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The Construction sector

The construction industry employs about 7% of the world's working-age population and although many people think that robots will take away their work, masons should not be worried at this time.

In 2017, McKinsey Global Institute published a surprising report: labour productivity in construction has decreased by 50% since 1970. In addition, McKinsey believes that productivity in construction has registered zero increases in recent years. While other industries have been transformed, construction has stalled. The effect is that, when adjusting to inflation, a building today costs twice as much as 40 years ago.

And although the construction industry is a growing market, there are still some problems in which you must work to improve. The main problems facing the construction industry in 2019 are:

  • Shortage of skilled labour
  • Rates have raised the price of steel, aluminium, wood and other materials.
  • Growth is slowing
  • Productivity and profitability.
  • Low performance projects.
  • Sustainability
  • Security problems
  • Consistent use of technology.

The construction sector has been positive for four years, mainly due to the recovery of residential construction. After the precedent of the past decade, a scenario is established in which 2020 still remains in the positive zone (3.5%) but 2021 no longer (-3%).

The adoption of IoT in Construction

The construction industry is notoriously slow in adopting technologies such as the IoT that could boost productivity and, ultimately, profitability.

And although it is believed that construction companies that adopt this technology would also attract new labor groups to work for them over others and, in general, have a significant advantage over competitors, the reality is that it is not happening.

That the construction sector is in the tail in the digital transformation is evidenced in the report 'Global Survey of Construction and Engineering', prepared by EY. The general vision insists on a reality: construction and engineering companies see the need for change, but in one way or another they resist.

One of the great characteristics of the construction sector is its enormous capacity to reinvent itself. The integration of technological trends such as the internet of things, will facilitate many of the tasks of the sector, optimizing resources, improving compliance with deadlines and quality in projects and works. To obtain a competitive advantage over other companies in the sector, it is necessary to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the IoT and recognize the changes that are taking place in the sector.

The opportunity of IoT in Construction

The appetite of investors for startups in the Construction sector is growing, although not many are in the IoT box. There are still few examples of companies in the sector that are adopting the Internet of Things. And although I have no doubt that the IoT will positively affect this industry none of the productivity, maintenance, security and safety drivers seems to convince them at the moment.

The four areas of innovation with IoT in Construction are:

  1. Machine control
  2. Construction site monitoring for
  • Anchor load monitoring from installation.
  • Control of the deformation of the ground during the construction of the tunnel.
  • Monitoring changes in pore water pressure during soil consolidation
  • Monitoring of the settlement process during the soil recovery works.
  1. Fleet management
  2. Wearables

Some practical examples of IoT in Construction:

  • Remote operation
  • Replenishment of supplies
  • Equipment construction and monitoring tools.
  • Maintenance and repair of equipment.
  • Remote use monitoring
  • Energy and fuel savings

Key takeaways

The Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging technologies can improve productivity, reduce costs and security in the construction industry.

Construction companies, real estate and engineering firms should continue their investments in IoT.

They should not fall back into the same mistakes of the time and should not fear the loss of jobs due to the new technologies like IoT or Artificial Intelligence. The adoption of IoT is unlikely to replace the human element in construction. Instead, it will modify business models in the industry, reduce costly mistakes, reduce injuries in the workplace and make construction operations more efficient.

The Smart Construction is key to build Smart Cities and key element in Smart Building, Smart Transportation or Smart Healthcare. The limits of using IoT in Construction is our imagination.


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