Top Five Emerging Technologies

From basic hardware to heavy equipment and everything in between, the construction jobsite continues to change and advance with the advent of new technologies. But what are the top emerging technologies to keep an eye on? One analyst answers in a new report.

According to Forrester, five emerging technologies have the potential to change the way businesses operate throughout the next five years. These technologies include: IoT (Internet of Things); intelligent agents; AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality), AI (artificial intelligence) and hybrid wireless.

The IoT has the potential to disrupt business in general—and the construction industry in particular. The IoT will drive new levels of insight and engagement, according to Forrester; however, technology diversity and the need for organizational changes will still delay many firms.

Second, intelligent agents and robots will become more common in industry. For example, in the construction industry robots have the potential to perform some of the more dangerous tasks on the jobsite. Forrester says robots will have eliminated a net of 6 percent of jobs by 2021.

Third, AR/VR will continue to grow as AR becomes more commonplace, says Forrester. For the construction industry, AR has the potential to both improve business processes at the jobsite by introducing more visualization into tasks and give the project owner a virtual walkthrough of the project before ground is broken.

Fourth, AI and cognitive technology will displace jobs, according to Forrester. The intelligence, or data, that can be leveraged on the jobsite has the potential to improve safety, operations and business processes.

Finally, hybrid wireless, or 5G, will be rolling out by 2021, which will provide more connectivity for the construction industry. Forrester explains that 5G will create a high-bandwidth cellular backbone to support IoT devices. Additionally, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will expand capabilities to support IoT devices as well.

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