2019 is just around the corner, and with it, applications for construction tech (con-tech for short) will continue to grow and prove their value. Your jobsite has needs that must be met in order to execute on time and effectively. We’ve cut it down to the best of the best (and why you should jump onboard if you aren’t already using these technologies).
Artificial Intelligence + GPS
Artificial Intelligence is growing across all industries, primarily where it bolsters automated processes. But the construction industry as a whole has been slow to digitize, so our expectations for AI in 2019 are predicted to happen in waves.
We anticipate a slow adoption across the industry, starting with components of AI being incorporated into smaller business functions first. We expect first wave areas to include:
- Time management
- Health and safety
For construction companies, logistics is a huge portion of preparation and execution. AI could provide benefits in this area by combing with GPS technologies to improve fleet and equipment tracking.
Fleet tracking streamlines efforts, reduces fuel and congestion both on the highway and in the project pipeline. Being able to reroute, monitor, and ensure the safest, quickest delivery of supplies to a jobsite is critical to staying on time.
A large concern for jobsite security is protecting/tracking equipment and job materials. With GPS embedded, not only is it possible to monitor potential theft, but it offers additional benefits on massive construction sites. Being able to allocate equipment exactly where it’s needed when it’s needed saves time and prevents frustration.
If you aren’t leveraging GPS and Artificial Intelligence technologies in your construction fleet already, now is the time to get on board.
With a similar vein to AI, the field of robotics will continue to grow into 2019 as more sites realize the applications and benefits of robotic aid.
Robots are great for supplementing areas where human error, strain, and efficiency are most beneficial, primarily for repetitive tasks (think bricklaying, grouting, etc). In fact, they’re an excellent solution to the ever-widening labor gap because they can fill lower-level positions and leave critical thinking positions for humans. Additionally, robots reduce the physical exertion required on many jobsites, which in turn increases safety and drastically reduces the time it takes to complete a project.
Robot Systems to Befriend:
- SAM (Semi-Automated Mason) helps with bricklaying thanks to its laser-guided system
- MULE (Mechanical Unit Lift Enhancer) does the heavy lifting so that construction workers can move and manipulate large objects
LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) will continue to aid 3D modeling.
Improving accuracy in projects reduces the time it takes to rework errors and miscalculations that often occur when projects rely on hand measurements. LiDAR proved its worth in the construction industry by aiding 3D models to make project planning and preparation more true to actual costs and execution.
LiDAR serves as a quality filter. It scans the existing environment and models a virtual one that can then be manipulated and experimented upon. This capability drastically reduces the timeline of a project, thus lowering labor costs, improving satisfaction rates, and producing repeat job opportunities.
Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR)
Similar to LiDAR, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will make strides on the construction jobsite.
Combining AR/VR with BIM tools is a powerful way to reduce error and improve efficiency. As building designs become increasingly more complex, so does the potential for error and costly rework. AR/VR reduces the friction traditionally experienced during the handoffs between architecture, engineering, and building by enabling all parties to visualize a project at its build-site. When integrated with software programs, AR & VR reveals conflicts in design and enables all parties to cross-reference design intent with execution practicality.
Blockchain and construction
You may have heard of blockchain. If you’re confused, this is a good resource. Essentially, blockchain reduces the possibility for error while enhancing the security of financial documents.
Blockchain’s potential for construction is huge. Payment in the construction industry can is complex; with subcontractors, project managers, contractors, and subcontractors to the subcontractors, it can be difficult to keep it all straight. Utilizing blockchain to ensure accurate billing/payment reduces the time wasted on correcting mistakes while confirming every party is paid on time.
Scheduling and Project Management Integration
Though already used by many in the industry, we expect to see more construction firms realize the power of cloud software for project management, scheduling, and administrative work. The benefits are innumerable:
- Real-time communication and collaboration
- Schedule coordination for dispatching teams, equipment, materials, etc
- Allocation of equipment between jobsites based on GPS locations of workers in the field
- Queuing enables tasks to be waterfalled in the correct order
- Quality assurance and cross-referencing to avoid double booking, being short on labor when someone is sick (automated reassignment, conflict recognition software)
- Data analytics and reporting for insights on areas to improve
Utilizing these applications relieves companies of monotonous clerical work, freeing them up to proactively plan, concentrate on mission-critical tasks, and ensuring quality and conformity.
Are You Connected?
You’ve already decided to digitize. We’ve laid out the benefits and best implementation of tech that’s going to continue to expand in 2019. Your only remaining concern? Making sure you have enough bandwidth at your site to accommodate all your tech.