Survey finds construction interests lag in mobile, other technology tool adoption

Sources: KPMG International, New York; CP staff

U.S. construction companies are embracing drone aircraft, robotics, RFID equipment, materials tracking, data analytics and other tools at limited rates, according to KPMG International’s “Building a technology advantage – Global Construction Survey.”

Responses from 200-plus senior executives representing major project owners or engineering and construction companies reflect “the industry’s innate conservatism toward technologies, with most firms content to follow rather than lead,” says KPMG International Sector Leader, Engineering & Construction Geno Armstrong. “Many lack a clear technology strategy, and either adopt it in a piecemeal fashion, or not at all. The rapidly evolving infrastructure challenges of the next decade demand that both owners and engineering and construction firms embrace technology more strategically and at a far more rapid pace than in the past.”

KPMG staff also find among survey respondents:

  • Nearly half use multiple software platforms rather than a single, fully integrated project management information system;
  • Among those adopting mobile devices, nearly 40 percent do not have them linked to an integrated or broader enterprise-wide project management system;
  • 67 percent report they cannot push one button on their desktop to obtain fully integrated real-time project data;
  • 70 percent do not use robotic or automated technology, most of whom likewise have no plans to use it in the future; and,
  • In addition to traditional cost and schedule analytics, 65 percent do not use data analytics for any other aspects of their organizations’ projects.

“Integrated, real-time project reporting is still a myth, rather than a reality for most [respondents],” notes Armstrong. “That’s largely because firms tend to use multiple software platforms that are manually monitored and disconnected, which severely compromises their effectiveness … Projects are becoming bigger, bolder and more complex—and with complexity comes risk. Innovations like remote monitoring, automation and visualization have enormous potential to speed up project progress, improve accuracy and safety.” —