Digital technology in construction is kicking ass

I attended the Digital Construction show in The Design Centre, Islington last week  with one purpose and one purpose only. I wanted to dig into the following nagging question I repeatedly have.

Is technology really going to change construction or do people need to do it ? Having come from a consumer technology background I feel very well placed to have a view on the genuine benefits of embracing technology and whilst there is a whole plethora of new things available construction as an industry feels like a slow adopter. Part of my role at TDS Group and CADCOE is to advise the board on all things tech and STEM and attending events play a huge part in us making the right decisions about strategy and investment in our future.

I have to say I think adoption of technology is a people and culture thing and working in construction has made me even more convinced of that. There will always be brilliant people coming up with brilliant ideas. What makes a difference is culturally people embedding that technology and its benefit into their business. So far most of the construction sector looks like it’s waiting …… I’m just not sure why or what for.

Ok so the earlier paragraphs were written on the train on the way down and boy was I impressed with what I saw at the event. Still some big decisions about which “platforms” to support but lots of very cool ideas and some very forward thinking people all united in trying to promote their thing.

The most interesting thing for me was that it felt like one of my old shows from consumer tech and gaming. In saying that what I mean is it felt like an E3 or a CES but most of all like World Mobile Congress. So many app developers who have taken their learnings and technology from gaming and moved them into a new vertical called construction.

What was very apparent is that everyone here is committed to digital and BIM and enjoying the significant benefits it brings to their projects. The biggest challenges voiced were getting the right people, security of BIM data and apathy from clients who just want stuff done yesterday. Where have we heard that before?

Key learnings I take from this event are

1 Message to youngsters – become a BIM manager your country needs you and you will get handsomely paid. some great salaries flying around at the event !
2 If you are in construction and you don’t embrace tech you will get left behind…..unless your very niche
3 Some of the super smart guys from consumer tech are coming and I hope for the sector they are embraced and they stay cos otherwise these smart guys will just find another sector to monetise their skills

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Today confirmed my strongly held view that there are two construction industries. One is very traditional and one is very forward thinking and progressive. I know what my recommendations will continue to be to the team at TDS Group. Strap yourselves in for a technology driven future it’s going to be a lot of fun for all concerned.