When people talk about innovative industries, construction is rarely brought into that conversation. But things are changing. 2015 was one of the most exciting years in recent memory for the industry, and there are no signs of slowing down in 2016. This year will continue to bring major changes to the industry, and the list below outlines five of the major factors in those advancements.
The term "cloud" can still be a little scary for some people, especially in the construction industry. Although the term "cloud" seems to be everywhere these days, you will still find a lot of people that don't really know what it means. Simply put, "cloud computing" means accessing information and applications over the Internet instead of having everything on your computer's hard drive. In a blog post by Salesforce in 2015, they outline ten benefits of moving to the cloud. They include flexibility, disaster recovery, automatic software updates, increased collaboration, security, competitiveness, and others. Utilizing the cloud saves you both time and money, two things worth their weight in gold for construction projects.
"If you're not leveraging cloud technologies, then you're simply falling behind."
The ability to collaborate efficiently on any project, particularly in construction is vital to the overall success of that project. Owners, architects, engineers, and contractors all need to work together productively to make sure their project is getting done on time, on schedule and under budget. Many times, though, that's easier said than done. With so many moving parts on any given day, it's imperative that everyone is on the same page. Companies are moving away from legacy project management solutions to more collaborative project solutions, like Projectteam.com. Now more than ever, there is the need to work with people outside your own organization.
"Leveraging the greater knowledge of your project team helps solve issues faster"
Construction projects are built out in the field. Sure there is a lot of planning that goes into any project, and a lot of that may be done back in an office building, but the real work is done in the job trailer and on site. The ability to access project information from your mobile device is extremely important. In The Construction Leading Edge Podcast by Todd Dawalt, he talks to Rob McKinney about what they feel are the five most important functions of using a mobile device in the field. They include managing project plans, taking progress photos, tracking daily reports, managing job site safety, and tracking time entries. With the continued improvement of internet ubiquity, people are less reliant on disconnected mobile apps and can work with more web-based platform applications that don't require you to sync data back and forth.
"Mobile devices accelerate daily workflows on a construction project"
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a trendy term that really grew in popularity in 2015. IoT is a network of connected physical objects allowing those objects to be sensed and remotely controlled over the internet. How does this help the construction industry? Imagine a job site where each worker is wearing a connected vest that sends information back to safety managers in the office when the worker is too hot or too cold, street lights that adjust themselves based on the time of day saving money in energy costs or even concrete that sends information to engineers when cracks or other problems exist. For more information on the Internet of Things, I encourage you to read this post by Daniel Burrus in Wired and watch this quick video by Philip Moynagh, VP of Internet of Things at Intel.
Over the past few years, 3D printing has moved out of engineering laboratories and into the real world. As Rachel Burger, Analyst for Capterra says, "it’s flashy, it’s newsy, and it’s the future of the construction industry." The printing is done with super-sized printers which use a thick concrete and composite mixture. If you do a quick Google search for 3D printing in construction you can find amazing examples of what people are able to do. As the technology continues to get better, more and more companies will start to use 3D printers on their construction projects.
"It's flashy, it's newsy, and it's the future of the construction industry" - Rachel Burger
Regardless of what direction the construction industry takes in 2016, it's clear that that there is an abundance of new technologies making their way into the industry. What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave your comments below or share this post on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.