The construction industry as a whole represents nearly $4 billion of the US annual gross domestic product (GDP). America's construction industry is so large, in fact, that only China's is larger. So it just makes sense that the construction industry is embracing technological advances with open arms - to better to manage billions of dollars worth of projects annually.
In this post, I discuss the six top tech trends that stand to shape the future of the construction industry as we know it today.
Cloud Storage Solutions
With an estimated $911 billion dollars in the works at any given time, it just makes sense that today's construction firms have plenty of data to transmit, save and store.
Cloud-based storage solutions are taking the burden off traditional server systems for storing that data for future use and analysis, as well as allowing for the implementation of new data safety and security tools.
Remote Data Access for All
Along with the adoption of cloud-based storage systems comes remote data access. Some construction firms are opting to issue work devices to their employees while others are using BYOD (bring your own device) programs.
Either way, field workers now have access to the same data that their managers and supervisors have in the office, meaning they can do their jobs more safely and efficiently in less time.
Intuitive Project Management Software Platforms
Intuitive project management software is rapidly eliminating the training and downtime associated with adopting technology that field employees will also have to use.
By creating software that mimics operating systems employees are already familiar with (such as that available on the average smart phone), field workers feel confident to dive in and start using the new tools without delay.
One area where this trend is already making its presence felt is in time-tracking and time clock software. Employees are increasingly using remote apps and online software platforms to track and submit time, while management is using the same to approve hours and submit payroll.
Uber for Construction Equipment
The sharing of construction equipment is on the rise, thanks to the success of apps like Uber, which prove that sharing resources can not only work but be profitable on both sides of the equation.
Equipment sharing also frees up more resources across the industry to offload outdated and non-compliant equipment (per the EPA guidelines), which has the happy side effect of making the job of being a construction site safety supervisor easier and more rewarding.
Adoption of Geo-Fencing Technology
Geo-fencing essentially puts a virtual geographic barrier around a device. So for field workers who are inputting their time remotely via time tracking software, management can verify hours by taking a look at the geo-location of work-issued electronic devices.
Geo-fencing is already saving the construction industry money across the board as well as assisting with better use of allocated payroll funds.
Energy Efficient Tech Tools
From remote light and motion sensors to programmable thermostats, the IoT (internet of things) to safety systems that monitor for heat and gas, eco-friendly tech tools are sweeping across the construction industry at a rapid rate (up to $145 billion per year for commercial projects alone).
Not only are these tools reducing the carbon footprint and lowering energy costs in many different industries, but they are improving on-site safety with new advanced warning tools for employers and employees around the nation.
There are many more technological trends that are continuing to emerge throughout the construction industry, including increased use of remote and robotic technology, semi-permanent modular construction and 3D printing, just to name a few.
What makes these shifts most exciting is the potential they offer to save funds while making more economical and efficient use of space, time and resources for both construction professionals and clients alike.