Many people might remember when Cisco, www.cisco.com, San Jose, Calif., predicted that there would be 50 billion devices by 2020. We aren’t quite on pace to hit that number in the next year. However, big predictions do point construction toward trends to watch. Today, this includes the IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning, robotics, and more. In fact, many construction companies are already leveraging these advanced systems. Here’s a closer look at the biggest predictions today.
Alexa in Your Enterprise
Alexa is everywhere these days—in the home, in the car, and even in your construction enterprise. This trend will only continue. For instance, Strategy Analytics, www.strategyanalytics.com, Boston, Mass., says 42% of companies indicate IT spending will increase between 1-6% in the next five years, with another 25% increasing between 6-10% in the next five years. Here’s where it gets really interesting. Companies have a growing interest in location-based services and AI (artificial intelligence). In fact, AI voice-controlled assistants will breach the enterprise, according to this analyst firm. This will be the year that devices increase their overall knowledge and intelligence and add more value. Further, the advent of 5G, AI, and foldable screens will push business mobile devices adoption in the future, but not necessarily this year. At the same time, organizations will drive a demand for a holistic and harmonious view of all their data. Bottomline: this is the year artificial intelligence will explode.
Rise of the Robots
Autonomous robots are making their way into mines and construction sites—but what are the predictions for growth? Too often, modern robotics are associated with either indoor environments like factories or in the home, but there are a number of other business environments for them. According to ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, Oyster Bay, N.Y., while in 2018, 28.7% of commercial robots’ shipments had some degree of autonomous navigation; in 2027, the percentage will be 79.3%, which is quite the leap. This is due to advances in AI, wireless communications, location-based technologies, and navigation systems. When it comes to tech in this space, complexity currently exists with localization, mapping, and navigation, and, as such, there will be a delegation of responsibility to third-party providers. In the coming months, the industry will likely see a surge of startups dedicated to building robotic platforms for construction-related tasks. And what comes next will be the rise of machines on construction jobsites.
Watch Out for Artificial Assistants
Here’s another big statistic to soak in: By 2021, 70% of organizations will assist their employees’ productivity by integrating AI in the workplace. In fact, Gartner, www.gartner.com, Stamford, Conn., says this development will prompt 10% of organizations to add a digital harassment policy to workplace regulations. Interestingly, past incidents have shown that poorly designed assistants cause frustration among employees, which sometimes prompts bad behavior and abusive language toward the assistant, which can create a toxic working environment. Here’s why it is important: Recent experiments show that people’s abusive behavior toward AI can translate into how they treat the humans around them. Thus, many organizations are considering this when training the assistants to respond appropriately to aggressive language. Organizations should consider this when establishing virtual personal assistants in the workplace and should clearly state in company policies that assistants need to be treated with respect.
Europe Embraces the IoT
If you are looking for some big predictions for the IoT, look across the pond. The Internet of Things is exploding in several vertical markets, including construction, offering opportunities to improve productivity and safety and to save some long-term costs on projects. For example, IDC, www.idc.com, Framingham, Mass., suggests revenues for the European IoT market will increase by 19.8% year-on-year to reach $171 billion in 2019. Even more, total spending on IoT solutions will maintain a double-digit annual growth rate throughout the 2017-2022 period and it is expected to surpass $241 billion in 2022. Hardware will be the largest technology category in 2019, with revenue of $66 billion led by module and sensor purchases. IoT services will be close behind at $60 billion going toward traditional IT and installation services, as well as non-traditional device and operational services. IoT software spending will total $35 billion in 2019 and will see the fastest growth rate. Growth is coming. Is your construction company ready?
Maintenance Is a Must
According to the homeowner, preventative maintenance is a must—especially when it comes to HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems. Is your construction company delivering the technology to respond to this growing need? Check out some of the recent statistics: analyst Parks Associates, www.parksassociates.com, Addison, Texas, finds that 65% of smart thermostat owners are interested in a dealer service that periodically cleans and performs preventative maintenance on their HVAC equipment. This is in line with trends in the construction industry. Today, connectivity and data analytics create new opportunities and services within the home. For instance, smart homes can be paired with installation, technical support, and remote monitoring, creating opportunities for the contractor and savings for the homeowner. These services are one way builders can offer continued support to customers. This will be one way homes continue to converge with new offerings contractors can provide.