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Phil Russell
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December 10, 2019

Four Concrete Ways Digitization is Transforming Construction

Four Concrete

The construction industry is changing immensely through the adoption of digital technologies that provide solutions to tough problems at the job site and beyond.

Construction companies are launching all kinds of digital transformation initiatives to automate workflows, connect construction sites and workers, provide better security and safety, and much more. In this post, we'll explore four tactics that are spurring technological change in the construction industry. 

Construction management software

With the advent of the cloud came an explosion in off-the-shelf construction programs that help professionals manage projects, finances, clients, and more. Today, most construction companies are using platforms like CoConstruct, Procore, RedTeam, and others to oversee daily operations.

These solutions, however, typically lack flexibility and customization. No two construction companies are exactly alike. It’s unreasonable for a company to expect to find a program that can meet its exact needs. What’s more, these types of programs are also typically expensive to purchase and deploy.

Beyond that, companies often get trapped and confined by the construction software that they use. It’s common to start using a program and become so reliant on it that you stop innovating and experimenting with other digital solutions.

Out-of-box programs can pigeonhole a company into working a certain way. Teams will often shift the way they work to accommodate a new type of software — instead of utilizing software that matches the way they want to work.

Biometric security sensors

Another leading digital technology that we’re seeing in construction is biometrics, which is increasingly being used to help provide increased security for remote construction sites.

Biometrics is a technical term that means body measurements and calculations. Basically, it’s using physical and behavioral characteristics to identify human beings. Construction sites are finding added security and protection through the use of biometric sensors such as fingerprint readers, as well as facial and voice recognition technology.

“The construction sector has really woken up to the significant advancements that digital technology such as biometrics can offer them,” says Nick Wilkinson, head of human recognition systems at Workforce Management Solutions. “Not only does it help to improve site security and training compliance, it can provide management with a significant amount of useful data that can improve site efficiencies for future jobs. Biometrics was the first part of the jigsaw in the digital construction picture for many main contractors and will remain at its heart as the industry moves forward.”

Internet of Things (IoT)

In addition to software, we’re also seeing more connected devices coming to market in construction. Over the last decade, IoT has been steadily growing as more and more devices have become IP-enabled. As a result, construction sites have emerged as a leading IoT arena.

For example, workers now wear a variety of sensors that collect and deliver data about their environment and performance. Sensors can be used to collect information related to air quality, body and surrounding temperature, location, heart rate, and other important factors.

At the same time, companies are using IoT devices to track their fleets, streamline safety inspections for vehicles and machinery, assess construction quality, and anticipate project completion times. 

Additionally, IoT devices make it possible to keep key stakeholders and customers informed with project updates. Using the IoT can also significantly boost the customer experience, leading to more projects and contracts in the long run.

Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN)

The rise of the IoT and the ultra-connected, modern construction site has increased the need for reliable remote connectivity. Downtime, after all, can lead to lapses in data, system monitoring, and communication — grinding operations to a halt until service is restored and delaying projects.

Now, construction sites are starting to use software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) to establish virtual, fail-proof remote networks supported by link aggregation, centralized management functionality, and enhanced security.

Conclusion

The construction industry is barreling toward technological advancements to provide solutions to tough problems. We are already seeing plenty of different digital avenues that are changing the ways in which workers engage with the job site and beyond.

Whether it be added security through the use of biometric sensor, the adoption of remote connectivity, utilizing software to streamline certain processes, and much more. Failing to hop on to the train now can lead to significant setbacks for your business.

Best of all, adopting digital technologies doesn’t have to be daunting. And we promise that the hard work it takes to get the ball running will be worth it in the end.

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