Tech Preparation for 2018
What are your core goals for 2018? Do you want to focus on improving cybersecurity? Are you looking into emerging technologies and the IoT (Internet of Things)? How about net-zero energy or constructing smart workplaces? The amount of technologies available to the construction industry continues to grow, which means CIOs and IT directors need to narrow in on the systems that will help a company meet corporate objectives. Here is a sneak peek into some of the top trends for the months ahead, and insider tips about what IT professionals need to know in the coming year.
…CIOs need to narrow in on the systems that will help a company meet corporate objectives.
Overall IT Spending
Which areas of IT (information technology) will see the strongest growth in the year ahead? Even with all the talk around emerging technologies and the IoT (Internet of Things), Gartner, www.gartner.com, Stamford, Conn., says it will still be enterprise software, with IT projected to grow 9.5% in 2018 and another 8.4% in 2019. Still, the analyst firm is expecting budgets to shift to SaaS (software-as-a-service). The devices segment is expected to grow 5.6% as well in the year ahead, and will experience growth for the first time in two years. PC growth will be flat, but the mobile phones segment is expected to increase marginally. Overall, spending on all IT initiatives will continue to grow in 2018, up from 4.5% in 2017, according to Gartner. For CIOs and IT directors at construction companies, this shines a light on the fact that enterprise software and hardware/devices are still a top buisiness priority, even in a world where the IoT and blockchain are becoming the newest technology buzzwords.
Cybersecurity issues are impacting companies both large and small across the country, as financial and compliance risks come into question. A report from SecurityScorecard, www.securityscorecard.com, New York, N.Y., examines the cybersecurity posture of some of the largest companies in the United States. The research shows that 70% of top performers exhibited a lack of due diligence regarding patching cadence. Additionally, there were more than 100 million issues related to patching cadence found in the group in a span of just five months in 2017. Construction companies, along with pharmaceutical companies and financial services companies, were the worst patching practice offenders. The three most common patching issues include: medium risk common vulnerability exposures detected within attributed corporate IP space; services that had reached end of life dates; and products that had reached end of service dates detected within attributed corporate IP space.
Focus on Field Service
As the skilled labor shortage continues among trade workers, the use of technology in the area of field service is set to grow in 2018. This includes areas such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), electrician, plumbers, septic and drain, security, and appliance repair. Technology can help small business owners and companies who help manage any kind of work task that needs to be performed on sites. For instance, FieldAx by Merfantz Technologies, www.fieldax.com, San Francisco, Calif., enables users to view field-service operations. This includes tracking customer details, job-controlling capability, and to automatically schedule recurring jobs based on the contractor’s scheduling policy. While this is only one example of a new application, the trend toward using technology among the trades will be a big one to keep an eye on in 2018 and beyond. This is criticial, especially considering the skilled labor shortage that is taking place in the construction industry today.
Some industry experts are dubbing 2018 as the year of net zero, as the trend toward greater sustainability in buildings, homes, and cities is beginning to develop and will continue to flourish. Technavio, www.technavio.com, London, England, anticipates the global zero-energy building market will grow around 39% between 2017 and 2021. This is due to a number of reasons. For one, fossil fuels are losing preference as a source of primary energy due to limited supply and impact on the environment. This comes at the same time as the vendor landscape is beginning to become more competitive. The global zero-energy buildings market is marked by the presence of both global and local vendors that provide products and services, which are expected to grow significantly during the forecast period. At the same time, country-specific socioeconomic conditions and policies are the ultimate deciding factors for the growth of this market. Still, zero energy is a big trend.
The Smart Workplace
Will you work in a smart workplace? Better yet, will you help build it? Many analysts and industry professionals recognize that smart buildings are coming, and they are going to help facilitate a smart work environment. For owners and operators, this type of structure can garner a higher rent than non-intelligent buildings. For construction companies, it is important to understand that the smart workplace goes beyond remote workers, telecommuters, and the supply chains between companies. Smart workplaces facilitate intelligent worker monitoring, data analytics, and control of the entire product lifecycle. A study from Reportlinker, www.reportlinker.com, New York, N.Y., show that core applications include employee scheduling, indoor location determination, workspace optimization, and workspace design. Service robotics and integrated systems will also contribute to helping create the smart workplace. Something to keep in mind as the construction industry moves forward in the months ahead.