LET’S TALK TECHNOLOGY
Every major equipment manufacturer is encouraging you to give technology a try. Caterpillar is no exception. We believe innovation can help you:
- Reduce accidents and injuries
- Move more material—faster and more accurately at a lower cost
- Boost productivity, even with less experienced operators
- Attract and retain skilled operators
- Use your assets more efficiently
- Increase uptime
- Get full life from major components
- Cut fuel costs
- Reduce emissions
- Control capital expenditures
- Prevent theft
- Improve bidding accuracy
In short, it can be a path to higher profitability.
While the benefits of technology are easy to understand, the terminology can be confusing. Take a minute to review some of the words and acronyms being tossed around in your industry these days. Getting familiar with the language can help you get comfortable with technology—and that just might get you moving down the path to profitability a little bit faster.
Technology. The use of science to solve a problem or invent something useful.
Technophobia. Fear or dislike of technology, especially computers.
Technotriumphia. The amazing feeling you get when you master new technology.
Internet of Things. A term coined in the late 1990s to describe a network of objects (like earthmoving machines) embedded with technologies that allow them to communicate with you and with each other over the Internet.
Cloud computing. Storing and accessing data and applications through the Internet—instead of through local hardware, software and personal devices.
Automation. The use of hardware and software to assist human operators with routine manual processes in order to save time, cut costs, improve quality and enhance safety. Example: Cat® GRADE with Assist
Semi-autonomous. Describes a process or machine that can accomplish a subset of its defined tasks without human interaction. Example: Cat COMMAND for Underground Mining
Autonomous. Describes a process or machine that can accomplish all its defined tasks without human interaction. Example: Cat COMMAND for Hauling
Machine guidance (or indicate) system. Onboard system that shows operators where to cut, fill or move material in order to achieve a design plan. Example: Cat Slope Indicate feature on Cat dozers
Machine control system. Onboard system that controls blade, bucket or other functions automatically. Example: Cat GRADE with Assist, a Cat Connect Technology
Telematics system. Onboard system that monitors and reports where an asset is, what it’s doing, what’s happening internally and other critical factors. Example: Cat LINK technologies: ProductLink™ and VisionLink®
Analytics. The discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data, providing insight that helps an equipment owner predict and solve problems and make improvements.
Visualization tools. Software that translates raw data into charts, dashboards and other graphic reports.
UAV. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle guided by remote control or onboard computers; used in construction for managing safety and monitoring job progress. (Usually called “drones.”)
RFID. Radio Frequency Identification; the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object. (Find them on some Cat safety vests)
GNSS. Global Navigation Satellite System; the worldwide space-based navigation system that encompasses systems from the USA (GPS), Russia (GLONASS), China (BeiDou) and the European Union (Galileo).
UWB. Ultra-Wideband Technology; used for transmitting large amounts of digital data wirelessly over a wide spectrum of frequency bands with very low power for a short distance.
BIM. Building Information Modeling; the process of generating and managing digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of spaces. It’s a way to “build” things virtually—prior to their physical construction—to reduce uncertainty, improve safety, simulate and analyze potential changes, and predict and resolve problems.
CONNECT THE DOTS
While it’s important to know what the individual terms mean, it’s even more vital to understand how the technologies work together. Data from GNSS-enabled control, indicate and guidance systems, RFID devices and telematics systems is captured and transmitted wirelessly to off-board systems (often based in the cloud), where visualization and analytics tools can be used to gain insights that improve decision-making—and ultimately drive big gains in safety, efficiency and profitability.