Innovative Products

When to consider remote technologies for your business


When, where and why should you consider remote control technologies for your business? Matthew Hendry explains why you need to start planning now for the future of heavy equipment operation.

Technology is ever evolving and constantly changing, from cell phones to apps and even heavy equipment. You may not be thinking about integrating remote or autonomous equipment into your fleet in the immediate future, but there’s a good chance you are developing or bidding on contracts for new sites for batch plants, feed lots, bulk handling, industrial or waste transfer stations. And if you want to remain competitive in tomorrow’s market, you need to approach your new sites with new and future technologies in mind.

Cat® Command Remote Control Technologies are reshaping the jobsite by expanding possibilities for safer operations and enhanced productivity. These applications are especially important in jobsites in Australia and New Zealand. When working with hazardous materials or potentially dangerous conditions – such as mine reclamation, working around tailing dams, stockpiling material, scaling high walls or on demolition sites – remote control technologies are already at work and improving the bottom line.

We know that our customers’ working conditions and needs are distinct, but remote- control options are available for equipment large or small. When operators need to work off-site and move away from dangerous conditions, they’re able to do their work away from the risk and focus on the task at hand. Operators can work kilometres away from the site, eliminating the hazards and distractions of the site.

When, where and why should you consider remote technologies for your business?

This month Kim caught up with Matthew Hendry, Caterpillar’s Global Product Marketing Consultant for Cat Command, and they’ve got some points for you to consider.

Matthew mentioned several reasons why companies in Australia and New Zealand should be considering remote technology. Read on to learn more about how remote- control technologies can improve safety, efficiency and employee retention.


Preventable safety incidents are happening every day, and remote technology provides solutions. With technology like Cat Command available, there’s no reason we should be putting operators into dangerous or hazardous work environments. Matthew emphasised, “Remote technologies reduce operator safety risks from incidents like a high-wall collapse, harmful air-quality exposure or falls when climbing on or off a machine.” You’ll also see reduced fatigue for your operators because using technology like this gets rid of the noise, vibration and movement from being in the cab for long hours. Continued safe use of the machine with limited opportunities for risk also boosts your jobsite efficiency.


In Australian and New Zealand markets, specifically, remote technologies can reduce the downtime spent travelling to machines and allow production to continue immediately following blasting operations. “Cat Command brings a full range of attributes in machine efficiency and uptime that simply cannot be ignored,” says Matthew. “When we think about sites where machines are not fully utilised, why don’t we switch between those machines with a single operator and fully utilise those people, those machines and the time? Rather than an hour’s long drive moving from site to site, using the Cat Command Station this happens in seconds with the click of a button.” By reducing shift change time, decreasing operator fatigue and making full use of machine capacities, the adoption of remote technologies increases worksite returns.

Employee retention

Let’s clear the air here – there will always be a need for highly skilled operators in certain machines for certain applications. Remote technologies aren’t replacing jobs. As Matthew explains, remote technologies actually create the jobs of the future. “You still need fully trained and skilled operators who understand how to get the job done to operate equipment remotely through Cat Command.” This will pave the way for higher-paying jobs in the construction industry in the future, as well as the opportunity to hire more ground crew and offer greater opportunities for advancement within your organisation. Technology like Cat Command also appeals to the next generation of potential operators, which is exactly what we need to combat the current labour shortage in skilled trades. “This is the number-one issue we see with customers globally right now – attracting and retaining good operators,” says Matthew. “Cat Command brings a different viewpoint to what makes a good operator and opens up this line of work to a new generation who may have never considered it, as well as a career path for people who are unable to climb in and out of the cab.” With the ability to operate equipment on jobsites remotely, Cat Command provides the opportunity to hire and retain operators from a wider radius.

Cat Command brings a full range of attributes in machine efficiency and uptime that simply cannot be ignored.

When should I start planning?

Short answer: Now.

It’s important not to dismiss technological advances. “If your competitors are early adopters, then you’ll be at a huge disadvantage if you don’t start planning now,” says Matthew.

Remote technology needs to be considered within your infrastructure plans. If you are working on planning new sites today that will be permanent sites, plan them with controlled areas for remote operation and plan to have infrastructure in place to support technological advancement. Matthew says, “Be sure to build it with the infrastructure in place now so that you’re ahead of the game when all the technology fully rolls out.”

How to determine if your fleet should include remote technology

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help determine if your fleet is ready to start incorporating remote technologies now:

Is your work environment harsh or dangerous?

The ability to remove operators from potential harm is a huge benefit to remote technologies. Cat Command solutions also reduce fatigue, which means your operators’ health and wellness will also benefit.

What does your machine utilisation look like?

If you have a machine idle time of 40 per cent or more, you should consider remote technologies. You can increase the utilisation of highly skilled operators and reduce idle time significantly using Cat Command.

Do you struggle to attract operators?

Technology is a key component of attracting new generations of workers. Cat Command is also important in our ability as an industry to retain skilled operators and hire those who cannot climb in and out of the cab.

Do you operate in remote, hard to reach locations?

Maybe you struggle to find operators who will relocate for specific job sites or have your team travelling hours each day to the site. “Cat Command gives you the ability to have your operators running machines on demand,” explains Matthew, “so you can have an operator connect into a machine at a specific location and run that machine only for the times needed, from an office anywhere in the world.”

Do you currently have a safe, controlled area on-site to operate remote technologies?

If you have the space for it already, what are you waiting for?

Bottom line – remote technology is no gimmick, and it’s here to stay. Technologies like Cat Command are going to make huge differences in the industry as it relates to safety, as well as efficiency and employee retention. Keeping on top of the latest research and studies enables you to see how you can implement new technologies into your business and continue to grow as a result.

Contact your local Cat dealer for a consult on integrating Cat Command into your fleet:
NSW/ACT WesTrac 1300 881 064
VIC/TAS William Adams 1300 923 267
Western Australia WesTrac 1300 881 064 QLD/NT Hastings Deering 131 228
South Australia Cavpower 08 8343 1600 NZ TERRA 0800 93 39 39

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