Construction tech in 2018: where to next?

“Gone are the days when the construction industry can ignore the burgeoning set of technology solutions across the asset life cycle. We expect investment, competition, and consolidation to continue to accelerate as use cases and start-ups serving the industry proliferate.”

So concludes McKinsey & Company’s 2018 report on the status quo of construction technology. The report, Seizing opportunity in today’s construction technology ecosystem, offers new analysis of the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) technology landscape now, and predicts where it needs to go in future.

The report is based on extensive research of more than 2,400 tech solutions companies across the entire asset life cycle (concept and feasibility, design and engineering, preconstruction, construction, and operations and maintenance).

Report highlights

We’ve summarised some of the report’s key findings for you here.

Investment in construction technology is growing – fast

In 2017, McKinsey & Company reported that construction technology companies had attracted $10 billion in investment between 2011 and early 2017. Their updated figures show that investments are accelerating. In fact, they’ve doubled in the past decade:

“Between 2008 and 2012, construction technology received $9 billion in cumulative investment. Between 2013 and February 2018, that number doubled to $18 billion, largely driven by mergers and acquisitions.”

The construction phase is attracting the most investment

While preconstruction and construction back-office phases of the asset life cycle are garnering large investments, the construction phase leads the ecosystem with “both the highest number of use cases and the highest number of transactions”. Virtual learning, 3D printing, design simulation, machine learning and deep learning technologies are also gaining momentum: “the number of companies founded in this space over the past five years exceeds any other category”.

Fragmentation remains a problem

Fragmented approaches to tech solutions is still a problem. Most companies are engaging solutions that address “a very specific, narrow application, rather than more integrated solutions”.

This fragmentation is one of the biggest challenges we’ve heard from companies that want to engage with technology solutions. Many are older, venerable companies using legacy systems and various information-collection methods.

“For these companies, integration may sound more like it’s yet another solution to layer in on the top of all the other processes and solutions on hand—when in fact, technology can be used to cut down on the number of solutions and methods being used.”

The report goes on to note that tech providers should find ways to evolve towards integrated solutions that cover multiple use cases (such as on-site execution, digital collaboration and back-office integration).

Tech providers need to listen to user needs

Another pertinent point is that tech start-ups should be listening carefully to the needs of AEC firms and adapting their products accordingly – especially if start-up teams aren’t native to the AEC industry. Rather than thinking up a novel idea and searching for an application in industry, solutions should always be developed in response to real problems. Focus on “validated customer needs” because “in this fragmented landscape, it is imperative to validate the real need (versus a ‘nice-to-have’ application)”.

Where does siteoffice.mobi fit in?

As a tech company that’s created a tailored solution for the construction phase, siteoffice.mobi is part of the fastest-growing and most heavily invested area of today’s construction technology ecosystem. We are also one of a very small number of start-ups whose products address on-site execution, digital collaboration and back-office integration simultaneously.

Our cloud-based, real-time construction management solution includes:

  • daily operational performance tracking
  • live cost tracking and forecasting
  • document management
  • quality control applications
  • contract management
  • safety and environment monitoring.

Siteoffice.mobi’s software streamlines all of these elements in one comprehensive system, giving management teams the oversight they need to increase efficiency, optimise safety and improve their bottom line.

Our products have been developed by a team of builders, engineers and software developers who have genuine insight into the most pressing problems facing AEC today. We understand the importance of offering an integrated solution that’s simple, efficient and sustainable, and our experienced construction engineers have helped implement our software with Australian construction companies on major civil engineering and building projects.

Get in touch with us to find out more.