Forget Advancing If You Aren't Using These Technologies

Construction business is changing. Today, even more construction professionals are moving toward using digital technologies to transform their business operations, improve client experiences, and respond to new opportunities. This new way of managing business is improving:

  • agility
  • productivity
  • business process management

Add to this the increasing need for automation and proliferation of connected devices, and the construction industry is changing at a rapid clip. One new report from Grand View Research shows this trend, which it coins the global connected enterprise market, is expected to reach $1.94 trillion by 2025.

This extends out to the construction jobsite, where there are quite a few digital technologies that the industry is using and can continue to adopt. Some examples that have specific benefits are:

  • telematics
  • automation
  • GPS (global-positioning system)
  • robotics
  • augmented reality
  • connected equipment

Willy Schlacks, cofounder, EquipmentShare, says if you aren’t using the tech, you won’t move ahead. There is an advantage to having telematics machine-control data on your machines. He explains it’s going from reactive to a predictive, and contractors can see trends and predict issues. This means they can understand the data and apply it.

Connected Construction

The implementation of intelligent networks improves the optimization of assets including equipment reliability and energy usage, and has expanded the capacity of existing assets. Companies are integrating people, tools, processes, and platforms comprising infrastructure and applications to increase productivity with next-generation solutions.

Connected solutions are additionally increasingly adopted for generating new revenue streams and improving profit margins. These solutions help enterprises increase their operational efficiency by enabling realtime monitoring of assets.

The acceleration in adoption of the IoT (Internet of Things) has also increased the use of connected devices in the construction industry. As a result, demand for automation will continue to drive the market for control systems.

Another report shows the operational technology market is expected to be valued at $40.42 billion by 2022. The evolution of Industrial IoT, increased communication and monitoring machines, and growing demand for smart-automation solutions are driving the growth of this market.

However, even though the technology is here, there are a number of challenges holding back widespread adoption in the construction industry. Alex Schwarzkopf, CEO, Pillar Technologies, says the obstacles range based on the type of construction.

Schwarzkopf adds that a big challenge is mindset. It’s not a lack of technology on the jobsite. There is a reluctance of the contractor to adopt the technology. This will disrupt their workflow and they aren’t sure about it, and there also is friction between the old guard and the new generation. Contractors want proof and hard numbers that these emerging solutions will improve their business. And currently that is hard to do, he explains.

Identifying Opportunities

The good news is that there are many advantages to leveraging all these new, digital solutions on the construction jobsite.

Schlacks of EquipmentShare says, “The overarching benefit is if you don’t have telematics technology, you are flying blind. You can see what is going on with the jobsites and fleets when you have the tech; you have more insight.”

Schwarzkopf adds, “One benefit is a safer jobsite. There is technology that lets the equipment operator see where a worker might be outside of their field of vision on the site and avoid running them over. Automation on the jobsite ranges from bricklaying robots, to 3D printing of buildings, and automated painting. A big benefit for vertical construction teams who bid a job is they can show how they will build the project. The team that is using tech as a tool can have an edge when it comes to winning the bid.”

What’s Next?

In the months ahead, Schwarzkopf says the market is going to become increasingly competitive. As one company uses more technology, others will have to follow suit. Using the technology now will give you an advantage.

As the construction industry adopts and integrates this technology on more and more projects, there will be several new opportunities.

“The industry is in the process of simplifying the data that is out there. On the exciting end, it’s a great time to get involved. The markets are maturing. There are more options and solutions. The connected jobsite is coming together,” Schlacks says.

Using this technology on the jobsite will lead to smarter projects that are completed quicker and cheaper than before. It won’t be long before this technology is on more jobsites than it is not.

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