Technology trends revolutionizing the industry
It’s no secret that technology has changed, and will continue to change every aspect of our lives. Things we take for granted now seemed like science fiction as little as a decade ago. And why should construction be any different?
Technological advances are changing the way the industry works. And it’s important for professionals to not only stay up-to-date, but ahead of the curve. Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest current technology trends, how they affect contractors and why you should consider implementing them.
Virtual Reality Design
The days of architects, engineers and foremen poring over a dusty stack of blueprints are drawing to a close. 3D modeling provides incredible value by eliminating the need to visualize plans, instead allowing them to be viewed on a 2D tablet or laptop screen.
This allows you to spin the model 360 degrees, zoom in and out as needed and visualize the project through all phases of construction. Helping make managing the moving parts of a construction site much more manageable, it also helps provide clear updates to stakeholders like the property’s owner and government regulatory agencies.
Offsite construction has been around for ages, most commonly seen in mobile homes. But recently, with the advent of technologies like 3D printing, it has become increasingly more common. And with good reason. Offsite manufacturing helps with quality management, requires less labor and ties in with sustainability trends.
Additionally, it can drastically reduce construction time. A Chinese company recently constructed a 30-story hotel in the Hunan province in just 15 days.
New manufacturing technologies have helped erase the “cheap” stigma around pre-fab construction, and in places where space is limited or labor hard to come by, it makes a lot of sense.
Data and analytics
As a telematics company, we spend a lot of time talking about data, and with good reason — it provides incredible insights into how every aspect of how contracting businesses work. It all starts with data, vast amounts of related information from engine sensors, building and material information, video, wearables and interconnected software.
This data is then mined using specifically designed algorithms to extract insights into your fleet’s usage. Information that was once either unavailable, or else took ages to gather, is now available with a few clicks of the mouse. And this provides big benefits for your company by helping you operate more efficiently, profitably and safely.
The Internet of Things
Tying in closely with data and analytics but deserving of its own bullet point, the Internet of Things refers to the interconnectedness of everyday objects. In your personal life, this may refer to your smart fridge telling your smartphone you’re almost out of milk. Or adjusting your home thermostat through a remote app. In construction, what it commonly refers to is telematics, but it also means so much more.
It could be sensors in your bulldozer, tracking and monitoring oil pressure, temperature and operation data, along with a whole host of other things. Or it could be one of your employees wearing smart glasses that give her a heads-up display with plans, data and location.
The benefits of this technology are numerous, from supply logistics to tool tracking. It can also boost safety, by using wearable tech to alert a machine operator that another employee is behind a blind corner, or immediately relaying critical information. IoT tells you at a glance where everyone and everything is, gives you information on power and fuel and helps simplify maintenance.