Technology 2016

The Great “Tech Effect” on Construction in 2016

Technology predictions are exciting as the rapid rate of change in the industry means that startling developments continuously take place.

 

But some predictions are not predictions; they’re more like evolving status updates. That is, certain trends are well established and recognized, but are still in the midst of their rise. These things will not necessarily bring sweeping changes to the tech industry in 2016; rather, their continued adoption will bring changes to the construction industry, and to the larger business culture.

 

Here are ten technology updates.

1. Cloud computing
An article on CIO.com notes, “momentum will continue to mount around cloud-based enterprise applications in 2016, according to a new survey of CIOs and other tech leaders.” The fact that cloud-based SaaS (software-as-a-service) has proven itself and has helped firms across all industries achieve unprecedented efficiencies.

 

2. Mobile Devices
CNBC, reporting on predictions made by Forrester, says that by the end of 2016, “4.8 billion people globally will use a mobile phone, and smartphone subscribers will represent 46 percent of the global population.” In the U.S., a recent forecast by the International Data Corporation suggests that the U.S. mobile worker population will reach 105 million, or nearly three-quarters of the total workforce, by 2020. These predictions indicate that there will be a continued shift toward information delivery on the go and in the field.

 

3. Mobile Apps
The same CNBC article states, “Next year, more than 60 percent of people who control companies’ decisions and budgets around mobile expect to invest in apps that will boost productivity. Employees at global enterprises who use these solutions for work are 50 percent more likely to report that colleagues are happy, and 40 percent more likely to report customer satisfaction.” Like cloud computing, apps have a proven ability to facilitate day-to-day tasks in almost every industry. Especially, in construction.

 

Last year’s technology buzzwords.

These trends are quite familiar to the average user by now. But what about last year’s buzzwords? Things most people have heard of but may not yet have hands-on experience using? Which ones have survived and may become more popular in 2016?

 

4. Big Data
“Big data” refers to datasets that are too big to be organized and handled on the computer systems of most companies. (This scale of data is measured in terabytes and petabytes, with exabytes on the horizon.) And big data may be more prevalent than most people realize. The storage, manipulation, and analysis of big data are increasingly being offered by cloud-based services that are designed to meet the needs of companies who want larger data sets about their users. Look for these services to expand their reach in 2016.

 

5. Virtual Reality
Several vendors have released or will soon release virtual reality devices. Not just for gaming anymore; these devices are poised to impact quickly certain other industries, such as the building industry because of their power in modeling physical spaces and communicating information about those areas.

 

6. The Internet of Things (IoT)
Gartner, Inc. forecasts in 2016 that:
> 4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015.
> In 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day.
> IoT will support total services spending of $235 billion in 2016, up 22 percent from 2015.

The IoT will eventually change communication channels and will require the development of new service and maintenance models as well as new security management.

 

A few predictions for 2016.

So what are the earth-shattering predictions for 2016? Which products, services, and concepts are making their debut? Will there be unexpected shifts in how humans make use of technology? Here are some of the most surprising expert opinions on what will happen next.

 

7. Messaging Will Beat Out Social Media
Michael Wolf, founder, and CEO of technology consulting firm Activate, Inc., forecasts that soon more people will use message apps than use social media. Messaging is defined as communicating primarily in real time with one’s contacts. Facebook Messaging and WhatsApp are the largest global messaging apps. Not only are these services free alternatives to texting, but they support the exchange of video content, GIFs and more. An ebb away from social media could cause another sea change in the average company’s marketing strategy.

 

8. Messaging Will Form the Basis for Transactions
According to Business Insider, “these messaging apps are also emerging as hubs for e-commerce and business-to-customer interactions.” Dubbed “conversational commerce,” the trend was explained in TechCrunch: “We all text more than ever, so why not expand texting’s potential to sending payments, buying products, ordering on-demand services, paying bills and more?”

 

9. Unified Communications
Unified communications seek to pull all channels of communication into a single system, even those that do not happen in real time, such as voicemail and email. According to an article in Technology Advice, several leading vendors are offering businesses a single contract that involves a unified approach, and “we can expect to see significant initiatives launching in 2016 and early adopters setting new benchmarks for productivity.”

 

10. Drones
Drones include a high-tech camera, GPS, laser scanner and software to complete a number of important tasks for construction subcontractors. Despite the public’s concerns, many in the construction industry are finding drones and UAVs can play a vital role in their work. Whether they’re used for surveying, to show clients and potential clients an aerial overview of completed projects, to monitor jobsites to ensure safe practices or to inspect bridges and other structures, drones have the potential to become as important a tool to the industry as any piece of yellow iron.

 

Technology will indeed make our lives look a little different, yet again, by the end of 2016. But there is one underlying theme to almost all of the predictions: an elimination of barriers between technology platforms, and more importantly, between people. Bigger data sets, better flow of information between formerly standalone computer programs, and improved collaboration among team members are still on the rise. And people will use these as they have done in the past, to improve communication, teamwork, and end results.

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