Japanese operator NTT Docomo has signed a partnership agreement with Japan-based global engineering company JGC. The two companies plan to jointly develop a digital platform to enable large plants being constructed overseas to be remotely managed from Japan.
Under the terms of the deal, Docomo and JGC will start the joint development of a platform designed to enable the visualization and management of progress at overseas construction sites while remaining in Japan, with the aim of starting its use at construction sites in Southeast Asia and the Middle East by the end of 2022.
The platform will combine JGC’s expertise in on-site operations and project-management knowledge and Docomo’s technologies for drones, AI, and security. It will also be powered by Visual Command Center, a patented visual construction management solution from U.S.-based company Reconstruct.
Key functions of the Visual Command Center include the creation of a 3D point cloud model of a construction site from images taken with drones or 360-degree cameras; conversion of 2D images to 3D point cloud models; integration of images and 3D point cloud models with BIM / CIM (vertical and horizontal construction modeling) and drawing data; and creation of a 4D model by integrating the schedule data and visualize progress management including construction delays and punctuality.
This international partnership (involving three companies, NTT Docomo, JGC and Reconstruct) points toward an expansion of the concept of the IoT, such that it reaches the level of sophisticated, globally linked control suitable for massive construction projects. The platform benefits from the combined expertise of two quite different entities—the construction and plant-management knowledge of JGC and the IoT, AI and drone technologies of NTT Docomo. Here we see a mobile operator bringing to the table advanced systems of communication and control, not just network connectivity.
If this project succeeds, it will serve as an example to large MNOs in other markets as to what they can accomplish by exploiting the ever-increasing capabilities of the IoT. For industrial firms that have global reach, the possibility of global remote control and modeling for plant construction must be very attractive. If MNOs can partner with the appropriate entities to offer such functionalities, they can achieve cutting-edge relevance and the possibility of large and continuous revenue streams. With IoT, the sky really is the limit, and by providing connectivity, knowledge and auxiliary technologies such as AI and drones, operators can be pioneers in this new world.