Over the past few years the construction industry has been revolutionized by the introduction of new technology. As the new year of 2017 begins I have thought about what new innovations we may see this year. The following are are few prediction fro construction technology in 2017 from myself and a few other Technology Enthusiast.

Training in AR & VR

Last year at Autodesk University I was able to experience a new way to conduct safety training. I met the team from Human Conditions and was able to try out their Augmented Reality safety training demo. I put on the AR headset and was assisted by a team member in the demo. Once I opened my eyes with the headset on I was visually transported to a steel beam 50 floors in the air! My task was to land a new beam and walk out to unhook the rigging from the crane hook then walk back to the starting position. I made it out to the hook, was able to unhook it and then fell as i was trying to turn around Luckily for me this was on a virtual fall!

The move to conducting training for items such as safety in AR/VR for workers will greatly improve the construction industry. Employees can now be exposed to, warned about and trained on many types of real work hazards. This new immersive training can drastically improve the quality of training and hopefully reduce risk in the field.

Tracking

The acceptance of employee tracking for safety and productivity is gaining ground. While the “You can’t track ME!” mentality is still prevalent, there are a growing number of innovative construction companies that are using technology in new ways to improve their performance. This all begins with the improving the safety levels of employees in the work place by tracking their location in castoff emergency, violence or a disaster. It then follows into production metrics that other industries such as automotive and manufacturing have used for years.

App Fatigue

Over the past few years the construction industry has see a dramatic increase in the number of Apps available.  When I first started this blog post I wrote about my concept of “App Alchemy”, which aimed to combine the power of “Best in Breed” point solutions. This concept allows construction companies to use the best features of apps to improve workflows.

During 2016 the ConTechTrio started to notice a new phenomenon we refer to as “App Fatigue”. We have talked with several construction technology users that have become frustrated in using multiple apps to conduct their workflows. The are willing the sacrifice the innovative features in point solutions to have all the workflows contained in one platform and app. What will 2017 look like for construction field staff? Only time will tell!

To listen to my predictions and the rest of the ConTechTrio (CLICK HERE).

Nathan Wood: Founder & CEO at Spectrum AEC

We saw a rush of new apps in 2016 like Rhumbix, SmartVid.IO and feature developments from Procore and PlanGrid. I predict fewer new apps introduced and less features added in lieu of stringer integrations with “industry standard” apps like Revit or Bluebeam. Also, keep an eye out for both FieldLens and OnTarget to make a big splash in 2017!”

Megan Wild

“Since President Trump is focusing on infrastructure, I think a lot of technological growth will be in that part of construction. In order to make it financially feasible, teams working on the country’s infrastructure will adopt technology like field management software (if they haven’t already) to increase on-site efficiency and efficient equipment. There may even be a reduction in regulations concerning equipment emissions or sustainability since he has an increased focus on fossil fuels, which may reduce the need/interest in green tech for equipment.”

Kyle Slager: Founder and CEO at Raken

“In 2017, I can see Robots, Automated Assistants, VR/AR Technology, and Smart Voice Technology are rapidly becoming mainstream with devices such as Siri, Google Assistant, HoloLens, Alexa, FB Bots, and many more.  It will be interesting to see how the AEC industries or better yet the software companies that services these industries adopt these technologies to service critical workflows like management of RFI’s, submittals, BIM Coordination, Change Orders, Daily Reports, and much more.

As VR, AR and Voice gain more traction in AEC industries, it will be interesting to see how companies adopt these technologies to service critical workflows in field management. We will continue to see the evolution of mobile technology make an even greater impact in predictive analysis and overall profitability of construction projects.

These are very exciting times in AEC…  there’s a lot of shiny objects entering the industry, some of which will provide incredible value and some won’t.  At Raken, we will remain committed to a fast & easy-to-use user experience, utilizing only those technologies which provide the greatest efficiency/profitability gains to our customers.”

 

Rowan Matz: VP of Product at Drawboard

“I predict that 2017 will see even more Surfaces and pen-powered Windows 10 devices in the hands of design and construction professionals. As a result, there will be a bigger shift toward paperless workplaces, an emphasis on tools that make it super easy for people to read and markup documents digitally, and scope for further boosts in productivity.

2017 will see some more of the common barriers to BIM adoption broken down, an increased adoption of BIM technologies and processes by non-traditional industries like heavy civil, and more companies embrace deeper levels of BIM implementation on their projects. This is will further emphasize the need for information management systems as more people experiment with and utilize the power of BIM on their projects.

In 2017, the application and use of VR and related technologies will move away from tech savvy early adopters and start to become standard on AEC projects around the globe. In comparison, AR will also experience heavy growth and begin to be used by more than just the technology literate, for more than just walkthroughs and design review. 2017 will see more AEC-specific AR applications released to the market and its utility as an everyday design and construction tool grow”.

Dustin Chapman: Account Manager at BusyBusy

First, We will see the further breakup of large, single-source ERP solutions throughout different sectors of the industry in favor of smaller solutions that each do their “thing” very well while still integrating with the large ERP solutions.

Second, There will be more companies developing a “menu” of approved apps, products, etc. for project teams to use that will fit the need of their particular project or team best. Teams will be able to pick from a number of company approved apps in a subset category like Daily Reports, Time Tracking/Job Costing, Plans, Photo Documentation, etc, and roll out solutions on their individual projects.”

At a certain point technology in construction will reach critical mass in terms of value. Right now spending $500 on an iPad, or $100/month on a software solution is trumped by a $70,000 truck or $500 for the latest power tool with the latest and greatest battery. The truck and power tool are “technology” just like the iPad or software is. At a certain point the value proposition of both will be viewed as equally important. The key, to me, is providing good tech training and mentoring to our own employees just as you would any new worker in the industry.”

Lucas Acosta: Founder and CEO at Foojee

“In 2017 digital tools will be expected, and new talent in the construction industry will expect companies to have digital tools powered by tablets and smartphones. It takes years for industries to adopt new technologies, and 2016 saw a lot of adoption. 2017 will show that iPad and iPhone tools are the norm. The new frontier is AR/VR/360 cameras, but it’s still early for those industries. Won’t see wide adoption until 2018 or 2019 for those technologies.”