2017 Construction Trends in Technology

In this wave of rapidly changing technologies, construction is midway in terms of digital transformation. More than half of all commercial construction firms have at least made a partial transition to the cloud, digitized their plans and are using tablets on the job site.

Here’s what to think about and what will likely will become mainstream in 2017:

Digital Transformation Stage 2

The trend to become more digitized will continue. A digital transformation is more than turning everything into PDFs with digital signatures. It’s information flow and to that end, data collection of images, forms and direct input from mobile apps and devices, which will need to integrate with your accounting, operations, preconstruction, and HR (human resource) departments seamlessly.


Basic business process management may be flipped on its head. Forms are not as efficient as other collection inputs. Daily reports, an aggregate of what a superintendent collects throughout the day, are auto-generated. HR onboarding and collecting information will be partially done by chatbots. Accounts payable and payments continue to be ripe for full automation.


Collaborative workspaces will continue to transition from 2D to 3D and begin working in augmented reality. Virtual reality is mainstream for consumers, so clients will want to walk-through models virtually. This means headsets in both augmented and virtual reality in design and construction.

Big Data

Expect more devices to perform data collection and more firms to offer services to transform your data into analytics and dashboards. Drones, GPS (global positioning system), RFID (radio-frequency identification), accelerometers and 3D scanning all feed predictive analytics. The next step is cognitive computing, aka machine learning, which provides management with high-probability solutions to problems. Cognitive is the natural progression from a digital transformation. Once it’s digital it’s data. Take false collisions in BIM. A machine can learn these and then a human will only need to review a handful, instead of thousands in a model. Look at what IBM is doing with Watson.

Disruption Continues

Gathering point clouds from a smartphone may not be quite as accurate as laser scanning, but it's more cost effective if all you need is a Revit rendering. Mashing up ideas will intersect so that a single device can capture a point cloud; clock you in/out on the job site; log when you slip, trip, or fall; and then process it all into actionable items for management.

The future is coming faster than you think.

Carol Hagen is the president of Hagen Business Systems Inc