Tech Trends from Outside to Inside the Construction Office

As artificial intelligence is the top technology buzzword, the leaps made in subsets of AI will make the most impact to business. From recent tech summits including Microsoft Build, Google I/O, and SAP’s SapphireNow, the writing is on the wall: automation, IoT (Internet of Things), and realtime in the cloud will separate those who execute and the ones that should have.

As futurist Chunka Mui said at LiveWorx, “mind the gap” between tech and business innovation. He’s referring to the gap between incremental business change and the progression of technology. This is the law of disruption. With that in mind, what technologies are relevant and which solutions will make the biggest impact in your construction business?

Bernd Leukert, member of the executive board at SAP, Products & Innovation, predicts 80 percent off all business process will be fully automated in three years. At SapphireNow, they demonstrated a drill reporting each hole it drills, and billed for the actual usage automatically in real time. As your entire value chain is digitally connected into the cloud and you add AI-based technology, groundbreaking solutions will be disrupting the status quo. Incremental improvements will be inadequate.

The Internet of Things is everything including the people. Every person, tool, and equipment on the jobsite can be collecting information, reporting location, self-reporting production, scheduling maintenance, and adding value to the project.

Add ML (machine learning) and your photos and video can be used to analyze and spot “out of compliance conditions.” At Microsoft Build, the giant showcased a leap in image identification suited specifically for the project site. A live camera stream demonstration with ML (maximum likeliness) analysis on the backend delivered realtime analysis and instant notification capabilities. They located where the nearest jackhammer was (no Bluetooth or RFID required), recognized it was stored in an unsafe manner, and notified the nearest employee to take corrective action, then identified a person horsing around with the jackhammer and again notified the nearest employee to intervene. Add this to a drone and the sky’s the limit.

The machine learning algorithms, Big Data, and predictive analytics are ready to deliver in areas you thought were impossible to automate. It’s more than bookkeeping and accounting. You’ll see human resource chatbots, and machine reinforcement learning. For contractors leveraging technology, expect rapid changes in automation combined with AI technologies. Prepare your people for change.

by Carol Hagen, Hagen Business Systems

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