The following is a guest post by Krystal Spicer, Digital Marketing Manager of UK Connect, the UK’s leading communications provider to the construction industry.
Technology trends are ever-changing throughout every industry. However, construction has been slow on the uptake when it comes to implementing new technology. The standards for on and off-site aids are so high, both for practicality and health and safety, the sector simply cannot settle. UK Connect’s construction technology trends lay out some of the key trends for this year.
Technology brands and manufacturers have managed to finally bring the construction sector up-to-date by providing some key tools for the industry to improve safety, reduce working hours, and save time. Read on for the top technology trends of 2020 in construction.
1. Blockchain Technology
You have most likely heard of blockchain technology in the form of Bitcoin or something similar. By taking advantage of this technology, clients and contractors can be safe knowing that payment will be received and expectations are delivered.
The storage of payment with these platforms ensures no parties are left out-of-pocket, and payment is swiftly delivered upon completion of the contract.
2. Mobile and Cloud Technologies
While we are all familiar with cloud technology at home, how can it benefit our sector? Using this allows parties from all teams to collaborate in real-time, no matter where they are in the world.
Projects can be reviewed remotely and signed off, reducing waiting time and speeding the process along.
3. 3D Printing
There are few limitations to what a 3D printer can produce. Using a 3D printer onsite can reduce waiting times for tools and materials to be delivered, which can often hold up the project by days, if not weeks.
It also reduces cost, although the initial price of a 3D printer can be high, it will certainly save your budget over the years.
It can also have a positive impact on the environment. There is very little waste in the 3D printing process. Reducing the need for delivery trucks for materials can considerably reduce the carbon footprint for the project too.
4. Virtual Reality (VR) Technologies/Augmented Reality (AR)
Virtual reality provides a fully immersive experience in a computer-generated world, while AR places computer-generated images in a real-life setting.
This is no longer reserved for the gaming world, with new advancements, the technology sector is now taking full advantage.
Virtual tours can now be provided for building models, and clients and colleagues can have a first-hand experience of the finished product.
Risk assessments can also be carried out in these areas remotely, reducing commuting of team members and alleviating any risk of humans entering these areas.
5. Building Information Modelling (BIM) Technology
BIM technology is one of the most important elements to be investing in nowadays in the construction industry.
BIM allows teams to collaborate during the design process and effectively plan, modify, and manage infrastructures.
While each team has expertise in their area but may not have so in others, this can cause clashes during the design process that may not be picked up until further down the line. BIM detects clashes and can aid in problem-solving.
6. 5G and Wi-Fi 6
Every business needs a fast internet connection to communicate with clients, suppliers and team members properly.
Especially when large sets of data are often needed to be shared at speed, without this, there can often be considerable delays with the added headache of trying to find a fast connection.
The installation of fixed lines can be both costly and lead to lost time awaiting installation. 5G and wi-fi 6 provide a fast and secure network without adding extra cost and time to your site.
7. Robotics & Drones
Gone are the days when these were just for hobbyists. Drones are now being used in large numbers to deliver supplies to sites, reducing trucks on our roads, and reducing waiting time.
They can also be utilized for a quick and easy view of the full site, altering site management of any potential hazards at a glance.
Robotics is also developing more uses within construction. Bricklaying and demolition robots have now ironed out teething issues from previous years and are commonly more efficient and cheaper than their human counterpart.
8. The Internet of Things (IoT)
You may not have heard of IoT, but you are likely already using it. Smart devices, such as phones, watches, and speakers, use this technology.
Sensors are used to share data from a centrally controlled platform. Smart machinery is now using this and can easily be programmed for use in relative tasks.
The use of geolocation technology can also increase safety with alerts of those entering the worksite and their location.
9. Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML)
AI is created to mimic the behavior of a human, while ML is programmed with the ability to learn from previous experiences.
This can be programmed to detect weather patterns and locations to help improve the lifespan of a building. Clashes in plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems can be detected at the early stages of the design process, and solutions can be created.
AI can also be programmed to complete repetitive tasks, improving productivity while increasing safety. It can also monitor safety hazards by using photos and recognition technology to alert team members of dangers or if they are not using the correct PPE.
10. Big Data
Big data is exactly that, a lot of data that typically needs to be translated to turn the information into actionable results.
While a human brain could process this, it could take weeks, months, or even years to process the same information, while these programs could do so in a matter of minutes.
Using historical data can help to avoid pitfalls and lead a project towards success. Tracking weather patterns and traffic can determine the best time to begin construction in the area.
Big data can also track previous projects and can calculate any previous over-ordering to reduce this next time, saving on costs.
With all these technologies now able to cater to the needs of construction, it is exciting to see what 2020 will bring to the industry and what we can expect in the future.
Krystal Spicer is the Digital Marketing Manager of UK Connect, the UK’s leading communications provider to the construction industry. With their unrivalled technology, they provide solutions, tools and applications to improve the way you communicate, collaborate and work.