The Construction Site of the Future

 

By Duane Gabor

The construction sector is the building block of our world. Without the construction worker, cavemen wouldn’t have gotten shelter from the rain; the pharaohs wouldn’t have their pyramids; I wouldn’t have an office to go to; and you wouldn’t have a house to live in. Construction has been one of the most enduring and integral contributors to society, but how it’s done is evolving, and fast. New technologies — from smart hard hats to geo-fencing — are at the heart of the evolution happening in this sector, which is going to manifest itself in many new ways soon. I’ve seen many a construction site change around me, and here are my predictions on how construction sites of the future will operate and the impact they’ll have on us. 

To the Cloud!

Until recently, many construction companies used to rely on paper solutions or on-premise software solutions to locate and process data, meaning the right information was rarely readily available—especially if someone needed it offsite. Additionally, there were normally only handful computers in the organization that could be used to access all this data, and they would rest in the supervisor’s office. Today, things are changing, thanks to the cloud. Everybody has their own computer (or mobile device) that they bring to work each day. Thanks to rapid proliferation of devices that are connected to the cloud — the central repository of all information — the construction worker is now also a knowledge worker.

They know exactly what they need when they need it—even if the data available to them is changed from 1,000 miles away. Anyone on a jobsite is able to quickly create customizable dashboards to see exactly what they need to do their job, and get status updates on tasks in real time.

Jobsites Get Smart

This rapid development doesn’t just stop at the workers — with the advent of Machine-to-Machine technology (M2M), equipment itself is “smart” and can tell the jobsite important information. So along with employees, the jobsite of the future will have construction equipment getting instant access to the data it needs to do its job, avoiding delays and increasing productivity. Tomorrow’s technologies are enabling a “dynamic” information model — as data changes, the system knows if it needs to alert anyone.

If a subcontractor misses a date, systems will know who and what else will be affected, and alert those teams proactively. If a delivery was expected by lunch, and it didn’t happen, the job site systems will know exactly what materials are needed to reschedule, and what the impact on the job site will be. The job site of the future is smart and proactive, and gets the right information to the right person, at the right time, in the right context, enabling better decision-making capabilities when conditions change.

Looking Ahead

In the near future, technology will continue to influence this industry, as it’s making its presence felt in other sectors. One look at the coming wave of drones, wearable tech and robotics shows that this evolution isn’t stopping anytime soon — it’s up to us to adapt or be left behind.  

Duane Gabor is a technology enthusiast at heart, with a passion for understanding and creating solutions to improve people’s productivity, process, and systems. After graduating with a degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia, he joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and worked with some of the world’s most innovative companies on their technology strategies.He joined QuickBase in 2014 to help grow the QuickBase ISV partner network and is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting technologies.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.          

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