The future is automated
Automation is an increasing trend and already a reality in many areas of the service industry. In the near future, unmanned cargo ships will sail the vast seas, and driverless trucks will roam the globe. Once, the emergence of harbours, airports, and train networks gave birth to the clock that is now ticking on every office wall. Soon, global delivery chains are formed by an organic entity consisting of automation algorithms ready to react to every human need and desire in a microsecond and capable of anticipating these needs. What does all this mean to the slow construction business, made of concrete and iron, trying to keep pace with the ever-moving, fast-growing global economy? What are the challenges and possibilities involved?
Middle-class consumers around the globe are starting to dress the same and decorate their homes in a similar style. Winners of globalisation are businesses that are efficiently connected and on top of emerging trends. Ikea is the textbook example of a company that has successfully capitalised on global trends and branded itself as a place where consumers can easily select the same thing whether they are in Shenzhen or in Austin. Leveraging the data gathered from purchases drives their business. Also in construction, trends are no longer local but will become increasingly global. People don’t necessarily want the same things, but they do want the same range of options. Construction companies must get ready to meet these demands and high expectations. To feel the pulse of the global being. To interpret it. To react to it. To take control of the enormous flow of data.
Feeling the pulse – the new era of construction
Construction companies today are typically dealing with severely fragmented data; what could be a powerful tool for driving the business stays as useless bits of data split into several systems – we all know that company out there wishing to decrease the number of their applications to a hundred. In the information age, data is the most valuable capital. All stakeholders should be able to make use of it – not only construction companies, but the whole supplier chain. Pulling information to one, digital platform is the way to get the big data to your fingertips. Not only to control the present but to predict the future. Although the possibilities of construction business digitisation are still largely unexplored, it is fairly obvious who will be pulling the strings. World leaders in construction will tune into the desires and wishes of the consumer.
The future is co-created
For the next generation of home buyers, technology is not just a tool helping them perform specific tasks, but a fundamental way of creating and maintaining relationships and forming an identity. When I look at my son playing Minecraft, building skyscrapers and villages with his friends, it is clear what their generation will expect. The future of construction is in the hands of companies who are able to provide them with the range of choices and control they are accustomed to in the virtual realm. At its best, technology can help pave the way towards a global culture of co-creation. The way I see it, including homebuyers is significant, but not sufficient in itself. A strong foundation is cast when marketing, project leads, and sites share the relevant information under a single umbrella. Breaking down communication silos within the construction organisation is imperative when leading your business through this inevitable transformation.