Message from the President: The construction industry 2020 and beyond…

by Greg Hosted

The year 2020 sounds like something out of a science fiction (sci-fi) movie, yet here we are embarking on a new decade of change, innovative technology, and major transformations in almost every industry. The smartphone, although less than 20 years old, has revolutionized communication and entertainment for the average person.

One of the few industries yet to see significant technological transformation is construction. Yes, there are innovations and progress, but widespread integration and implementation is slow, to say the least. Below are some emerging technologies and innovations that are on the horizon in 2020 and beyond.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) solutions allow construction firms to increase productivity, improve jobsite safety, and reduce risks. Sensors installed on materials, equipment, and personnel can be analyzed to track work flow, productivity, and worker safety.

Drones

Drones offer a fast, precise, and cost-effective way to get a complete aerial view of a construction site. Currently used for accurate survey and site mapping, drones can be employed to capture data that can integrate with 3D models, topographic maps, and building information modelling (BIM) software. This data can be used to create as-built models in ‘real time,’ thereby allowing all stakeholders to track progress and changes on a daily basis.

Virtual reality

Safety and equipment operator training and site awareness are all areas where virtual reality (VR) is poised to impact the construction industry in a positive way. VR training simulators can provide new hires with realistic exposure to confined space environments, the use of fall protection, and working with heights, in a safe, controlled manner.

Exoskeleton suits

Wearable suits help people walk and lift heavy objects with minimal effort. With a reported strength amplification of 20 to 1, a 90-kg (198-lb) object feels like less than 5 kg (11 lb) to the operator. Models will be launching in early 2020.

The construction industry is poised to enter an era of rapidly expanding technology and tech adoption on multiple fronts. Companies embracing these innovative ideas will reap the rewards of increased productivity, better collaboration, and greater employee engagement.

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