Construction, as an industry, is in the midst of a rapid technological shift. This is the rise of construction tech, a new sector of seemingly unattractive technology startups finally deciding to take on the construction industry and revolutionise the way we build our cities. With the whole world digitizing at an incredible rate over the past 2 decades, how come construction has taken so long to follow suit? According to a McKinsey article from 2017, many construction firms have, in the past, struggled to deploy digital tools at scale, hence reducing these tools impact and not providing the ROI they were looking for.
In 2019, approximately one fifth of UK based construction firms claim to be entirely paperless. Although this is a massive improvement in digitisation, there is still a long way to go. From the other end of the spectrum, only about 13% of UK firms use digital technology for more than a third of their business. The remainder of their business is handled using paper. Implementing the right technologies can have a tremendous impact on productivity, collaboration, and environmental performance. And there couldn’t be a better time to do it.
What have we seen in the past decade?
Digital twins, drones, virtual and augmented reality, and robotics are just a few of the incredible technological innovations that have entered the construction space in the past decade. All of these technologies have wildly exciting applications to help us build a better and more efficient world. The majority of these technologies first sprung into the mainstream through “sexy” consumer technology companies (think Occolus Rift, DJI Drones, and Boston Dynamics). However, lately we are seeing a whole drove of tech startups entering the less attractive sectors, such as construction. These are the companies that make the world around us progress more efficiently, in a more connected, and more sustainable way. These are the silent warriors of global progress. The technology provided by these new ventures is reshaping the construction industry as we know it. We are seeing improvements in areas such as productivity, safety, planning, and sustainability, just to name a few. In the new decade, things will change more rapidly than ever before. Although this is a fear of many construction companies, choosing to ignore digital technology altogether will leave them in the wake of the companies who took the risk and digitised their operations early on.
The technology and innovation we expect to see in the next 30 years is beyond most people’s imagination. It will reshape the way we work and do business in ways we never thought possible. In construction, in particular, there are a tremendous amount of exciting applications for all of the aforementioned technologies. Furthermore, there will be a range of technologies accessible that haven’t even been thought of yet.
At Qflow, we are placing our bets on data. We believe that leveraging every aspect of data is the quickest and most accessible way to have a massive impact on the construction industry, particularly from a sustainability standpoint. By collecting a vast data set of environmental information, we are able to apply modern technology, such as machine learning, to squeeze the maximum amount of insights from this data. This is helping us propel construction into a much more sustainable future.
As consumers, we are generally only exposed to the hot new technologies that will affect our day to day lives. Although these are useful, they are not the technologies that shape the world. It’s the recent revolution of unattractive tech companies that will ultimately determine the evolution of the world. Stealing a term from the world of programmers, you could say that these tech companies act as the back end of the world. They support real progress and make the world function. In construction, there is a wave of new tech companies working hard to improve the industry.
If you want to ride the tide of construction tech and reap the rewards, we suggest you take a look at how Qflow can help you drive sustainability, improve productivity, and save you money in the process. Have a look at our product page and feel free to book a demo with us to learn more about what we can offer your construction business.