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In the course of a generation, the construction industry has moved from being a relatively static, paper-based sector into one that creates and disseminates huge volumes of digital data. Mobile technology will increasingly be at the heart of all industry processes. It is poised to become the platform through which people interact with that data and discern insights that help them design, develop and maintain a better built environment.

Game Changers
Construction collaboration specialists have long advocated for a whole-life approach to information, and the business case for this approach is growing stronger as more tools in the construction IT ecosystem become capable of sharing data. What were once standalone “point solutions” can now (subject to the appropriate security provisions) access and share information from a multitude of corporate back-office and project-based tools. Integration and interoperability of data help eliminate duplicate entry of information into different systems. 

In addition, mobile technology heightens interaction. In a construction company, this can range from mainly internal enterprise resource planning to customer relationship management, estimating and bid management functions. It also can enhance collaboration with clients and partners in the supply chain during design, project management, construction, future operation, maintenance and repair of the built asset.

BIM also will grow in importance, as the process helps designers, construction managers, owners and operators benefit from the open, shareable data that contributes to the whole life of an asset. Coupled with the expanded use of mobile devices and cloud-based services to stream data to those platforms, integration and interoperability will help data to be reused. Meanwhile, a mobile strategy will ensure that the right data can be reused by the right person at the right time and in the right place.

Future Technologies That Will Transform Us

Expect further innovation as the construction industry and its clients reap the opportunities of other technologies, including GPS, augmented reality, RFID, near field communication and iBeacons (locations that can be determined by triangulation in relation to mobile telecommunications transmissions).

Over time, bigger challenges will be posed by faster cellular networks; more connected mobile devices; increased integration of enterprise and project-based software; a growing reliance on BIM; and the explosion of interactive systems in and around the country’s built assets.

Technologies can now scan and interpret information to yield higher levels of intelligence and usability. Much of the data being generated resides in the cloud and is readable only by machines employing semantic intelligence due to the sheer volume of information. Successful construction companies will work with their supply chain partners and customers to extract business intelligence from their processes and from the assets they help deliver in order to add real value.

Rob Humphreys is vice president of product management at Viewpoint. For more information, visit www.viewpoint.com.

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