Modern technology is an amazing commodity, we use it in our homes and businesses to make our lives easier, cut costs and reduce carbon emissions. From hospitals to sales, computer design to teaching, there has been a huge revolution in the way we use technology.
However, there is one sector that has been slow on the uptake when it comes to utilising these products. This isn’t due to a lack of knowledge of willing from the construction industry, rather quite the opposite.
Whilst construction site broadband is certainly on the rise, those in construction know the importance of accuracy and safety and it is these elements that create the foundations of proper planning and development of a site. There is little room for error when it comes to constructing and previous technologies simply weren’t up to the challenge and the risks outweigh the pros.
Over the past few decades, technology has grown and adapted faster than most of us could have ever believed, but it is only in the last few years that has become intelligent enough that the construction industry can finally put its faith in them.
Below are the top ten technology trends for 2020 within the construction industry.
1. Big Data
There are roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day across the world and this figure is forever growing. With so much data generated, teamed with instant sharing, it’s a miracle anyone could ever make sense of this.
While a human mind can do so, it is incredibly time consuming and no person can keep up with the processing power of a computer.
By digitally analysing big data, the construction industry finds patterns and probabilities in risks to aid projects and steer them away from any dangers while also planning the physical construction with weather and traffic data.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
This is one of the most popular construction technology trends. AI has been created to copy human behaviour while ML follows this whilst also learning from previous data, just as humans would.
The construction sector can make use of this in the design process, it means engineers can ensure electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems don’t clash from the very beginning of the development.
AI can also be programmed to perform repetitive tasks, saving the workforce from these mundane jobs and allowing those man-hours to be placed elsewhere.
3. The Internet Of Things (IOT)
You may not have heard of IOT before but you almost certainly use it in your daily life, it encompasses all smart technology, from phones, watches and speakers.
This is now being implemented in the construction industry. Suitable for repetitive tasks that would have previously needed a human to oversee. Cement mixers with sensors can now be purchased to indicate when cement is running low.
Even tracking staff and footfall on the site can be made easier with IOT, reducing times and paper wastage. Even dangers can be picked up and flagged to alert workers if anything unexpected enters the area.
4. Robotics & Drones
While robotics are by no means new to this world, they have certainly advanced extremely over the last decade.
Now they are incredibly improved and can be used in the construction sector daily. Drones can be blown over sites to get a quick overview of the area and site managers can identify any hazards that were previously missed.
They are also playing an essential role in delivering materials and tools to sites, decreasing waiting time alongside emissions from delivery vehicles.
Bricklaying robots are swiftly becoming popular, they are faster and often produce better results than their human counterparts.
5. 5G and Wi-Fi 6
This is also a popular construction technology trend and can be found on almost every site. Communication is a key factor for the smooth running of every business and now that most communication occurs online, a strong connection is imperative.
But installing fixed lines, this comes at a cost, alongside lengthy wait times. 5G and Wi-Fi 6 provides a strong connection while eliminating these cons all while providing a secure connection.
6. Building Information Modelling (BIM) Technology
BIM is a 3D modelling tool that intelligently supports architecture, engineering and construction. It allows individuals from different professions to easily collaborate with their own elements to the design.
All aspects can be reviewed in real-time while BIM will flag any clashes and aid with problem-solving, meaning the actual construction should be able to go ahead without any unexpected problems or alterations due to human error.
7. Virtual Reality (VR) Technologies/Augmented Reality (AR)
These are no longer reserved for the gaming industry. VR provides an immersive look into a virtual world or concept while AR alters a real view by adding computerised elements.
This gives designers, contractors and clients a chance to view the space without being in the physical location. It provides an easy way to showcase designs in the most true-to-life manner.
It can also be implemented for risk assessments and training.
8. 3D Printing
There is no end to what can be created with 3D printers and the construction sector is taking full advantage of this.
Tools, parts and anything else that can be designed can be printed on or off-site. This reduces wait time for deliveries, therefore reducing delivery vehicles on the road and cutting carbon emissions.
It also reduces cost, while the initial cost of a 3D printer may be high, the money saved can be endless.
9. Mobile And Cloud Technologies
Many businesses utilise cloud-based systems and the construction industry doing so too.
Project managers no longer have to be present to sign off tasks or equipment and these can be done instantly with file sharing.
As this information is stored on remote servers, this means they can be accessed anywhere around the world, while remaining secure. Gone are the days when you need to have access to a work computer to find the information needed.
10. Blockchain Technology
The most common form of this is Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies. There has previously been a worry within construction overpayment, whether contractors will deliver what was agreed or if the client will pay for the work that has been carried out.
Using this system means payment is stored and released upon completion of contracts, meaning all parties have peace of mind during the process.
With how quickly technology is evolving, we may find these current top ten trends could easily be seen as archaic in just a few years. Who knows where the sector will be in another decade.
Visit UK Connect for more information and a full breakdown of these technology trends.
Published by Samantha Brown