Connected cities: The boost in the construction industry

Digitisation has affected every industry in recent years, including the construction sector. Interconnectivity and data have become mainstays in business – and now this technology is starting to make an impact in our built environment through connected cities. Smart cities that are built around integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) are going to create some big waves in construction – and could deliver a big boost for the industry as a whole.

A rise in new work

One of the main reasons for the boost to construction that is coming from connected cities is the increase in new projects that are going to be required to make this happen. As more urban locations start adopting a rising volume of smart infrastructure, there will be many more opportunities for construction businesses to get involved in making this happen. Global smart city spending is already forecast to tip $124 billion this year – and that figure will only rise in the coming months.

The merging of construction and tech

Connected cities require a combination of construction and tech that could generate some big shifts across the construction industry in the years to come. Traditional business models could be replaced by enterprises that are more like tech companies, with a combination of construction expertise and experience and computer science delivering a much more agile approach to progress. Businesses will need to have both architectural and IoT experts to be able to deliver for clients who have a completely new perspective on what it means for infrastructure to be functional.

An increase in collaboration

Given the way in which the industry is going to change in the coming years, it’s no surprise that collaboration is also going to be one of the consequences of the rise of connected cities. One area where this is likely to be especially obvious is when it comes to data. For many construction businesses, there is little data expertise already at work internally and it will be almost impossible to change this overnight. As a result, we are going to see an increase in collaboration between building businesses and data scientists so that data-gathering and analysis technology can be better integrated for the benefit of clients. Urban development also requires the input of those who use it and so connected cities could also see a lot more collaboration between construction businesses and the public.

Change is happening now

We are already seeing a shift towards more connected cities, in part being driven by ongoing growing populations – in the past 10 years the urban population has increased by 40%. There is an enthusiasm for getting these projects underway in order to create better lives and opportunities. Construction businesses are also starting to see the benefits of connected cities on their own operations – for example, AI-based traffic systems can help to considerably reduce travel times to and from sites.

Connected cities are coming – and have the potential to give the construction sector a big boost, whether that’s financially or in terms of new ways of working from now on.

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