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The construction industry is on the verge of complete transformation. "Internet of Things" and specialized connected technologies have unlocked new workflows and processes for construction companies. Recent research has indicated that a vast majority (89%) of business leaders believe that digital transformation will completely change the construction industry in the near future.

Despite this, 62% of construction executives still say that the sector is lagging behind other industries when adopting digital solutions. This is a direct result of business leaders failing to maximize or understand the full value of their investments. Here are three challenges construction businesses face when they adopt new technology.

Challenges business leaders face when deploying connected technologies

Recognizing operational areas that are ripe for transformation.

While digitalization has been revolutionizing processes across industries, the construction sector has procrastinated in its adoption of such solutions. A major reason for this is the lack of information business leaders have about the areas of operation that would benefit the most from introducing connected technologies. 

Even when business leaders attempt to capitalize on the trend of digital transformation and introduce new technologies, the right implementation can elude them. In a recent report by Autodesk, 36% of construction professionals cited poor integration of adopted solutions with existing practices as the most common reason digital transformation efforts in the sector fail. 

Understanding the benefits and limitations of specialized solutions.

Construction projects are complex by nature and each requires a unique approach. For the impact of connected technology to be felt across projects, business leaders must identify the right solution for widespread deployment. However, this can be a challenge for inexperienced executive teams. As a result, business leaders choose to deploy multiple applications and Internet of Things devices to meet specific business needs. This has led to more than a fifth of construction companies using three or more applications just to manage their technology stack. 

This challenge is then compounded by the availability of single solutions that can solve problems across the business, with more than half of solution providers limiting themselves to addressing a couple of use cases. Integrating these disparate technologies and pairing them with the right software can help construction teams unlock greater utility from their entire technology stack.

Following up deployment with regular monitoring and maintenance. 

Most construction businesses have rigid schedules for equipment maintenance to ensure that each piece of hardware operates at optimum performance. However, these schedules often fail to accurately reflect the state of the equipment at any given point in time. This can cause unexpected business downtime, increase production costs and stretch project timelines. Even if the equipment functions as intended, maintaining high levels of performance is critical to the project’s bottom line. Recent research revealed that a 1% drop in equipment productivity can lead to a 3% drop in project profitability.

With connected technology, the impact of poor maintenance and monitoring also has a knock-on effect on the rest of the stack since the pieces in the stack are interconnected and interdependent. 

How predictive analytics can maximize the value of construction equipment 

Organize and analyze operational data gathered from a fully integrated technology stack

 A major benefit of using connected technology is the ability to generate and collect large amounts of operational data that can be leveraged to predict operational capacity, efficiency and cost. However, despite collecting this data, construction companies can often be at a loss when deciding how to use it. This has resulted in massive amounts of data being wasted.

With the introduction of AI-based predictive analytics, business leaders can finally extract actionable insights without the need for a dedicated analytics team. Once the data from all connected Internet of Things devices are gathered, intelligent software can also plug informational gaps that exist due to legacy equipment that is still in use but unable to generate sufficient data for analysis. 

Extend the life of construction equipment by optimizing repair and replacement cycles

An industry report by JBKnowledge found that budget constraints are the most common reason construction businesses are hesitant to invest in new technologies. This is usually because the purchase of connected equipment requires a hefty upfront investment—which can prevent business leaders from acknowledging and understanding the long-term cost benefits. Predictive analytics can help these leaders to accurately predict the financial implications of such an investment. 

Even after the purchase of the connected equipment, predictive analytics software continues to provide value by helping construction teams extend the life of the equipment. This is done by customizing the repair and replacement cycle for each piece of equipment. With traditional maintenance schedules, businesses often choose between waiting for equipment to fail to replace components or to replace them on a rigid cycle without taking into account usage data and the state of the equipment at the moment. Predictive analytics can help business leaders prevent this by planning maintenance schedules based on real-time equipment use and reduce the need for unnecessary maintenance or preventable repairs. 

Minimize business downtime by predicting and responding to potential equipment failures

As with any piece of equipment, connected technology can fail. These failures can increase costs quickly as urgent procurement requests and expensive business downtime can combine to negatively impact project profitability. An hour of downtime for a single piece of construction equipment conservatively costs $350. With predictive analytics, this can be prevented since intelligent software constantly scans all connected equipment to identify points of potential failure and notifies stakeholders in the team immediately. This allows construction teams to predict equipment failure and plan maintenance during any planned idle time in the short term. 

Connected technologies are poised to completely revolutionize the way construction companies operate. As businesses continue to invest heavily in connected equipment and specialized software, the ability to optimize relevant workflows and ensure that each piece of equipment is performing at maximum efficiency can provide construction companies with a significant advantage over their competitors. With fully integrated predictive analytics software, business leaders can predict, prevent and plan for challenges and opportunities with a comprehensive and data-centric understanding of their entire operation.  

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