Construction has long been a laggard when it comes to the deployment of digital technologies. Although there’s a growing recognition of the need for new innovations to make the sector more productive and cost-effective, many firms are still only just getting started on their journeys.
For example, 2020 research by IDC and Autodesk found that while 72% of construction firms globally say digitalisation is a key priority to improve their processes, business models and ecosystems, only 13% are well on their way to achieving this, with almost 60% still at the earliest stages.
What digital tools do construction firms need?
Some digital tools have been in place for a while. For instance, the IDC/Autodesk study noted the UK is a world leader in solutions such as building information modelling (BIM), which has been compulsory in the public sector since 2016.
It also found that data-driven design and forecasting are among the most common technology solutions now used by construction firms, while key trends for the coming years included greater use of Internet of Things technologies and even drones for surveying, inspection and communication.
In the coming years, a range of new technologies are set to be introduced to the construction industry. For example, automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions are all set to be deployed across many building sites. These will be used to monitor the performance of assets, reduce downtime and provide detailed real-time information that can be used to boost productivity.
The importance of strong communication tools must also not be overlooked. With many projects now involving multiple or complex sites, its vital employees can keep in touch with colleagues, contractors and other stakeholders at all times. These individuals will also need instant access to data, so sharing tools will also be important.
The right platform to support these trends
None of this can be achieved without fast, reliable data connectivity services, both in the office and at sites themselves. Indeed, on-site communications will be increasingly critical as firms rely heavily on digital project management systems to streamline their operations.
This can be achieved with 4G or even 5G mobile systems in order to provide firms with the solutions they need. However, for many projects, broadband delivered via next-generation Wi-Fi solutions will be the way forward to maintain constant connectivity.
Construction firms with these tools won’t just have easier access to cloud-based software tools like BIM systems. It will also be essential for supporting services such as VoIP Cloud Telephony systems and videoconferencing.
Such services will be highly useful to construction firms as they can be easily scaled up and down as required. This will be vital as any delays in getting up and running can be highly disruptive and costly.
The benefits of having the right platform for the next generation of technology tools are clear. According to a study by Causeway, 54 per cent of companies that have adopted integrated digital practices saw an increase in workforce productivity, while 56 per cent reduced operating costs and 43 per cent reported an improved business win rate.
Therefore, if firms aren’t investing in technology tools, they’ll quickly be left behind.
If you want to know how construction firms can deploy communications and connectivity technologies as the backbone of their digital transformations, get in touch with one of Arrow’s expert advisors today.