Digitizing Construction: How Forward-Thinking Can Change The Industry
Technology has changed the world in almost every way in the last 20 years. Our daily lives have been, and continue to be, changed by smartphones, wireless tech, and innovative home solutions. Those changes have also affected how major industries survive and thrive.
The world of construction is no exception, even if it isn’t the first sector that comes to mind. Innovative technologies like drones, smart machinery, and the internet of things are revolutionizing one of the world’s leading industries.
Embracing these changes, and the ones still to come, will lead the construction industry into a new digital age. If you’re an industry professional, here’s what you need to know about digitizing construction and how forward-thinking can change the industry.
Don’t Underestimate The Little Guy: The Power Of A Drone
Drones may be small, but they play a big role in construction. Their main use is surveying land, particularly land that includes challenging terrain. A drone can be sent to fly over an area, and the operator can work with the general contractor to map out a project.
It lets them know what to expect before they go to the site, so accurate plans can be made. That speeds up the entire production by eliminating the need to survey in person.
Drones are also used to allow remote viewing of a job site while the construction is underway. A project manager, contractor, or client can see what’s happening in real-time without having to make a long drive. That increases safety, as it prevents people from unnecessarily being on-scene and allows a contractor to keep an eye out for potential dangers.
Drones are one of the primary pieces of technology affecting the construction world, and when you consider their safety and time-saving qualities, it’s easy to understand why.
Work Smart, Not Hard: Embrace Smart Machinery
Smart machinery is equipment that can teach itself to do things. This is sometimes called machine learning, and it’s a subset of artificial intelligence. These machines reduce error rates in high precision work by 5% to 30%.
Because of this, 30% of companies are expected to be using some form of smart machinery by the end of 2021. Construction is an industry that has already begun incorporating these intelligent machines.
In its simplest form, it’s used on cement mixers to alert staff when the machine is running low. That may not sound impressive, but it prevents staff from having to stop what they’re doing to check on the machine. That also reduces the chance of someone being injured by the machine by lowering unnecessary contact.
As more machinery is incorporated, simple tasks can be handed off. This frees up workers to handle work that requires more skill and lowers the number of accidents by eliminating the need for humans to do dangerous jobs. That is possibly the most important change that can be made in the industry.
The Internet Of Things and Big Data: Understanding the Relation And How It’s Used
The internet of things is a system of objects that can connect and transfer data over a wireless network without human assistance. In combination with big data, smart machine use in construction has transformed the industry drastically.
The two technological advancements are similar, yet distinct, but complement each other very well. Think of IoT as the processes working to fuel big data. Both collect large volumes of data but IoT is the process that runs the analytics.
An everyday example would be if you wear a smartwatch, it can send health data to your phone if you’ve paired them. That information will continue to be sent without you having to take any steps to initiate it. That’s because a network was shared once they were paired.
The same two technologies are used in construction, particularly the engineering side. The smart machines we talked about earlier use the internet of things and big data to connect and transfer data. This is primarily accomplished using sensors.
Sensors are placed on machinery, like the cement mixer, and then that sensor communicates with the network to send appropriate alerts. Those alerts save time and can improve safety, as these sensors are also used to track employee movements and identify danger zones.
Improved efficiency and safety are the main goals of using a connected system. When you create a network that can communicate problems and dangers without human assistance, errors and accidents can be prevented. Predicting danger before it happens is one of the most useful effects of forward-thinking.
The two technologies are constantly improving and the construction industry will no doubt find new ways to incorporate them for added speed and safety.
Keeping The Tradition: What’s Not Going Away
Some aspects of construction will continue to stay the same as the industry becomes more forward-thinking. Machines are an excellent tool, but there are some human functions they can’t perform. One of those is filling the role of a contractor.
If you’re in the construction industry and you’re looking for a job that won’t be replaced by computers anytime soon, become a contractor. Contractors are needed to work with clients, hire a crew, plan the job, and handle all major decisions at the job site.
If you’re ready to become a contractor, you should invest in pre-licensing courses now to prepare for your exam. The courses will take you through what you need to know to pass the exam and become a licensed contractor. Having a license is important because many states, like Tennessee, require licensure to perform certain contracting jobs.
Other jobs in construction that are unlikely to go away include electrical work, engineering, and other high-skill occupations. So if you’re looking for a career change, now is the time to do it.
These advancements are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digitizing construction. As more forward-thinking practices emerge, the industry will continue to evolve, paving the way into the future.