The construction industry is an ever-evolving field with constant changes impacting companies on a regular basis. Whether business owners have to deal with safety and other compliance/regulatory issues, process changes, or technological advancements, there is always something to react to. However, with the current pace of innovation, it is important for construction businesses to take a proactive approach to ensure their investment in construction technology is putting them in a position to stay ahead of the competition.
Below are some of the technology trends that are currently changing , or fast approaching, that will have a major impact on the construction industry:
- Software and Mobile Applications – The constant development of applications for mobile devices have allowed construction businesses to capture and access data real-time in the field through the use of phones, tablets, etc. Applications can be integrated into construction software and can provide solutions through many aspects of a construction project (preconstruction, scheduling, project management, reporting in the field, data capture for analysis).
- Drone Technology – The use of drones in construction continues to be a growing trend as they can impact many areas of a project. Drones can be used to quickly perform inspections at job sites, as security tools to minimize the risk of theft in the field, and conduct normal supervision of job sites. Drones can make job sites safer by inspecting certain areas without exposing inspectors to dangerous areas, and increase efficiency by being able to supervise a larger number of projects in a shorter period of time.
- Prefabrication/Modular Construction – This consists of increasing the amount of fabrication or construction that is done offsite in factory environments and assembled at the job sites. This can have a significant impact on the efficiencies of construction jobs, as certain risks are reduced (such as weather delays, material waste, etc.) when fabrication is completed in a separate environment.
- Artificial Intelligence and Data Analysis – Construction companies have started to use data analytics, and artificial intelligence to process large amounts of data into metrics, which can be understood by business owners and implemented into the decision making process. The construction industry has always had a high degree of exposure to risk and uncertainty, and artificial intelligence/data analytics can significantly reduce that risk and uncertainty. It can be useful in the bidding process as well, as it enables real time identification of issues with ongoing jobs.
While these advancements in technology are already gaining a foothold in the construction industry, these are not the only innovations impacting how work is being performed. With how quickly the technological landscape is progressing, it is increasingly important for businesses in the construction industry to evaluate their current processes, and determine how technology can help improve their processes and competitive advantage.