Construction Technology Forecast

Construction Technology Forecast

Known for his outgoing personality, passion for technology and in-depth knowledge of the construction industry, James Benham of JBKnowledge, Inc. was the second keynote speaker of this year’s AGC IT Forum.  Although he spoke on the same topic as he did last year, the technology that currently lay in front of him had a vastly different appearance.  From iPads to drones and mobile applications to augmented reality glasses, the audience sat on the edges of their respected seats waiting to hear all about the topic of Construction Technology Forecast:  Harnessing Integration, Mobile, Sensors and Augmented Reality.

Benham opened his chat by joking, “I got into construction decades ago because you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist, only to find out that now you have to be a rocket scientist to be in construction”.  Judging by the recent acceleration of technology within the industry, truer blue-collared words have not been uttered.  For decades, the built environment has notoriously refused to adapt to new technology, often resting their cases and on their laurels upon such masterpieces as the Empire State Building and Hoover Dam. 

If today's world wonders weren’t even built with computers, why start now?

Churchill once concluded, “to improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.”  In today’s economy, the only difference between successful companies and unsuccessful companies is the ability to adapt to an ever-evolving world; effectively leveraging latest technologies to a company’s DNA to create a product that is better, cheaper, faster and smarter than the competition.

As an industry, we find ourselves with the desire for new technology, the resources to acquire it and the willingness to integrate, however, we often don’t know how to take the first step.  Thankfully for us, we have the AGC and James Benham to help sort through all the latest high-tech gizmos, enabling us to determine our best foot forward.  Here are some of the topics/tech the AGC showcased:

  1. Cheap Sensor Hardware (Leap Motion, SoftKinetic, Structure Sensor)
  2. Think Microsoft:  cloud, services and hardware
  3. The Internet of Things Has Arrived (OnStar, If This Then That (IFTTT), Control4, SmartThings)
  4. Google (Google Genie, Project Tango, Google Nest)
  5. Mobile Jobsite Computing Became Easier (smWilson)
  6. The Cloud (Public, Private, Hybrid)
  7. Augmented Reality (SmartReality)
  8. Mixed Reality (Oculus Rift)
  9. Drones (DJI Phantom)
  10. Virtual Glasses (Moverio, Google Glass)
  11. Others (SignalR,, 3D Printers, SmartBid, SmartCompliance)

The root question, according to James Benham, is this: if we all had the same bid list, what would be left for us to compete?  What would separate us?  Technological advancement is the only key to competitive edge and subsequent growth. 

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