For those of you who follow this blog closely, you know that I have been covering what it takes to enable a smart, connected construction jobsite. In the past four weeks, I have dove into workers, materials, construction equipment, and tools. Today, I am going to wrap the series up, giving my perspective on what works, what doesn’t, and what is needed going forward.
Let’s first, take a look at some of the numbers. Persistence Market Research says 26 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Grand View Research projects the wireless mesh network alone will be worth north of $11 billion globally by the year 2025.
I could easily cite dozens of numbers that all make the same point: the IoT (Internet of Things) is here, and it is going to change the way business is performed. For the construction industry, this means work out at the jobsite.
That is great. We too, here at Constructech, espouse the benefits of technology in the construction industry every day. But when we are talking about the connected construction jobsite, I think there is something more important that we need to discuss: the realities of leveraging all these advanced technology on the jobsite.
Identifying hurdles: First, we need to talk about what isn’t currently working. Only by identifying the hurdles will we be able to overcome them and move on to the next phase of technology adoption. There are three key things we need to address in order to make the adoption of IoT at the jobsite more prevalent: interoperability, rugged technology, and getting workers on board.
Perhaps the biggest issue with creating the connected jobsite is the lack of interoperability. There are too many apps and too many platforms. Construction professionals need to log into dozens of different systems to access data. This is slowing the industry down. There has to be a better way.
Consequently, when considering technology for the jobsite, we also need to consider the way the construction industry works. We need more rugged technology. We need more technology that works the way the construction industry does.
Finally, we need to address the fact that we need a culture shift. This was addressed briefly in the first part of the blog series, but this point can’t be emphasized enough. The industry needs a cultural shift—one where workers recognize the value of new technology, and embrace it. This is starting to happen naturally with the new, younger generation entering the jobsite, but it is still something that construction companies need to address.
Finding value: In order to move forward, and embrace the connected construction jobsite, the industry needs to find the underlying value in the technology.
Sure, some of it is flashy, and perhaps doesn’t meet the needs of the industry, but there are many tools out there that provide a pretty sizeable ROI (return on investment). We need to determine how to bridge that gap, finding the solutions that provide greater visibility and safety, while having a positive impact on the bottomline. When we do, we will have the connected construction jobsite that we have always been looking for all along.
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