The way things are progressing in the industry, the future of construction work is sure to include digital management tools like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), wearable technology, and other tools that allow workers to be more intentional with their time and resources.
As technology becomes more prevalent in our lives, it’s only right that it should be leveraged to augment a person’s ability to get their job done faster. Rather than being a threat, technology is becoming a partner. Tech innovation isn’t anything new, and it does not have to totally change all your processes at once. The best change management takes place a step at a time.
AR and VR allow people to be more intentional by enabling them to do two things at once. You’re going to be on the jobsite anyway; why not collect information that helps you streamline your communications on the job between the field and the office?
If you’re as busy as many people in the industry are, implementing tools to help you save a little time here and there might give you some much needed breathing room. It could be an hour a week; it could add up to be five hours a week. The time you save may give you the opportunity to reflect on the job and figure out what you might do differently next time with process improvements. We can all identify with the “too busy” mentality, but that could be changed by carving out time to strategically think about more efficient processes. If you can identify and address things that annoy and slow people down, you could see improvements quickly. Stumbling blocks can compound each other.
As the industry digitizes, we get more efficient. It may start with small changes, and when all those small changes are added together, they can have big impact on the industry. Time is a nonrenewable resource, and we get a limited amount of it to begin with. So anything that technology can do to reduce wasted time is going to have a major impact, even on those individual end users who might not see the big project picture.
Some of the stumbling blocks have been with the construction industry for 40 or 50 years or longer. Because of that, there may be a tendency to assume that there’s not a digital solution. However, with new technology being developed every day, your life will be impacted, whether you use it or not.
Virtual design and construction (VDC), as an example, positively impacts companies that have embraced it. The VDC department finds ways to apply technology to improve project delivery and work efficiency. It enables management to take time for reviewing outcomes and figuring out how to improve the next job.
Wearable technology can be another time saver on a job site. That might include helmet tags, a holstered iPad with a camera, mixed reality smartglasses, or a HoloLens hardhat. Digital equipment is fast becoming a requirement for doing business.
Tune in to episode 108 of the Bridging the Gap podcast, where Adrian Hatch discusses the rise of digital tools for reducing wasted time.