Construction Technology Trends You Should Know

December 22nd, 2015 by Editor

Get on the tech train, or get left behind.

That sums up the message from Procore Technologies’ Bassem Hamdy, who recently held a webinar on construction technology. He teamed with Forrester Research to come up with the top technology trends to watch for and gave members of various sectors a “forecast” on what’s ahead.

“No construction project is the same,” he said. “As we evolve in the industry, we have to balance technology, culture, productivity and efficiency to come up with the best solution for our company. We all have one goal, and that’s to produce the best quality project at the best time at the best price.”

Here are some key construction technology trends to keep an eye on heading into the New Year:

Digital Experiences Can Make or Break a Firm

Hamdy stressed the importance of a company’s appearance through the realm of technology. “Make sure your digital face is pristine.”

“Owners are expecting a digital experience, because it is how they’re running everything else in their business,” he said. “I really, truly believe digital experience is as important as the brand you’re running.”

The digital experience needs to extend to the workers in the field. “In the war for talent, those with the best technology win,” said Hamdy.

He discussed the emergence of “BYOD,” short for bring your own device. “People who never expected to use technology are now using iPads and iPhones successfully,” he said. On the job, “people expect the same ease of use as their home devices.” He added that the company’s IT should treat the construction team as a customer.

Workers in the field need maximum exposure to the company’s systems. To do that, those resources must be consolidated—whether it’s accounting, project management, drawing control, etc.

“Take a hard look at technology you have implemented,” he said. “Fundamentally, you want to reduce your application footprint, and integrate the ones that remain.”

Taking Ownership of Processes

“Technology is an enabler, not a solution,” said Hamdy. “Look at your systems and find where the bottlenecks are.” He suggested creating a business process improvement steering committee within the company.

He said when you improve the process, you improve the business. Moving to “lean process systems” is critical, so the same data isn’t being entered four different times in four different applications.

Shedding Yesterday’s Limitations

“Paper reports shouldn’t be running your business month-to-month,” he said. “You need data in real time.” Hamdy said construction businesses should become more “predictive,” and access to data tools can help them understand the health of a project.

Additionally, companies should be “device agnostic,” according to Hamdy. “Stop device segregation,” he said. “Give access to those who need it, regardless of their device.” For example, being able to accomplish a certain task shouldn’t depend on what type of a web browser a worker is using.

Engagement and Collaboration

Project teams are always collaborating, so giving each involved party at least some access to the data input systems is important. Hamdy said the goal should be to eliminate double data entry at the collaborator level. “RFIs are entered once—whether it’s a subcontractor, architect or general contractor,” he said. “This can radically increase productivity on a project.”

Cloud and Mobile

“Servers are shackles that limit your business potential,” Hamdy said. “… It’s not acceptable to say a server is down anymore.”

According to Hamdy, a large percentage of construction companies aren’t on the cloud or mobile in the field. He said aging infrastructure should be replaced with the cloud and that companies should be going mobile.

 

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