by Tony Rushin
Technology is rapidly changing our personal lives as well as the way we work, and that’s true in just about every industry. Construction is one sector that might seem more traditional than many, but the digital revolution is making an impact here as well. Large construction companies may be exploring 3-D printing, advanced BIM, robotic construction innovations and other high-profile techniques but even the smaller firms are finding plenty of opportunity to use the latest technologies in their work.
These small and mid-sized companies are using a variety of tech tools as they plan and complete various projects, saving time and money as well as enjoying added convenience through technology. Some of the rising stars of construction technology in 2017 include:
These aren’t brand new, by any means, but they are becoming more ubiquitous as they grow in popularity and adoption by specific niches. These days, construction professionals can choose from a wide assortment of apps that allow them to track resources, handle invoicing, order materials, complete or tweak designs, track time, collaborate on plans, estimate costs and do much more. With most people on a job site in possession of a tablet, laptop or smartphone, it’s easy to get the job done from anywhere you may be instead of having to make a trip to the office or supply house.
Gathering field data and then managing it and performing analytics used to be a time-intensive task that required many trips. With today’s technology, the time required to obtain and understand necessary data has been greatly reduced. Everything from advanced mapping capabilities to satellite imagery, geologic information and high-resolution photography is available with a click, and construction pros have their choice of analytical tools to help them make sense of the data – often for free!
If you’re not comfortable taking expensive laptops and tablets to job sites, where they can be easily stolen or broken, consider joining the many who are taking advantage of wearable technology. There are tools specifically targeted to the construction industry, including some that allow managers to get the same view workers are taking in on the site. Wraparound head lamps, “smart” helmets and armbands that allow photos and communications are just a few of the other construction-specific wearables that are making workers happier, safer and more productive.
As the cost of VR technology drops, construction companies are finding more ways to incorporate it into their work. It’s an obvious choice for bringing designs to life, but have you thought about what it can offer in terms of safety and efficiency? Imagine being able to simulate a risky situation on top of a tower or under a bridge, for example, or evaluate the types of safety precautions and tools that will be required through digital simulation before sending a live human being into a remote project site. VR makes for plenty of fun and games, but it can also save lives, time and money.
Finding new and beneficial ways to utilize technology in our daily lives is one of the joys of living in the 21st century. Those in the construction field have an especially great opportunity to apply tech advances to their work, benefiting their fellow professionals and their companies’ bottom line in the process.