Building your way to a digital future: 3 major technology trends in the construction industry in 2021

February 4, 2021

The need for technological solutions in the business world has increased exponentially over the last few decades. The transformation into a digital landscape for all organisations is no longer a matter of if but when and how to adapt to the ever-evolving digital innovations around the globe.

The construction industry is no different. 7% of the world’s labour force is employed in construction, but productivity and growth seem to have flattened in recent years compared to other major sectors such as manufacturing and retail, which are out performing it by 3:1.

So, how has a sector so imperative to our global economy and every day lives seemingly plateaued? And what is being done about it?

The coronavirus pandemic has had major construction firms in the UK remaining very cautious. Public anxiety, supply chain complexities and lengthy delivery times have meant momentum of the sector’s recovery in its output growth hit a bump in the final quarter of 2020.

It is widely regarded that those construction firms adept to this health climate are those incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into their operational activities.‘Smart construction’ is a term a lot of senior officials expect to see more of in the near future. With the ability to limit human interaction on site whilst improving workplace safety and optimizing work schedules, the concept of AI on site has seen a big shift in stakeholder judgement.

An exceptional and exciting form of AI we are sure to see more of in the future is predictive designing; taking into account many factors such as weather, location, engineering plans, electricity, plumbing and so on to mitigate potential future clashes of sub-sectors to increase the lifespan of buildings and the efficiency of a workforce.

Construction is notorious for being one of the least digitized industries in the world. After all, for a technology to be disruptive in the industry, it needs to be tailored to its complex work processes and challenging environments. A service that has fit the needs of site managers in recent times is cloud services. Essentially, cloud services have given workers the opportunity to outsource important data and storage to more powerful machines.

For example, a drone taking thousands of pictures of sites providing detailed coordinates and metadata can be simply shared to more advanced computers to be viewed independent of location. In short, projects are now a lot more flexible, cost-effective and secure as communication and collaboration capabilities have improved immensely. The rise of cloud services within the industry has caught the attention of contractors, with 85% now planning to integrate the technology on their sites (an increase from 15%, 5 years ago).

The ability to share complex data or meticulous engineering designs has proven challenging with the obstacle of limited bandwidth for hundreds of on-site devices taking its toll. The rise of 5G technologies in the early start of last year is expected to make the collection of information and sharing of analysis a lot faster and more reliable.

5G is seen by many as the gatekeeper for the future of construction technology. It offers an extremely low latency, which has meant the status of on site machinery is easily reviewed and more reliable security concepts are no longer out of reach. 

Burcin Kaplanoglu, of Officer at Oracle illustrated that “network slicing enables communication service providers to tailor connectivity services to the precise requirements of any given application, user, device, or context.”

Overall, 2021 is set to be an exciting year for the construction industry as these technologies become more readily available and crucial to a successful development endeavour. The most ambitious goals of contractors have become a lot more realistic with key benefits of improved safety and productivity becoming a lot more accessible through the use of AI, cloud and 5G.

Here at SWIC, we offer a wide range of 4/5G rapid deployment and cloud services to those construction sites without any infrastructure, power or water. Allow us to reinvigorate your workforce by making complex technologies simple and easy to use.

Ultimately, we believe everyone should have great connectivity, whenever and wherever.

SWIC: We connect. You build.


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