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Three takeaways from World of Concrete 2019

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For three days in January, thousands of people across the globe descended on Las Vegas for the annual World of Concrete 2019 (WOC) event, representing the construction, concrete and masonry industries. I had the chance to represent Teletrac Navman and roam the large exhibition floor, taking a look at the latest innovations and discussing top industry trends with peers. Here are my top takeaways from the WOC event: 

Data-Driven Construction / Digital Transformation
One of the biggest trends I saw permeating the entire event was the concept of “data-driven construction.” Digital Transformation is a buzz term which numerous industries from manufacturing to tourism have lept on. For a while, the construction industry has lagged behind these other industries in adopting and adapting technology, but it’s clear that construction is making big jumps and forging ahead. Based on what I saw from the technology vendors and exhibitors and technological innovations from OEM manufacturers, the industry is clearly interested in connecting the entire job site with Internet of Things (IoT) and telematics to gain real-time insights with data. 

As companies and managers become more savvy with data generated from telematics or equipment management software throughout their organizations, they’re looking to create even more opportunities to connect job sites for optimal insights. A great example of this is through conversations I had with industry peers about tool and equipment tracking, monitoring things like heavy machinery and construction equipment to small tools like hammers. In many of my conversations, managers expressed interest in viewing ALL equipment in one system or screen to make it easier to determine productivity and utilization and course-correct in real-time to improve overall processes. 

Attracting new talent 
It’s no secret the construction industry faces a serious talent shortage. As the average age of the workforce increases, companies of all sizes are worried about attracting and retaining the next generation of workers. With industry leaders gathered in one place, the conversation continued. 

I’ve written on this trend in the past, offering advice for companies looking to find new talent, and I anticipate that adopting new technology to improve processes and efficiency will make construction roles more attractive. One look around the exhibition floor at WOC shows that the entire industry is buzzing with new technology like 3D BIM (Building Information Modeling) software, 3D concrete printing, GPS vehicle tracking and advanced analytics. I predict the dramatic increase in data that organizations are generating and the need for people to interpret it all will lead to new data science jobs in construction that interest the next generation. 

Increasing productivity
Another key takeaway was the focus on increasing and improving productivity in all aspects of construction projects. During the event, productivity came up in many conversations with leaders concerned about rising prices and increasing demand for output. There’s a strong desire from managers and leaders to improve productivity throughout their entire organizations, from dealing with equipment hoarding to communication workflow and real-time information on equipment location, utilization and maintenance. We’ll likely see this challenge continue throughout 2019, but I anticipate companies will take more concrete (no pun intended!) steps to digitize and bring all disparate, paper-based systems together in one location.

All in all, WOC was a great opportunity to hear from construction managers on what’s working, what’s not and how they plan to use technology to address pain points moving forward. It’ll be exciting to see how emerging technologies will help construction companies address key industry challenges like improving productivity and attracting a new generation of talent in 2019 and beyond. 

To learn more about Teletrac Navman job site management solutions, please visit: Construction Site Management Software


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