP telephony and converged networks, the cost can be reduced significantly. Using existing 802.11b/g wireless networks, access to the voice network can be delivered on a construction site allowing mobile users access to personnel as well as data instantly. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) plays a major role as a catalyst for convergence. Although it is sometimes viewed as just another means of transporting voice communication, the use of one single network provides opportunities for advanced applications that can support and enhance the construction workflow. The introduction of Voice over a Wireless Local Area Network (VoWLAN) allows the opportunities to expand onto the construction site. This paper looks at the emergence of VoIP and examines how this can be brought to the construction site. The paper reports on research carried out with the UK construction industry, identifying communication trends as well as information storage of this communication. With this information, the paper attempts to identify processes where the technology can provide key benefits.