Brian Antonsen is McKinstry’s vice president of Washington mechanical construction.
To thrive in today’s digital world, the construction industry must think differently and recognize transformative opportunities to create value through emerging technologies.
The construction industry, like so many others, is contemplating how to best integrate the latest technologies while redefining what it means to be “connected” on the jobsite. To understand this, we must start by looking at what’s driving technology across all personal and professional applications — wider integration of wireless communications (including both Wi-Fi and cellular), the next generation of cellular technology (5G) and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. Futurists and industry visionaries are all saying the same thing, “5G and IoT will radically transform our lives.”
Using this context, we can now take that same technology landscape and bring it down to the construction level. Recently, there’s been a big push to adopt jobsite technology — particularly drones and machine learning. Most of it requires sensors to communicate with other systems in the network, function properly, deliver accurate data and carry out their operations.
The opportunities created by this kind of technology will shape where the construction industry is going. Imagine having access to real-time insights tracking project schedules, milestones and budgets. As construction projects become increasingly connected, contractors will be able to harness the data available from sensor-rich construction sites and use it to perform big data analytics and machine learning — allowing them to analyze and optimize a construction jobsite.
This reality is a lot closer than you might think. Believe it or not, this sort of intel, enabled by connected jobsite technology, will be at our fingertips within the next three to five years.