Students in Iowa State University’s construction management program are witnessing practical examples of the construction process without leaving the classroom thanks to wireless technology. J.E. Dunn Construction Co., with the help of P1 Group, Inc. and Trapeze Networks, has invited the students in the program to a working construction site—from hundreds of miles away. The students are able to meet with site foremen every morning, see different phases of the project, and converse with construction professionals.
To make this possible, P1 Group installed a Trapeze wireless LAN that offers a data connection anywhere on the construction site. Equipped with a IP-enabled hand-held camera and notebook computer, the lead engineer at the construction site gives students a daily walkthrough of the project. The students get to see the challenges of a real life engineering project and how professionals overcome those challenges. They’re able to ask questions, get answers, and brainstorm with the site engineer. The Trapeze WLAN allows J.E. Dunn engineers to go anywhere on the site to show engineering in action.
“We were honored to participate in the project,” said Eric Brummel, an operations manager with the P1 Group. “The idea was challenging to implement, but it gave us a chance to do some good work for a good cause.”
Providing adequate WLAN coverage of a construction site—with constantly changing characteristics including tons of girders, rebar, concrete, and heavy equipment—turned out to be a small problem after the P1 Group figured out where to install the access point.
“The top of a construction crane turned out to be the ideal place to mount a Trapeze Networks access point,” Brummel said. “From the top of a crane, it only takes one Trapeze Networks access point to cover the entire site.”
The Iowa State University construction management program is one of the most prestigious in the United States, and its graduates are some of the most sought after by construction companies around the world. J.E. Dunn actively recruits from the university, and many executives at the company are graduates of the Iowa State University. After J.E. Dunn came up with the idea for the distance learning project, the construction company turned to its long-time technology partner, P1 Group, a Kansas-based building technology, electrical, mechanical and service contractor.