In 2020, the U.S. GDP from construction is projected to be 690.12 Billion USD. The global construction industry currently represents about 13% of global GDP with a likely increase to 15% in 2020. And yet, up until recently, the construction industry has not fully embraced technology. Historically, it has been one of the least digitized industries in the U.S.
Whether the sluggishness in adopting technology was due to a needed mind-shift from an older generation, annual budgets that did not accommodate upfront costs, or applications that did not account for the complex collaboration needed for all construction stakeholders is hard to know.
Whatever the case was in the past, Millennials and Generation Z construction employees, who have been raised on technology, are rapidly closing the tech gap in this industry. Labor shortages, project complexity, supply chain limitations, safety concerns, and needed transparency in project costs and timing are also driving the implementation of technology from design to build, and on to building life cycle.
Among the most frequently adopted technologies that construction pros rely upon are Project and Field Management applications.
Project management software, from leaders such as Procore and AutoDesk, is perfect for planning, scheduling, change management, and resource allocation. It also improves project managers monitoring and identifies inefficiencies that may cause costly delays. Safety has become a major concern after repeated tragic construction accidents such as the recent deaths at the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans.
Project management software should take the guesswork out of productivity loss and safety concerns by collecting data to provide real-time insights to improve site and resource management. Even a few years back, this speed and data accuracy were not possible, so industry experts expect technology adoption to increase even among the smaller construction firms. They have to join in to compete.
Fieldwork applications keep field and office in direct communication. Smartphone workflow applications construction companies use most, according to recent surveys are daily reporting, tool tracking, and punch lists. What is most important to construction field pros is the ease of use, intuitive interface, and price competitiveness.
Fieldwork applications leaders such as eSub, Raken, and Red Team are best known for these applications. Raken leads the pack in ease of use. This attribute becomes important because application fatigue is one of the most common problems among fieldwork teams. Contractors frequently have separate applications for each task or workflow, which means users have to toggle between several applications.
Project Management leader, Procore, is known for its ease of integration with other applications. They want to give construction firms choices around which workflow applications work best for them, so they integrate with 400+ other applications.
Other technology tools that will continue to be more fully incorporated in 2020 include:
- 3-D Printing
- Virtual Reality
- 360 Video
- Wearable Devices
One thing is certain, right now the construction software applications market is flooded and fragmented, so it is ripe for consolidations. The other certainty is that the winners will play nice and integrate easily with their competitors.