By Bill Kloster, CIO, SEH
Construction firms are looking to technology to solve client needs that require new approaches as competition becomes fierce in their expanding and transforming marketplace. The increasing trend of individuals migrating to megacities will require more sustainable and efficient infrastructure. Higher standards for sustainable living will increase consumption of renewable energy and the demand for clean water. The development of smart cities is a transformational example of how construction and engineering firms are leveraging technology to provide client value.
Here are the top five Information Technology trends that will enable construction and engineering firms to provide client value.
1. Big data storage designed to enable collaboration
Construction firms rely on large amounts of data in the form of graphics files. According the EMC’s Digital Universe Study, there is a forty percent annual projected growth rate in global data.
Large files can take a long time to load without a large network pipe and a method to cache or compress large data files. Firms are looking to cloud-hosting providers and data compression devices to improve the ability to share large amounts of data across multiple locations.
2. Cyber Security and reliable data backups
The ability to secure sensitive information and intellectual property is increasingly more important.
IBM estimates that every business experiences a cyber attack 46 times every single day and that an average of 1.7 per week are successful. Ninety-five percent of those successful attacks are caused by an individual responding to a malicious e-mail or visiting a malicious website. The need for a solid security awareness program and reliable backup to restore data is paramount in the fight against cyber crime.
3. Mobile technology for anytime, anywhere access to information
Employees at construction firms spend the majority of their time away from the office. They are meeting with clients and visiting project sites daily. The emergence of mobile forms is allowing firms to go paperless in the field. The integration of mobile applications with enterprise data creates enhanced real-time collaboration opportunities.
4. 3D Scanning and 3D Images
Creating a model within minutes is a reality with 3D scanning.
This new technology improves the efficiency and accuracy in estimating, modeling, and surveying. Images are a powerful sales tool. The use of 3D images provides a more realistic view of the finished product to clients.
5. Understanding the value of IT as a business partner
Numerous studies have confirmed the evolving nature of the CIO role. The realization that technology enables business value through partnership in decision making on corporate strategy is critical to the success of most firms. Engineers are finding that technology can make them more effective. They are working with IT peers to select products that benefit the entire firm. The increase in Chief Information Officer roles on corporate leadership teams emphasizes the understanding that information technology plays an important role in the success of construction firms.
Global population growth will create opportunity for the construction industry to solve more problems using technology. Cities will look to engineering firms to develop solutions to renew energy, provide clean water and build infrastructure systems. Construction firms will take the design solutions and create the built environment. Firms provide client value through the industry expertise of their employees. Those employees will leverage technology to access vast amounts of accurate near real-time secure electronic data on any device, from any location.