Gain useful knowledge about technology and business from various resources.

Internet of Things (IoT), what is it?

Products built with machine to machine (M2M) communication capabilities are often referred to as being smart. With the concept of Internet of Things (IoT) objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data within the existing Internet infrastructure without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

The concept wasn’t named until 1999, but ‘Internet of Things’ has been in development for decades. The first Internet appliance was a Coke machine at Carnegie Melon University, USA in the early 1980s. The programmers could connect to the machine over the Internet, check the status of the machine and determine whether or not there would be a cold drink awaiting them, should they decide to make the trip down to the machine.

‘IoT’ in
Infrastructure management

Monitoring and controlling operations of urban and rural infrastructures is a key application of IoT. It can also be utilized for scheduling repair and maintenance activities in an efficient manner, by coordinating tasks between different service providers and users of these facilities. Usage of IoT for monitoring and operating infrastructure is likely to improve incident management and emergency response coordination, quality of service, up-times and reduce costs of operation in all infrastructure related areas.

Building and home automation

Implementation of IoT also offers immense support in the development of smart buildings/ smart cities. IoT can be used to monitor and control the development, mechanical, electrical and electronic systems used in various types of buildings (e.g., public and private, industrial, institutions, or residential). With dedicated processes for real time analysis, incident management, energy usage analysis, IOT will be able to pinpoint areas needing correction immediately, resulting effective decision making and sustainable development.

How does IoT translate into opportunity for SoftTech?

SoftTech Engineers Ltd (Previously known as SoftTech Engineers Pvt Ltd) is well placed to reap the advantages of IoT. With products like PWIMS, AutoDCR and OPTICON we are already automating crucial government processes, providing data for effective analysis in the world of infrastructure asset development and building. With due efforts, our products stand to gain more; by including

more modules which not only are related to a singular process but to the overall development of building, city or country.

Project Estimation : in quick easy 5 steps

As one of the major responsibilities for Quantity Surveyor and Project Estimators, accurate cost estimation is very important for success of the project with profits. Exercising the best practices for cost estimation is therefore an important task.

Cost estimation consists of extracting bill of quantities from design drawings and details of the project, arriving at proper rate of items associated to the project by considering all resources Material , Labor and Machineries. It is an important part of the planning and design phase of any construction project and one of the most critical tasks for a construction project manager. If estimated to higher side you may lose the project whereas estimating lower will end up in losses.

Here is our quick 5 steps solution to smooth Project Costing and Estimation.

Step 1: Understand the Design Details Thoroughly

Understanding the project’s design details is crucial to estimating the cost because each task within the project derives from a project’s design and these tasks require time, employees and other important resources that must be considered during cost estimation. Sometimes even the tiniest misunderstanding can create huge deviation in cost estimation. Mr. Sundar Shastry, PMP ®, certified Project Management Professional, emphasizes that “In construction project planning, accurate project estimation is the first step towards successful Project Management. Precise computation of quantity and arriving at perfect rate of items is very crucial for accurate estimation.”

SoftTech specialist have developed a product to automatically takeoff quantity by directly reading AutoCAD drawings given by Architects and Structural designers. Hence, all the products and variants of Opticon have in-build capability of generating BOQ of building project directly through reading AutoCAD drawings, which will facilitate project managers to achieve accurate quantity estimation. Opticon also has a specialized module to do detail Rate Analysis of Items.

Step 2: Plan for the Unexpected

During the cycle of a construction project, many things do not go exactly as planned or expected. Project manager should be activate and vigilant towards cost and time variance due to unexpected happenings. Opticon provide early stage alerts and warning when project activities do not go as expected and therefore help project manager take appropriate measures to address the situation at right time.

Step 3: Break Down Tasks

Agile project management approach is always better for planning a construction project. Estimation of project time lines based on availability of resources is crucial for timely delivery of the project. The project should be divided into a number of physical milestones. Each Milestone should be divided into smaller tasks that all contribute to achieving the milestone. While scheduling a project in Opticon, project manager can meticulously break down bigger tasks into smaller milestones and activities and keep a close monitoring on each task for cost and time variance.

Step 4: Provide Justification

People often ask the question, “why?” They want to know the reasons behind a certain decision. If project managers designate a certain amount of time and money for a task, they need to provide proper reasons to justify their decision. Being able to explain why each task is apart of the project plan and why it has been allotted the intended effort gives project managers’decision reliability and credibility.

Managers need to provide justification for their decisions to not only the higher ups but also to contractors and those working under them because such information impacts the jobs of all parties involved in the project.

Step 5: Be Flexible

Many times, projects do not go according to plan and unexpected problems surface. Even though project managers devote considerable planning and careful cost estimating, things change when the project is in full swing and new plan and estimation are needed. Project managers need to be flexible with their estimations and expect that unforeseen problems might arise and their original estimations would need quick adjustments. Cost estimation is an important task on a construction project because it makes a huge impact down the line. If done incorrectly, the project will suffer serious loss. It is an undertaking that takes practice, trial-and-error and experience to master. With best practices to refer to, however, conducting precise and trustworthy cost estimation that benefits the project and the organization can be achieved.

Source : Excerpts from ‘Come to the Closest Estimate for Your Construction Project Using These Great Tips’ written by Nan Nan Liu & edited by: Ronda Bowen.

Investments in India Infrastructure

With the growing Infrastructure projects in India, we have seen foreign investments pouring large. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has offered to invest $2 billion on infrastructure development in India, said Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Monday 22ndApril.

Sharma along with Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had co-chaired the joint investment task force meeting heldon Feburary 18 in Abu Dhabi.

“It was decided that governments of both countries would provide assistance and support for expediting the resolution of issues associated with existing investments and opportunities for new cross-border investment across a range of sectors,” said the minister. Having established leadership in providing IT products and solutions managing growth of Infrastructure companies SoftTech has a great opportunity ahead due to this huge investment.

Source: UAE offers to invest $2 bn in Indian infrastructure, IANS, Mon 22-Apr 2013