This past Monday I shared a few great predictions for technology in construction for 2016. Where will new developments in technology allow construction projects to go in 2016? Some people are focused on hardware, a few on software, and even a few on processes. Today I will add to this series with a few more predictions from fellow construction technologist.
“I think we’re poised to see some big leaps forward in the personal computing space in 2016. With the introduction of devices like the Apple Watch, iPad Pro, and the incredibly thin MacBook we’re moving into a new era where the it’s almost impossible to make devices any smaller so new innovations will be necessary and expected.
The vast improvements to both iOS and OS X including the introduction of multitasking opens up the possibilities of making a mobile device like the iPad pro a laptop replacement. Beyond being lighter and cheaper than a MacBook, the iPad Pro is also far more mobile and easier to pull out in the field or on the go. The introduction of Apple’s smart keyboard introduced Mac keyboard shortcuts to the iPad pro which enables the same level of productivity that you’d get on a Mac and allows mobiles devices to more easily collaborate both in the office and the field.”
“Hiring will remain competitive but contractors are using technology to tackle another workforce development issue: employee engagement.
Employees in the 2016 workforce crave transparency, understanding of company goals and a clear career path in the organization. Using technology that you hopefully already have (your company website and career page) along with new responsive systems for automating HR processes like onboarding, training, goal setting, performance reviews and succession planning will help those companies become employers of choice. Companies that fail to make strides in those areas will find it hard to compete for and attract top talent.”
AR + VR = A New Way
“My second technology prediction therefore is that 3D Laser scanning will see increased adoption on projects with smaller budgets due to improved workflows and more cost effective technology. Utilizing processing power in the cloud and tools that simplify complex tasks will make it easier than ever to deploy laser scanning technology.
Traditional surveying processes takes considerable amounts of time and money – common obstacles to any project. A recent scan of the Arizona State Fairgrounds Grandstand building benefitted from the power of drones, 3D laser scanning, and point cloud technology in ARCHICAD 19. A team led by Phil Allsopp, created high quality drawings of the Grandstand in a matter of days, gathering and processing billions of data points. Though the tools themselves could never be categorized as simple, the use of them together on this project simplified the task, making it possible for it to be completed from an economic standpoint.
My third technology prediction is that in 2016 will see the movement of midsize and smaller construction firms away from using apps as stand-alone tools or point solutions and toward leverage tools platform solutions that improve their workflows while capturing more data. Software integrations that enhance project communications, such as Bluebeam/FieldLens Drawings – just announced summer of 2015, have already begun to change the way projects are managed.
Project managers will use these types of bundled and integrated solutions to better keep up with their project notes and execute their daily reports. Other tools that manage RFI’s, Newforma, Plangrid, Procore represent a significant investment, but solutions that do multiple things, capture metrics and reporting save money in the long run.
Technology trends in 2016 will work to empower efficiency in workflow and productivity as a whole. Architectural and construction firms that evolve with augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, laser scanning and platform solutions will soon come to find these trends have value beyond being buzzwords.”
Apps & Daily Reporting
“The recent shift in workflows from paper based to cloud based is not a trend, but rather the evolution of the construction industry. The adoption of apps used on mobile devices is changing the way the construction industry works for the better. Cloud based apps allows workers in the field to collect and communicate data back to the corporate office to make decisions in real time that save hard dollars. One great example of this is the evolution of daily reporting. In the past project Superintendents kept a written log of daily details that never left the trailer. Apps used on smartphones and tablets allow project team members to create, collaborate, and share vital daily items such as crew size, delivery quantities and weather. If today we can mark up plans, share site photos and view BIM models on mobile devices; what will we be able to do in the next five years?”