Construction has come a long way since the mud and clay that it started with. From safety regulations to mobile devices to Computer Aided Design, even to motorized vehicles, innovation has made a world of difference. These recent tech trends have had drastic impacts on the construction industry, such as improved safety, increased efficiency and additional focus on sustainability.
New technology will continue to disrupt the industry and change how we do work. Here is a snapshot of current construction tech trends, and what we might expect for the future.
Current Technology Trends
There is a surplus of technology trends currently impacting the construction industry.
Internet of Things (IoT)
There’s not much IoT can’t do when it comes to construction. The Internet of Things allows organizations to connect everything on their job site via the internet, providing users insight into what’s happening at any time.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence has the ability to enable predictive maintenance and to potentially boost productivity and safety on job sites. Further, it can free up time for designers and engineers to tackle new problems.
3D Printing is already sweeping the construction world. This construction technique reduces supply costs, enables greener construction, streamlines client expectations, and improves project planning.
While there are safety concerns regarding autonomous vehicles on public roads, this isn’t a concern on construction sites where they can be programmed to do repetitive tasks, increasing productivity and reducing repetitive motion injuries on a job site.
Augmented and virtual reality give new capabilities to teams, improving upon advances made by CAD software. These tools allow the team to picture the finished product before any work has been done, collaborate more effectively remotely, and realize the differences between the design and the real world.
Tied to IoT, connected job sites allow off-site management to be on the same page as the crew, without ever having to set foot on the job site. Connected job sites enable real-time reporting, automation of manual processes, and can optimize resources.
Smart Gear/Wearable Technology
Construction wearables are becoming more prevalent on the job site because of their promise for increased efficiency. Some focus on improved safety for the workers, while others increase comfort for difficult or repetitive tasks.
These current and new technologies largely promote increased productivity. In the big picture, technological advances will also drive improved safety, a larger focus on sustainability, and combat rising material and skilled labor costs. Based on the technology available now and what we see in the future, here are some educated predictions about the future of the construction industry.
Five Years in the Future
- Deaths related to large projects will soon be entirely in the past as improved safety features come to the market.
- There will be an increased focus on sustainability as 3D printing is used more and more.
- Rising material and skilled labor costs will have organizations looking to automate more and take advantage of machines over humans.
- Pre-fabrication and modular construction will become more prevalent, boosting productivity in organizations.
Ten Years in the Future
- As the technology is developed further, robotics will become more commonplace on job sites and likely reduce many of the manual labor hours that are currently part of projects.
- IoT, AI, AR, VR, and other new technologies will change how projects are designed and executed entirely.
- Advanced materials, like self-healing concrete, will reduce maintenance needs—though likely at a steep initial cost.
There are countless new technologies coming to market and their applications to construction are boosting productivity, safety, and bottom lines. As it’s trending, the industry will likely see increased safety protocols as well as an expanded focus on sustainability in the near future.
What we know for certain is that technology will continue to adapt and develop. Staying on top of new technology trends will give your organization an edge over the competition.