It is that time of year again. Analysts are making predictions about the biggest disruptive technologies in the New Year, while technology companies, manufacturers, and tool companies are holding their annual year-end press briefing, highlighting what is to come in the New Year.

I love the practice of pausing at the end of each year to consider what has gone well, and perhaps just as important what hasn’t gone well, in the past year in order to make decisions about how to move forward in the year ahead. Below are a few key takeaways that we have been seeing and hearing in the past few weeks that might be something to keep in mind as the New Year approaches.

First, big technology companies are attempting to be more nimble. I think it goes without saying that large companies that have been around for decades often have a more difficult time of being as agile as a newer, smaller company when it comes to new innovation and development. However, we have been seeing a number of the big technology companies making announcements about new capabilities in the past few weeks.

For instance, Sage recently hosted its year-end press briefing, in which it announced the general availability of Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate v18.2 and Sage 100 Contractor v21. The company has a big focus on increased mobility and integration, with new mobile reports, mobile dashboards, and mobile intelligence.

The second big takeaway in recent months is that equipment and tool manufacturers are swiftly becoming technology providers, to some degree. In case you missed it, I recently attended Caterpillar’s year-end press briefing and the company’s newest equipment has high-tech features to attract a younger generation, as well as functions that can lead to more productivity on a job. This is just one example too. Peggy recently traveled to Hilti’s Innovation Day and also saw a number of technology features that caught her eye as well.

Finally, predictions about the IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning, and other emerging technologies aren’t as grandiose as they might seem. True, Cisco was a bit off the mark when it predicted 50 billion devices by 2020—we are quite on pace to hit that number just yet. However, I think the more important takeaway is that the IoT is here—and it is advancing faster than ever before. In fact, some of the systems in use in construction today are already leveraging AI.

What are your thoughts? How else is technology advancing—and will continue to advance—in the construction industry in the next year? Who is leading the charge? What do other construction companies really need to take into consideration when planning for the year ahead?

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Laura Black
Laura Blackeditor