Norwalk, Conn.-based Triax Technologies, Inc., a provider of connected-jobsite software and hardware tools, contends that 2018—thanks to Internet of Things (IoT) and companion developments—will see construction shatter its reputation as one of the least digitized sectors.
“Few industries have as great an impact on our economy as construction, yet it has been slow to embrace the digital tools and real-time data that have transformed other industries,” says Triax CEO Chad Hollingsworth. “This past year, the reduction in skilled labor drove contractors to seek out new technologies, such as IoT-enabled wearables and cloud-based solutions, to unlock efficiencies, improve safety and achieve more with the same number of resources. In 2018, jobsite technology will no longer be an option, but a necessity executives, insurers, project leaders and crews everywhere [expect].”
He and Triax colleagues cites five trends to note as this year unfolds:
- IoT remains key to the connected jobsite. The growth of construction-focused, Internet-connected systems will continue to shape the way industry stakeholders approach projects, manage operations, and leverage historical data on future contracts. The proliferation of useful, previously unavailable data from a variety of sources, including workers, machines, tools, materials, and the environment, will be aggregated, monitored, and analyzed for real-time, actionable insights. As jobsite technology matures, those companies that embrace it will see increasing returns on investment, while those companies that don’t will lose their competitive edge.
- Power to the end user. Construction technology is surging and as more solutions hit the market, organizations need to fully assess user needs and realities. Cumbersome or difficult to use technology won’t be readily adopted. By selecting solutions that are practical, low maintenance and scalable, organizations will facilitate adoption, which is critical for leveraging data and unlocking productivity gains. In addition, as technology increases at the jobsite, manual processes will be phased out and more data will become available to the average worker, enabling improved planning, coordination and communication.
- Integration momentum to take hold. Integrated systems will no longer be optional, but mandatory in 2018. While contractors have traditionally been limited by separate methods and tools for estimating, bidding, collaboration and reporting, more will demand a single stream of real-time, data-driven insights that can be used to improve project management and execution. Hardware and software providers will offer more options and flexibility than ever before, and a system’s ability to collect data at scale will be the key differentiator.
- Leveraging real-time data. Increased technology usage leads to more sources of insightful data, and IoT early adopters will place an increasingly high priority on reporting, cloud-based dashboards, and data visualization. A plethora of new data, emerging tools such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics will be used to unlock insights to enhance decision-making, increase efficiency, and improve profitability.
- Rise of insurtech. The insurance industry will increasingly leverage technology to help determine jobsite risks, and in turn, reduce risks and costs. With IoT-enabled technology, insurers can increase visibility, assess risk, combat potential fraud, and reduce premiums. As project participants, including insurers, better understand and leverage IoT data, real-time location systems, big data, and predictive analytics will grow in importance.