ITcon Vol. 28, pg. 585-596,

Operations, IT, and construction time orientations and the challenges of implementing IOT

submitted:April 2023
revised:July 2023
published:September 2023
editor(s):Chansik Park, Nashwan Dawood, Farzad Pour Rahimian, Akeem Pedro
authors:Carrie Sturts Dossick, Ph.D., P.E.
University of Washington, USA

Madision Snider, Ph.D.
Siegel Family Endowment, USA

Laura Osburn, Ph.D.
University of Washington, USA
summary:The adoption of Internet of Things has grown significantly in recent years both to address sustainability in campus operations and as part of digital twin systems. This study looks at in-depth cases of large university campus owners and the challenges that this IOT introduces for the maintenance and management of these systems and the data they collect. In this ethnography there are three main time orientations related to facilities management (Facilities), Information Technology (IT), and Capital Projects. First, a university campus is like a small city, with buildings, utilities, and transportation systems - taken together we call this campus infrastructure (buildings 50-100, roads and utilities 20-50 years). Second, IT employees think on 2–3-month scale, working through implementing software and hardware upgrades, configurations and patches, at times needing agile operations to deal with emerging cybersecurity threats. Third, in Capital Projects the design phase can last 9 months, and the construction from 1 - 2 years for a typical project, and this is where IOT technologies are often first introduced into campus. While the capital project teams reflect on the user experience, these teams are often removed from the realities of facilities management and do not understand the time scales or the scope of the work that is required to manage a portfolio of Facilities and IT systems. In this paper, we explore how these time orientations lead to tensions in the owners’ selection of IOT devices and systems, in the integration of new technologies into existing systems, and in the operations of keeping existing systems up and running for the longer time scales of campus infrastructure life spans. Furthermore, this paper presents a paradox: If they speed up, they lose things, if they slow down, they lose other things, and presents ways that owner organizations manage this paradox through temporal boundary spanners who understand the disciplinary requirements, cultures, and frameworks across the organization and helps to mitigate the tensions across these differences.
keywords:Internet of Things, Information Technology, Facilities Management, Operations, Time Orientations, Organizational Issues
full text: (PDF file, 0.258 MB)
citation:Dossick C S, Snider M, Osburn L (2023). Operations, IT, and construction time orientations and the challenges of implementing IOT, ITcon Vol. 28, Special issue The future of construction in the context of digital transformation (CONVR 2022), pg. 585-596,