Electrical contractors are at the forefront of technological change. They are always looking for ways to make their jobs more efficient and to make their builds work better for their clients. There have been many recent developments in the electrical industry that can potentially affect their work for years to come.
Thomas Pacchioli shares nine of the top innovations in the electrical field, outlining how these changes will help both electricians and their clients.
1. The Smart Grid
The electrical grid is experiencing a greater tie-in with technological change. The “smart grid” has built-in sensors and other smart technologies, enabling customers and utilities to receive more updated information about their energy usage.
Electrical contractors will need to know how to use and manipulate these sensors to create the best possible results for their builds. They will also need to learn how to install these devices.
One of the leading ways that technology is having an impact on the electrical industry is through prefabrication. Prefabrication involves the manufacture of electrical systems components offsite. Items like switches and control boxes can be assembled remotely and brought to the job site. Prefabrication makes the electrical contractor’s job easier and safer. It also makes the process of constructing electrical components easier and more efficient. It could be a partial solution for the severe shortage of electrical contractors on the market today.
Most people are familiar with the smartwatch and Fitbit, two popular consumer wearables. There are new wearables on the market that are intended to make the electrical contractor’s job safer. These devices include Proxxi, a bracelet sensor that notifies the wearer if they get too close to a high-voltage electricity source. SolePower smart boots have GPS, lighting, and temperature sensing capabilities and provide fall warnings and provide notification of hazards. These boots are also self-charging.
4. Energy-Efficient Lighting
LED lighting is taking over the industry. The technology uses far less electricity than fluorescent and incandescent lights and does not contribute to pollution. The light level is more easily manipulated, making LEDs a great choice for the homeowner or business.
Technologies like smart lamps, efficient lighting features, and high-quality LED designs are being created today. Many electricians will be asked to switch entire buildings to LED lighting models.
5. Project Management Software
The use of project management software has been popular in general contracting for many years, but it has just begun to make inroads in electrical contracting. Companies are using cloud-based technologies to maximize profits and improve efficiency.
Contractors will be able to use this technology to organize their schedules, arrange their billing, keep track of customer interactions, and reduce paperwork.
Drones may have gotten their start as hobby items, but they have made inroads in business and industry over the past ten years. Electrical construction is one area where drones have made themselves particularly useful. Construction and engineering are two of the top fields for drone use.
Drones can monitor construction progress, survey potential project sites, and inspect infrastructure that is already in place. Cameras and sensors may be added to drones. Thermal imaging and infrared attachments may be the most valuable additions for the electrical contractor.
7. Internet of Things (IoT)
Many electrical contractors are beginning to encounter IoT devices on customers’ job sites. IoT devices are arranged on networks that connect them to the Internet and allow them to exchange data. As the 5G rollout continues, this equipment will be able to communicate almost instantaneously with its server and other devices on the network.
Learning to work with IoT devices could present more job opportunities for electricians and contractors. All electrical contractors should keep close tabs on this technology.
8. Wireless Power Transmission
Many people are familiar with wireless chargers for smartphones. This technology can also be used in larger applications. The technology of wireless power transmission has the potential to eliminate wires and batteries. This means that safety, mobility, and convenience will be significantly improved. Electricians and electrical contractors will need to learn how to set up these systems.
Automation is beginning to have a huge impact on electrical construction. Robots and automation technologies can cut down on the time it takes to complete a job and preserve employee safety.
Some safety innovations that have become possible thanks to robotics technology include wireless underground cable cutters. These devices can be controlled remotely, meaning that electrical contractors do not need to dig or work in dangerous trenches. There is also a prototype of a robot that climbs utility poles.
While most industries have embraced robotics, there has been a slow rollout in the electrical industry. Many electricians are worried about job loss due to the rise of robotics. Electrical contractors are at a lower risk of having their jobs replaced by robots because they work in the field where their jobs require hand-eye coordination and dexterity.
The Wave of the Future
All nine of these technological innovations will have an outsized impact on the electrical construction industry in the coming years. Electricians and contractors are urged to keep up with the newest technologies to make their job sites safer, more efficient, and more up-to-date.
Thomas Pacchioli believes that the potential for new technology in the electrical contracting industry is limitless. Understanding how this technology can be applied can give companies a competitive edge.