Here at Constructech we have been talking about the impact of emerging technologies for quite some time. Things like AI (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), big data, and blockchain are changing the way the construction industry does business.

We have said this before, but at its core, the IoT (Internet of Things) is all about data—collecting, sending, and analyzing data as it relates to business, in this case construction projects. Naturally, certain areas of the business are riper for this type of innovation than others. For instance, there has been much talk about AI as it relates to scheduling.

My question is: How quickly will these emerging technologies transform processes like, let’s say finance, which is typically slower to see new, emerging technologies? According to a new survey, the answer is sooner than most might think.

AvidXchange recently released new insights into the use of disruptive technologies in financial processes, looking specifically at innovations such as AI, machine learning, big data, and blockchain. Here’s what it found: AI is the most familiar to users, with 43% citing they are aware of its use in fintech applications. Conversely, blockchain was the least well known, with roughly one in four respondents aware of its role. Machine learning and big data finished in the middle, at 34% and 33%, respectively.

If you have been following Constructech TV, you will know that Peggy Smedley recently drilled into the topic of blockchain on the show and that there are a number of big opportunities for blockchain in the construction industry so perhaps it is worth a closer discussion.

In case you are part of the three in four respondents who is not aware of the role of blockchain, this is a quick primer: Blockchain is a shared digital record book of transactions that are linked together in a sequence and it is often associated with making digital transactions.

If you caught that episode, you know both Peggy and a guest pointed to one of the more popular examples of blockchain in the construction industry today: an Australian-based company that is using blockchain to help track assets. Supply chain, along with smart contracts, are some of the biggest opportunities for construction to streamline processes.

We talk about this so often here that quite frankly these terms are pretty regular in our vocabulary at this point. However, we are interested in hearing from you. Share with us your thoughts on these emerging technologies and where they make sense—or don’t make sense—for the construction industry.

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Laura Black
Laura Blackeditor