IT Leaders Predict Greatest Gains in 2016 Construction Technology

Leaders of information technology vendors to construction identify the hot trends that will help contractors manage more work with less skilled labor in 2016 and beyond

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Associated Builders & Constructors’ Construction Executive magazine asked a panel of 13 IT-vendor leaders in the construction field to predict where construction technology will gain the most ground in helping contractors manage more work with less skilled labor in 2016 and beyond. Here’s an excerpt of what they had to say.  


“There are many applications, including collecting aerial images, maps, 2-D and 3-D models, and other valuable data,” says Mark Liss, president of Explorer Software.

Wearable technology

“We expect more intelligence from technology and guidance in showing how to best perform work,” says Steve Cowan, president of Jonas Construction Software, who thinks using wearable devices to track activities will increase productivity. “People will expect their activities to be tracked and leveraged to work better and smarter.”

Bring your own device

Cowan predicts a more individualized BYOD (bring your own device) experience. “As workers individualize technology and blend personal and work lives, they will pick their own technology and expect employers to accept their individual choices and devices,” he says. “Every employee will be more productive because they will be using software that is more individualized to how they work.”

Mobile apps

Liss sees high demand for information to be pushed to and from the jobsite in real time. “Faster, more durable mobile devices will lead to the continued adoption of mobile apps that allow users to capture and transmit information directly from the jobsite to the back office.”


Bassem Hamdy, Procore’s executive vice president of enterprise strategy, wants walls between internal and external stakeholders to disappear. “Processes, data, communication and collaboration will flow across teams to ensure a 360-degree view of projects versus a myopic understanding of departmental objectives. This will help streamline company processes, enabling companies to build better and faster.”

At the same time, owners will demand more transparency from contractors to stem the tide of project overruns. According to Brad Barth, chief product officer for InEight, “Owners will accelerate the movement toward shared risk scenarios with full visibility into estimating assumptions and jobsite activity at a much more detailed level, driving the need for systems that can facilitate cross-stakeholder collaboration.”

Cloud systems and security

“Contractors are enjoying the benefits of working on the cloud, but so far are less likely to take their estimating and accounting there,” says Fred Ode, CEO and chairman of Foundation Software. “As cloud security advances, and contractors learn more about cloud solutions and security, there will be more conversation about best practices and protocols and better encryption technology.”

Cathy Terwilliger, COINS’ marketing director, expects cost to drive cloud adoption. “With increasing amounts of data and access devices, companies will continue to look for ways to reduce onsite IT overhead. The cloud allows flexibility to adapt to changing business needs.”

Building information modeling

“As technology vendors leverage BIM data throughout the project life cycle for things like visual estimating, more project owners will require BIM in the United States,” says Barth. “BIM will cross the threshold from a minority of projects to the majority of projects within the next three to five years.”

Dawkins adds, “Owners see the value in paying for virtual design as contractors increasingly differentiate themselves with these offerings.”

Terwilliger predicts a convergence of BIM and enterprise resource planning (ERP). “As information in modeling grows, the overlap of digital information stored in the ERP and the model is increasing. To maintain efficiency and reduce duplication, companies need to rethink process and how to manage the information, looking for systems that integrate the shared data.”

Augmented reality

“Augmented reality (AR) technologies will become popular,” adds Liss, “as they can make BIM modelling more accessible to all users and help drive adoption of BIM. AR can show stakeholders a 3-D BIM model of a design in front of the actual site or on a 2-D set of plans.”

Business intelligence/big data

“The explosion in the sources of field data—from drones to mobile apps to augmented reality feedback—will have repercussions on the software platforms being developed and deployed for project and business management,” John Chaney, CEO of Dexter + Chaney says. “Platforms that better enable integration of data from multiple sources and multiple remote locations will serve up more relevant, timely intelligence to managers, enabling faster, better decision-making.

“Look for improvement in the utility of business intelligence across the spectrum of company and project sizes,” Chaney adds. “The traditional static reporting of software systems will be replaced by flexible, user-definable reports that can be used to start a flow of work in an organization. All data, from small to big, will become more valuable.”

(Construction Executive’s complete 2016 technology forecast . . . )