JBKnowledge recently published their 5th Annual Construction Technology Report (2016). Based on a survey with more than 2,600 construction professionals participating, the report provides insight into the technology usage of Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) companies. We summed up their main findings for you:
Overall, the research team at JBKnowledge found out that despite small advancements, AEC companies still lag behind in using innovative and efficient IT solutions. AEC professionals often fall back upon manual processes and spreadsheet use, and 70% of companies invested only 1% or less of their annual sales volume in IT.
However, the report also outlines promising software solutions for AEC and stresses the opportunities emerging from new technologies, such as 360° image-based progress documentation.
IT budget and staff
- While in 2015 45% of companies spent only 1% or less of their annual sales volume in IT, this number grew dramatically to more than 70% in 2016. Only companies with an annual sales volume of over $200 million spent more than half a million per year on IT.
- The lack of focus on IT became also apparent with respect to IT staff since only bigger companies established dedicated IT departments. Smaller companies have only a few single IT workers spread over the company.
Used software and applications
- The use of cloud technologies has increased during the last year. However, professionals’ knowledge on how to ensure their security still lags behind.
- Moreover, mobile applications gained more importance, especially for field data collection (e.g. taking pictures of job sites) and project management. Although the number of employed software applications decreased during the last five years in favor of integrated solutions, the use of software solutions did not change and an astonishingly high number of professionals predominantly refers to manual processes and spreadsheets. For instance, the majority of participants still manually reports daily changes of job sites, which is a time-consuming activity. In most companies, especially smaller ones, BIM and VDC are only used for bigger projects since only few professionals have the necessary knowledge to use these systems, indicating that the values of these applications is still underestimated.
360° image technology — the future of construction site documentation?
- Despite the general reluctance to embrace new technologies, nearly 80% of the surveyed professionals stated to be rather comfortable with new technologies like 360° image technology, indicating that the main problem remains budget approval. Hence, almost 60% of construction companies do not invest in new technologies.
- However, 7% of companies stated that they are trying 360° photo/video solutions as well as virtual or augmented technologies, marking their increasing influence. The report also emphasizes the benefits of 360° photo solutions for digital job walks due to their possibilities for collaboration and up-to-date imagery.
- HoloBuilder is named as an especially easy-to-use software, which even allows tech novices to use the application effortlessly. This advantage is particularly important as employee hesitance and lack of IT experience still rank among the most limiting factors in adopting new technologies after budget and lack of IT staff. Try HoloBuilder for yourself here.
In conclusion, JBKnowledge’s 5th Annual Construction Technology Report points out that construction companies still do not exploit their full potential regarding efficient IT solutions which could enhance their performance significantly. They encourage construction professionals to embrace the new possibilities offered by innovative applications such as 360° job walks. We agree that carefully designed IT solutions can take over tasks construction professionals currently do manually, e.g., easily documenting construction scenes as can be done with HoloBuilder.com.
- The 2016 JBKnowledge Construction Technology Report has been created in cooperation with the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), and the Texas A&M University
- Participants: The distribution of the sample was quite heterogeneous, asking professionals from many different industries (mainly commercial, residential, and industrial), company types (mainly contractors and subcontractors), company sizes (from 1 to +1000 employees), and annual sales volume (between less than $1 million and $500+ million). Most of the participants worked as executive, accountant, or estimator; however, several other roles were represented as well. Less than 20% performed an IT role in their company, yet 34% claimed they unofficially take over IT tasks.