Three Top Technology Trends Empowering Cutting-Edge Construction Companies

imageBy Roy Rasmussen

When it comes to technology adoption, the construction industry has traditionally lagged behind other major industries. Seven in 10 construction companies spend less than 1 percent of their sales revenue on technology, 60 to 70 percent below the average for other major industries, a 2016 JBKnowledge survey found. But as advancing technology has enabled new construction applications, more construction companies are increasing their tech budget. A 2017 Software Connect survey found that 82 percent of construction companies plan to maintain or increase their technology spending over the next 12 months. Here’s a look at some of the technology trends that cutting-edge construction companies are adopting to improve their efficiency, cut their costs and gain an edge on the competition.

Drones

Drones are the fastest-growing technology trend in the construction industry, Software Connect’s research found. Nearly one in five small and medium-sized construction businesses are already using drones. In fact, the construction industry is adopting drones faster than any other industry, with Goldman Sachs estimating that construction companies will spend over $11 billion on drones over the next three years. One of the most compelling reasons for drone adoption is the efficiency drones’ aerial photography capability brings to surveying project sites. For instance, drone provider Identified Technologies uses autonomous drones to complete surveying tasks that would normally take a month in just a few minutes.

Wireless Surveillance Systems

Another important application of drones is providing security. With construction security theft now totaling as much as $1 billion a year as thieves seek expensive equipment like loaders, tractors and excavators, security has become a pressing priority for construction companies. Drones improve construction security by using aerial coverage to extend the radius of security perimeters. Wireless security cameras are also proving invaluable for construction security. For instance, wireless surveillance systems provider Lorex Technology supplies mobile surveillance units that can be conveniently set up at any site location, without the limitations on placement imposed by wired installations. These units can also be viewed remotely for more efficient monitoring.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) is another hot trend in construction technology. Nearly two in three architecture, engineering and construction professionals now use VR to preview building designs prior to project construction, an ARC Document Solutions survey found. VR makes project easier to visualize, accelerates completion time, and reduces materials and worker requirements. These benefits translate into lower costs and faster project completion, resulting in more projects done in less time for higher profits. For example, Brayjam Construction Inc. uses a video game engine to create VR previews of projects so clients can make adjustments prior to construction, which reduces costs by 10 to 15 percent.

Drones are helping construction companies cut surveying time and costs. In conjunction with wireless security systems such as mobile surveillance units, drones are also helping prevent construction site theft. Virtual reality is cutting material and labor costs while allowing companies to complete projects faster. Together these technologies are giving cutting-edge construction companies an edge in an increasingly competitive industry.

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of "Publishing for Publicity," is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing and career planning.

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