Patterns and trends in internet of things (IoT) Research: Future applications in the construction industry

Ghosh, A. and Edwards, D.J. and Hosseini, M. Reza (2020) Patterns and trends in internet of things (IoT) Research: Future applications in the construction industry. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management. ISSN 0969-9988

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Abstract

Purpose: The Internet of Things (IoT) provides exciting opportunities for the construction industry to solve its time and resource constraints and frequent defaults. This study seeks to identify and rank the perceived importance level of principal research areas associated with the IoT and the construction industry by utilising a scientific mapping tool (i.e. VOS Viewer). Such knowledge would enable key drivers for successful adoption of the IoT and digitisation technologies to be outlined. An analysis of key drivers and research trends that facilitates the development of a roadmap for applying the IoT and digital technologies in the construction sector is therefore much needed.

Design/methodology/approach: An interpretivist philosophical lens was adopted to analyse published work as secondary data, where each publication represented a unit of analysis. A total of 417 peer-reviewed journal review articles covering the IoT within the construction domain were systematically reviewed using a mixed-methods approach, utilising qualitative-scientometric analyses techniques.

Findings: The results reveal a field of study in a fledgling stage, with a limited number of experts operating somewhat in isolation and offering single point solutions instead of taking an integrated ‘holistic’ approach. Key publication outlets are identified and the main focus of research undertaken being in the technical areas of smart buildings, smart construction objects and environmental sustainability. The major effects of adopting the IoT within the construction industry were identified as high-speed reporting, complete process control, data explosion leading to deep data analytics, strict ethical and legal expectations. Key drivers of the IoT adoption were outlined as: interoperability; data privacy and security; flexible governance structures; and proper business planning and models.

Originality: The study is the first scientometric review of the existing body of knowledge in the context of application of the IoT in the construction industry. Findings expose knowledge gaps in contemporary research, specifically, a broader consideration of organisational adjustments needed to accommodate the IoT usage, economic analyses and impediments to wider acceptance.

Practical Implications: The study benefits researchers and industry practitioners alike. For researchers, the identified gaps reveal areas of high priority in future research. For construction companies, particularly small to medium-sized businesses, the study raises awareness of the latest developments and potential applicability of the IoT in the industry. For government agencies and policymakers, this study offers a point of reference in directing the adoption of the IoT smoothly in the construction sector and provides guidelines and standards for maximising the potential benefits.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-04-2020-0271
Date: 20 August 2020
Uncontrolled Keywords: Industry 4.0, Internet of Things, Sensors, Digitalisation, Construction, 5G, Scientometric analysis, Strategic roadmap
Subjects: K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
Divisions: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2020 09:56
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2020 15:43
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9407

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