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Smart Chips

The Smart Chips project investigated commercial-ready and near-ready radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies that can be easily adapted for field construction and operations and maintenance applications. The project conducted over 25 online informational workshops since its inception in the fall of 2003 as well as planned, resourced, and completed eight in-field pilot tests of commercial-ready technologies in high-interest construction industry applications.

PowerPoint Overview


SC_FieldStudyofWirelessStrainMonitoringTechnologiesField Study of Wireless Strain Monitoring Technologies (October 2006) SC_FieldStudyofConcreteMaturityMethodinVeryColdWeatherField Study of Concrete Maturity Method in Very Cold Weather (August 2005)
SC_FieldTestsofRFIDTechnologyforConstructionToolManagementField Tests of RFID Technology for Construction Tool Management (June 2005) SC_FieldTrialsofGPSTechnologyforLocatingFabricatedPipeinLaydownYardsField Trials of GPS Technology for Locating Fabricated Pipe in Laydown Yards (October 2004)
SC_FieldTrialsofRFIDTechnologyforTrackingFabricatedPipe_PhaseIIMaterials and Asset Tracking Using RFID: A Preparatory Field Pilot Study (September 2004) SC_MaterialsandAssetTrackingUsingRFIDField Trials of RFID Technology for Tracking Fabricated Pipe - Phase II (August 2004)
SC_FieldTrialsofRFIDTechnologyforTrackingFabricatedPipeField Trials of RFID Technology for Tracking Fabricated Pipe (February 2004) SC_TheUseoftheConcreteMaturityMethodintheConstructionofIndustrialFacilitiesThe Use of the Concrete Maturity Method In the Construction of Industrial Facilities: A Case Study (January 2004)


"KBR has been extremely pleased with the results of our participation in the Smart Chips project." - Ross Porter, Manager, Emerging Technologies, KBR

"Working with the FIATECH Smart Chips project allowed us to get first hand experience with a new technology at a fraction of the cost of doing it ourselves. We were able to move much faster on the learning curve than we would have otherwise." - Dr. Ignatius Chan, Senior Scientist, ChevronTexaco

"As a member of FIATECH and a sponsor of the Smart Chips project, Zachry has been kept informed of the latest technologies. The company has received the research, pilot programs results and has had the opportunity to collaborate on the implementation of these technologies with the other member organizations." - Todd Sutton, Business Unit Manager - Commercial Building Division, Zachry Construction Corporation

Business Case

Smart Chip technology permeates modern consumer and industrial life and is providing real ROI in numerous industries. Many people perceive potentially valuable construction applications for the technology, but implementation in construction to date has been limited. The primary reasons for slow construction industry implementation are:

Fragmented Market for Construction Industry Applications - Chip and sensor development (design and production set up) has a relatively high fixed up-front cost. Developers need to perceive a large potential market in order to develop application specific chips. The construction industry is a large enough market to support such development, but individual construction related companies are not. Suppliers are faced with making a million sales of a few products rather than a few sales of millions of products. Also, the construction industry does not have a few very large industry leader companies with sufficient influence to dictate supply chain or industry consensus standards (e.g. Wal-Mart, Boeing, Ford/GM, etc.). As a result, the industry is slow to agree on standards necessary to attract high volume suppliers and drive down costs.

Technical Risks Unique to Construction and Facility Operations - For the reasons above, chip suppliers have not developed and marketed chip and sensor technology for construction specific uses and there are few examples of chip and sensors technology in widespread construction specific applications. While many technologies developed for other industries can be adapted to construction applications, the construction industry presents some unique technical challenges for such adaptation. As a result, both the technical feasibility in a construction/plant environment and the potential economic benefits of new technologies in construction/operating work processes are unproven.

Lack of Clear Industry Consensus as to What Applications Will Be Used - Because of industry fragmentation and the resulting lack of consensus standards development, the construction industry presents a relatively high risk and high fixed cost (development, marketing, etc.) market to suppliers. As a result, major technology suppliers are slow to develop, adapt, and market certain technologies (e.g. construction specific RIFD, sensors, to the construction industry.

As a result, technology that is common in other industries is underutilized in construction applications and many potential benefits are not realized by individual companies or by construction industry as a whole.

As a collective effort of major US construction contractors and owners, the Smart Chips project participants presented an attractive potential market for construction technologies and ideas. The project attracted top quality technologists, academics and technology users to support and inform all project activities. As a result, Smart Chips participants were able to learn about, test, and implement emerging RFID technologies much faster and at a lower cost than going it alone. Smart Chips participants expect that the technologies they tested and implemented are more likely to be adopted by the larger industry, encouraging long-term product support and development and lower technology costs in the future.



An Introduction to Identec Solutions, Barry Allen, Identec

Asset Tracking Using Active RFID, Dean Perry, President, HOUNDware Corporation

ButtonMemory Technology, Rose Sellew, MacSema

Construction Simulation Technology Overview, Eric Crivella, Common Point

GPS Overview, Chad Hall, Trimble

How to Develop Good RFID Applications, Bert Moore, AIM "RFID Connections"

Inmarsat D+: Global Micro Telemetry Services, Brian Hester, Satamatics

Learnings from the Gulf of Mexico Off-shore Materials Tracking Project, Ignatius Chan, ChevronTexaco

Mobile Automated Data Capture (MADCAP): Geotechnical and Environmental Mobile Field Solutions, Bechtel

Offshore Material Tracking using RFID Tags, ChevronTexaco

Real Time task management in Capital Projects, Curtis Plumlee, SAT Corporation

Real-time indoor Position Tracking System Using Wireless Sensor Networks, Yong Cho and Jon Youn, University of Nebraska, Omaha

Recent Developments in Wireless LAN, John Curl, Datascan Technologies

RFID Industry "Landscape", Dan Mullen, AIM Global

RFID for Sensing and Location, Tich Pollack, Phase IV Engineering

RFID Technical Overview, Rick Drumm, Intermec Technologies Corporation

Safe & Sound, Bosch

Spatial-Information Acquisition and Its Use for Infrastructure
Operation and Maintenance
, Dr. Carl Haas, The University of Texas at Austin

Technology Advances in Concrete Maturity, Richard Yesh, Wake

The Use of Smart Chip Technology in the Electrical Contracting Industry, Paul Goodrum, University of Kentucky

Transforming Construction Performance Using RFID, Farzad Khosrowshahi, ERABuild

Trimble Toolbox - Today's Choices, Paul Thomas, Trimble

Using GPS to Locate Materials, Ross Porter, KBR

Using RFID for Pipe Spool Tracking - Phase II, John Wadephul, Fluor

Using RFID for Pipe Spool Tracking - Phase III, John Wadephul, Fluor

Using Sensor Technologies for Monitoring the Civil Systems, Steven Glaser, University of California, Berkeley

Wireless Communication - A Path to Real-Time Planning and Control, Dr. Leonhard Bernold, NCSU

Wireless Sensor Solutions for Civil Engineering, Mike Robinson, MicroStrain

Wireless Strain Monitoring at the Capitol Visitor Center Project, Kamel Saidi, NIST


RF-Global Guides, International Business Association

Smart Chips in Construction, William Stone, Alan Lytle and Karen Furlani, NIST

A Summary of 'Lessons Learnt' Relating to the End User Acceptance of Mobile IT Within the UK Construction Industry, Andrew May & Val Mitchell, Loughborough University

Microsoft Surface: Behind-the-Scenes First Look (with video), Popular Mechanics

Xirrus Wi-Fi Reference Posters

RFID Case Studies, Published by RFID Centre