New Construction Tracking Tech & Virtual Reality Wearable Apps Announced at AGC IT Forum
“If this doesn’t get you excited about the future of construction technology, you may be dead inside,” quipped James Benham. As a professional speaker, entrepreneur, self-proclaimed geek and CEO of JBKnowledge, James has been invited to deliver the keynote presentation at the annual AGC IT Forum for four years in a row. The 2015 conference yet again left attendees with a list of construction technology solutions to implement and a list of strategy items to reevaluate.
Benham’s keynote presentation also revealed the results of the 2015 Construction Technology Survey, powered by his company JBKnowledge, in partnership with the Construction Financial Management Association, Texas A&M University’s Construction Science Department, and HCSS Construction Software. Every year the survey is conducted and the results published in a downloadable report at jbknowledge.com/report.
Over 2,000 construction professionals participated in the 2015 survey and the results showed both surprising and expected statistics on technology adoption, budgeting and staffing at construction companies. For the second year in a row, the survey showed that the construction industry is still allocating, on average, less than 1% of revenue to IT budgets. When it comes to technology, construction is still under spending other industries by 75%. The survey also showed that IT spending and staffing
is determined by the number and size of upcoming projects. “There is a fundamental problem in the way construction approaches technology. We’re still reacting to IT needs instead of planning for them,” stated Benham.
The survey did show a few progressive companies trying to pave the way towards a new approach to technology. “32% of companies surveyed have a research and development department and/or budget for IT,” noted Benham. Among the builders who participated in the survey, drones and 3D scanners were among the top emerging technologies in use. Wearables saw the lowest adoption rates among emerging technologies but grew in use significantly from last year’s number.
After presenting the results of the survey, Benham went on to discuss the technologies available to builders, how companies are investigating them, and why attendees should employ the solutions in their building operations. “Become a tinkerer,” Benham urged as he introduced attendees to 3D Scanners such as Structure Sensor, advanced drone systems like Skycatch, and wearable headsets such as Microsoft® HoloLens. “These will be common technologies on the jobsites of the future – make sure you’re prepared by investigating them now.”
Benham also introduced his company’s research & development department, JBKLabs, and their latest projects in mobile, wearable and augmented reality solutions for construction. The first project, Buildstream, a mobile solution for tracking job site environmental conditions, project progress and worker locations is currently deployed on several undisclosed construction sites for beta testing. The second project, SmartReality VR, a virtual reality branch of the SmartReality augmented reality mobile app, now has apps available for visualizing construction projects via Project Tango™, Samsung Gear™ and Oculus® Rift DK2.
“The future is now,” Benham said, “and the pace of change is accelerating. It’s time for our industry to lead the way on tech adoption and show the whole world what can be done with progressive, proactive planning, budgeting, research and development.”
To learn more about JBKnowledge and their R&D projects for construction technology, visit http://jbkt.wpengine.com/labs
About JBKnowledge, Inc
JBKnowledge develops web, mobile and wearable technology solutions for construction and insurance. JBKnowledge is the maker of the SmartBidNet commercial construction bid software, SmartCompliance certificate of insurance and compliance management software, SmartReality augmented reality mobile app for construction project visualization, and the SmartInsight online construction network for searching, selecting and verifying contractors. JBKnowledge is based in Bryan/College Station, TX and serves construction clients on an international basis. Learn more at jbknowledge.com.