One of the biggest takeaways from Technology Days 2019 is this: If you don’t disrupt, you will be disrupted. Consider for a minute other industries, specifically taxis and hotels. Uber and Airbnb came in with a different model for providing these services and it completely turned those industries upside down. If you think this won’t happen to construction, you are wrong.
If you haven’t heard the news, Amazon has already staked a claim in the tiny house movement, with one even coming equipped with solar energy. It is inexpensive and it can be built fast. If you think this won’t change the game in construction, think again.
Amy Marks, CEO, XSite Modular, really hit this point home in her presentation at the event at the end of August, pointing to Amazon and another company that could transform construction: Samsung. Why? Because it is all about the platform, and while tech giants haven’t come after construction yet, because it is a complex industry, it is only a matter of time.
Other countries have already figured this out and are trying to stay ahead of the curve. Singapore, for instance, is one of the leaders in prefab (and in infrastructure). North America is falling very, very far behind.
Some of the challenges as to why we are far behind were addressed at the conference: lack of funding, regulations, and, yes, the labor shortage. Quite frankly, the culture of construction needs to progress and it just isn’t evolving fast enough to keep up with the rest of the world.
So what can be done? Innovate, adopt new technologies and processes, create a strategy, and embrace the training and tools needed to equip the next generation of young workers. That makes it all sound very easy, but, of course, it is not.
A lot needs to change, and it needs to change very quickly, or the Amazon’s and the Samsung’s of the world are going to come in with their prebuilt homes, buildings, and, yes, even hospitals, and essentially do what Uber did to taxi drivers. It is time for construction to disrupt or be disrupted. Are you ready?
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