In the months of December and January, I will be looking at some of the loftiest (and not so lofty) technology predictions for 2020 and beyond, covering everything from the IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), digital twin, blockchain, cybersecurity, and so much more, with a focus on how these predictions will ultimately play out in construction. Up first is the IoT.

For as long as we have been talking about the IoT in construction—both at the jobsite and in the lifecycle of the facility—you would think it would be commonplace on projects. Adoption has certainly been moving from the early adoption phase toward more widespread adoption, but there is still a long way to go and many untapped opportunities that still exist.

The IoT in construction is obviously wide and vast. It exists on the jobsite, in equipment, and even in the buildings. Let’s take a closer look. Gartner predicts the enterprise and automotive IoT market will grow to 5.8 billion endpoints in 2020, which is a 21% increase from the anticipated 4.8 billion endpoints expected to be in use by the end of 2019.

Utilities will be the highest user of IoT endpoints, while building automation, specifically connected lighting devices, will be the segment with the largest growth rate in 2020. Basically, more and more things will become connected in our buildings. At the same time, automotive IoT—which includes both connected cars and connected equipment—will also rise. We have noted time and time again that telematics continues to pick up momentum in the construction industry.

The opportunities at the construction jobsite are vast—especially considering the shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry. The IoT can help with site monitoring, reporting, and more. The result? A safer jobsite, and potentially less worker claims and rising insurance costs.

Looking to the lifecycle of a building or infrastructure, a major driver for IoT connectivity is customer convenience and communication. Onboard connectivity and the IoT in rail, for instance, has evolved, very, very rapidly, and serves as an example for other buildings and infrastructure.

Here’s the challenge and reality of the IoT in construction, specifically, and in general. The market is fragmented, with many new startups emerging regularly. Too often, these startups are acquired by larger companies, shaking up the marketplace.

The good news is the IoT is clearly in a growth phase. From sensors at the jobsite, to connectivity in the home and buildings, IoT will see continued growth in the year to come.

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Laura Black
Laura Blackeditor