How Tech Is Transforming the Construction Industry in 2019

Investing in digital transformation now keeps contractors ahead of the industry curve, increases safety and offers new business opportunities.
May 9, 2019

The immediate applications and benefits of Industrial Internet of Things technologies are obvious in industries like manufacturing and computing, but these digital transformation technologies may not be top of mind for construction managers.

It’s time for that mindset to change. Worldwide spending on IIoT is expected to reach nearly $2 trillion in 2022, proving that these technologies hold a significant amount of value to the industries using them. That rings especially true in construction, where IIoT stands to bolster an already significant commitment to safety and communication. Construction managers should keep these technologies firmly on the radar when making investments in 2019.

Smart equipment

With sensors and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, even legacy construction equipment can become part of a construction company’s IIoT fleet. The data collected from these machines provides construction managers with a wealth of knowledge around downtime, safety, labor, efficiency and more.

Additionally, the next era of smart construction equipment will feature more autonomous vehicles and automatic equipment shutdown, both of which promote worker safety. Autonomous vehicles, which self-correct based on feedback and environmental factors, also free up human engineers to move from maintenance tasks into more complex roles that leverage the feedback data reported by IIoT machinery.

Connected jobsites

While construction jobsites will benefit from the sensor data mentioned above, telematics is also soaring to new heights in 2019. For example, when installed in vehicles, telematics solutions record driving speed and braking, improving driver safety and behavior. Employees who are monitored on connected jobsites also are more likely to adhere to strict schedules and focus on safe operating behaviors.

Connected jobsites not only help improve human behavior, but the lifespan of machinery as well. By monitoring tire pressure, engine health and battery life in real time, construction managers can predict and schedule maintenance during quiet periods instead of experiencing breakdowns during busy times.

The long-term cost savings can be dramatic, but IIoT technologies also stand to increase profit for construction companies. Access to analytics allows for more accurate quoting instead of using flat fees or a targeted estimate. A construction manager who knows the true productivity of his or her equipment and jobsites can make more accurate quotes, gain trust and earn new business.


While still in its infancy, new virtual reality technology is opening the door to better, safer and more efficient training for construction employees. Workers gain experience without risk in real-life scenarios, and spend more time on the job than in a classroom.

Digital transformation also means fewer workers will be needed to perform the jobs of the future. One person can be trained to monitor and manage equipment in a central location instead of sending multiple workers out to various jobsites. That scenario also translates to fewer workers who need to be trained.

However, a new kind of training will need to take place: educating managers and workers on the benefits of IIoT and digital transformation. These groups may be set in their ways and unaccustomed to the idea of a machine doing the thinking for them. But if they truly understand the pros of new technology from a safety and efficiency standpoint, they can help usher in real change. Don’t expect this kind of transformation overnight; but in the meantime, be sure to identify thought leaders on the crew who can lead the charge and answer questions.

As with any new technology, construction managers should start their IIoT initiatives with small, test-case applications and iterate based on learnings. By investing in digital transformation now, construction managers are giving their companies the best chance to stay ahead of the industry curve, increase safety and take on new opportunities for their businesses and employees.

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