2021: The year Technology revolutionises Commercial Construction
In the upheaval and disruption of 2020 – and the focus on surviving the COVID-19 pandemic, for both individuals and organisations – it was easy to forget that other things were still happening. Although lockdowns triggered economic shutdown for long periods of time industries such as commercial construction continued to evolve. Technology came to play an even more central role in our lives last year thanks to the need created by the pandemic as well as the momentum that was already in motion. As a result, 2021 is going to be a year of change with the potential for technology to revolutionise many parts of the industry in a range of different ways. These are just some of the emerging and existing tech solutions that are going to change the way construction works this year.
- Integrating the Internet of Things to achieve greener construction. As we increasingly see businesses in the construction sector held to account for not meeting environmental targets, the Internet of Things provides a simple solution. This is essentially an infrastructure of sensors and smart devices that share data and which are all controlled from a single, central location. Integrating the Internet of Things can allow control of equipment and automation of repetitive tasks. In an environmental context it has many uses, for example it can be used to switch off equipment and appliances when not in use, to reduce emissions and monitor skip levels to avoid wastage.
- 5G and Wi-Fi 6. There is huge potential for transforming on-site operations thanks to the improved performance available for 5G and Wi-Fi 6. From reduced congestion to higher speeds and more advanced traffic handling there are many benefits to upgrading. This will not only support more effective communication and sharing but also be a key part of the drive towards BIM solutions and greater use of automation in construction in the year to come.
- Upgrading site safety. Technology is essential when it comes to revolutionising safety in construction. Already it has been used in response to the pandemic to introduce remote induction and non-biometric sign-in with better broadband enabling staff to work from different locations, whether remote or on-site. Beacons and sensors combined with low frequency wireless are providing more information about the reality of safety hazards while AI-backed PPE detection systems give insight into those staff who don’t follow the rules, COVID-19 or otherwise.
- Digital adoption in construction. In previous years construction has been slow to jump on the digital bandwagon but the pandemic pushed this to the top of the agenda. Now, the advantages of increased digital adoption are obvious, not just when it comes to adapting to whatever COVID-19 delivers next. With more efficient business solutions that provide a business boost, which will quickly positively affect the bottom line and improve ROI, the industry has a lot to benefit from investing in greater digital adoption now that it is available.
2021 is going to be a big year for commercial construction and technology has a fundamental role to play in making change happen.