Technology Trends That Will Define the Construction Industry Over the Next Decade

Digital transformation has been a buzzword for many businesses across various industries for years. The last decade saw construction companies embrace innovative technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and modular construction.

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Technology will also define the next 10 years for construction businesses, as companies evaluate long-held practices and operational processes post-pandemic. A survey by McKinsey found that 60% of business leaders believe that COVID-19 has caused shifts in the construction industry that will continue to evolve in the coming years.

Here are five key technology trends the construction industry is likely to experience over the next decade.

5 Key technologies That Will Change Construction Over the Next 10 Years

1. Better data management will provide more insight into construction operations

Collecting and organizing information is a crucial part of any construction project. Between regulatory forms, safety checks, and project information, data is constantly being collected and shared between stakeholders. However, construction businesses often fall into the trap of putting underutilized data management systems in place, with the average worker still spending five-and-a-half hours a week looking for the right information. The ubiquity of tablets and smartphones means construction companies can expect to use mobile devices to improve data collection and organization at an unprecedented scale.

2. Internet of Things can improve equipment monitoring beyond the project site

Construction projects regularly rely on highly specialized equipment to conduct operations and stay on budget and schedule. However, the maintenance of this equipment can be a difficult and time-consuming activity for site managers. Over 34% of businesses reported spending more than 30 hours a week doing scheduled maintenance.

To solve this pain point, the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to improve the ability of business leaders to effectively monitor the health of crucial equipment and conduct reactive maintenance when necessary. When equipment is connected to integrated data management systems, business leaders can achieve a holistic view of the health and performance of their most important pieces.

Technology Trends That Will Define the Construction Industry Over the Next Decade
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3. Increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning will unlock new levels of operational efficiency

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have unlocked new avenues for businesses to increase operational efficiency and to automate repetitive and low-value tasks. However, the wide scope and dynamic nature of the construction industry has been a stumbling block to the widespread adoption of AI. This is expected to change in the coming years, with access to 5G and more advanced algorithms creating more specialized use cases for construction businesses. The use of AI is increasing so rapidly that its value in North American construction alone is expected to reach over $898 million by 2026.

4. Integrated software will improve communication across business silos

The construction industry is infamously siloed. The pandemic forced businesses to reevaluate the way these silos communicate to accommodate the new normal of remote work. Construction companies still regularly rely on spreadsheets, WhatsApp chats, and email threads to conduct correspondence. As businesses adapt to a new business environment, integrated communications platforms are expected to become more common to facilitate communication across different locations and between the many stakeholders that work on a construction project.

5. Businesses can keep their workers safe using exoskeletons

Managing and maintaining on-site safety has been a key consideration for construction businesses. Despite improved regulation and safety-focused initiatives from business leaders, workers in the construction industry are 71% more likely to experience a non-fatal injury compared to their counterparts in other industries. In the short term, businesses can use exoskeletons to reduce the size of teams that work at construction sites and enforce social distancing standards.

Even industries outside construction are expected to increase their use of exoskeletons to augment human workers, with the market expected to grow at a CAGR of 35.9% to reach a value of $2476.67 by 2028. This short-term adoption is expected to increase as businesses realize the impact that this technology can have on safety and productivity at construction sites.

Image Credits: Verified Market Research

Why do Some Construction Businesses Struggle to Adopt New Technologies?

1. Inconsistent digital transformation strategy

Any construction project requires multiple stakeholders to come together. Between constructors, subcontractors, suppliers, on-site staff, and remote office workers, there are many areas in which a company’s digital transformation efforts could fall short. For some business divisions, it is much easier to design and implement cutting-edge technologies.

The success of any technology depends on its implementation and consistent use by all stakeholders. For business leaders to use the technologies mentioned above to remain competitive in an increasingly digital market, they must find a way to combine the technologies across business settings and construction projects.

2. Lack of technical expertise

As different technologies mature and become more capable, they unlock new and more specialized use cases. This can represent a massive challenge for business leaders who are embarking on digital transformation journeys. While most construction leaders agree that embracing new technology can improve efficiency and increase revenue, 44% of business leaders cite a lack of technical expertise as a key challenge they have to overcome while introducing new technology to their operation.

Integration for the Success of Digital Transformation in Construction

Between AI, IoT, safety technology, and collaborative software, construction businesses are expected to use technology to improve operational efficiency and increase productivity and on-site safety. While each of these technologies plays a highly specialized role in the construction operation, businesses must view the implementation of these solutions as part of a holistic and fully integrated stack.

As the operation of individual silos in a construction project is interconnected and interdependent, so are the technologies that are used within those divisions. Businesses that find a way to make these technologies seamlessly work together can expect to receive the most return on their investment when introducing new technology to their existing operation.

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