By
Maithili Mokashi
April 10, 2020

Overview of Construction Technology in 2020

Whether hardware or software, it is technology that has made construction businesses more efficient and construction sites safer. Technology helps companies boost productivity, improve collaboration, and solve complex problems. Usually, it's the companies that adapt and embrace technological change that ultimately survive the competitive business environment.

In this article, we have summarized the offerings of companies that provide technologies across 10 different areas that are crucial to help a construction business thrive in 2020.

Categories:

  1. Time & location tracking
  2. Drones
  3. Robotics
  4. Autonomous heavy equipment
  5. Virtual Site access
  6. Modular home building
  7. Project management platform
  8. Document management
  9. Field management
  10. Wearable devices

(1) Time & location tracking

Keeping track of your workers' hours is a bit tricky if you are a part of the construction industry. Various job sites, unconventional work hours, having to go on supply runs only add to the already existing challenges. If you have an hourly workforce as part of your crew, you probably understand the importance of having an efficient and reliable time clock software.

Companies:

  1. Workyard Crew

The Workyard Crew app is known for its simple and transparent time and location tracking. Workers can easily clock in or out and submit their time for approval from their own smartphones. When a worker clocks-in, Workyard's GPS tracking technology logs their location and movements between work sites.The Workyard Crew app reduces admin overhead by enabling workers to easily edit their time cards, even after they are submitted. When workers do edit their time cards, they're required to submit a short reason for the edit, which increases transparency and reduces confusion at the time of approval. Workyard Crew is loaded with features such as Site updates, Overtime calculation, and Logging to make your workers' jobs smoother. Workyard Crew also lets you seamlessly utilize the data it records for payroll processing.

Workyard Crew Time and Location Tracking App

(2) Drones

Drones have become an invaluable tool for construction companies to track, map, survey, inspect, and manage construction sites more efficiently and safely. Through aerial photography and data, builders can map out plans, report status updates, and make better decisions overall.

Companies:

1. DroneBase

DroneBase is proud to have built one of the largest networks of professional drone pilots. The company has successfully completed over 100,000 commercial drone flights over 70 countries. They provide affordable drone imagery and video service packages to the construction industry and can deliver you their aerial imagery within two business days after they fly over your worksite.

2. Propeller

Propeller helps you gain essential insights into your worksite. With Propeller, you can see earthworks progress, and track your inventory and changes with fast, safe, and cost-effective 3D surveys. Their technology lets you streamline your construction process with reliable safety checks and seamless communication. You can also compare your projects against your designs or past surveys to track your progress, estimate, plan, and run progress claims on the information shared by your crew.

Propeller Drone for Construction

3. DroneDeploy Fast, shareable data help businesses flourish, and the DroneDeploy platform can empower you with just that. Through interactive virtual maps and detailed analysis, DroneDeploy boosts your speed, efficiency, and decision-making process. The DroneDeploy platform lets you create high-resolution maps, reports, and 3D models, as well as real-time 2D Live Maps for immediate analysis. It includes unlimited cloud image processing for secure collaboration, sharing, and integration. It is compatible with over 80 apps and integrations to make it even more powerful.

Other notable companies: KesprySkycatch

(3) Robotics

Tasks in construction can be repetitive, which leaves a lot of room for automation. Hence, many jobs in construction can be accomplished a lot more efficiently with the help of the right robotic tools. Construction has been one of the least automated industries across the globe and has struggled to make productivity gains alongside other industries! Corporations like Construction Robotics and Scaled Robotics are working towards changing the landscape rapidly.

Companies:

1. Construction Robotics

Construction Robotics is dedicated to developing affordable, state-of-the-art robotics and automation machinery to streamline processes in the construction industry. Their two robots, SAM and MULE, are on the verge of revolutionizing manual labor in construction. SAM (Semi-Automated Mason), is a bricklaying robot developed by Construction Robotics. SAM100 is the first-ever commercially available bricklaying robot for masonry construction projects, and it can consistently increase your masons' productivity by 300 to 500% while reducing lifting by over 80%.Construction Robotics' second robot, MULE (Material Unit Lift Enhancer) is a lift assist device intended for moving material as massive as 135 lbs on a job site. One can customize MULE's attachments to suit various applications across construction, which makes it very adaptable. The robot can significantly boost your crew's productivity by working smarter and more consistently.

2. Scaled RoboticsScaled Robotics aims at rethinking the complete construction process. Their mission is to modernize construction with Robotics and Artificial Intelligence and create a leaner, more affordable, and more efficient manufacturing process. With the support of their partners, they have designed robots for construction. Their robots can help you with automated construction verification and automated progress monitoring.

3. ASI RobotsExcavators are the heart of any mining operation, regardless of its size. It can be as small as a skid steer or as heavy as a building-sized earthmover; there is no substitute for them when it comes to heavy lifting tasks. If you equip your mechanical shovels with reliable vehicle automation technology, you can improve their productivity and efficiency by empowering the machines to operate in unstable or unsafe environments.ASI Robots has designed a system of robotic components that connects easily into any excavator, transforming it from manual to robotic control. Since most modern excavators are controlled by-wire, this technology uses the excavator's existing CAN Bus system to route vehicle functions. This way, it is able to control the undercarriage, boom, bucket, and monitor vehicle health indicators in real-time.

ASI Robotics

Other notable companies: Fastbrick Robotics, OKIBO

(4) Autonomous heavy equipment

Self-driving vehicle technology has made significant advancements recently, with passenger cars and trucks. Heavy equipment manufacturers and technology companies have a tremendous opportunity to get inspiration from these innovations and bring the same technology to the construction site as well. Cutting edge self-driving applications can enhance safety and efficiency on construction sites if implemented in ways specific to the industry, to revolutionize construction. Companies like Built Robotics are utilizing this opportunity to update off-the-shelf heavy equipment with Artificial Intelligence based guidance systems, enabling machines to operate fully autonomously.

Companies:

1. Built Robotics

The robots designed by built robotics are equipped with a multilayer safety system to make sure they are safe to operate. The team of robots has worked for over 7,000 hours, without any incidents. The robots are fitted with sensors that detect people, vehicles, and other obstacles. One can also restrict the movements of these robots by setting up geofences. To make them even safer, supervisors can remotely stop the robots at any time.

(5) Virtual site access/Progress documentation

Virtual site access platforms can enable you to visit your job site from anywhere and any device, bringing higher efficiency to your business process. These solutions can accurately track site progress and help keep project timelines on track.

Companies:

1. StructionSite

StructionSite is an intuitive platform designed for automated job site documentation. The platform acts as your single source of accurate records so that you and your clients can stay up-to-date with actionable data that you can access from any device.

2. OpenSpace

Job site documentation is an intense and time-consuming activity, and you can simplify it with OpenSpace. With OpenSpace, you can record your job site with your smartphone, and the application automatically generates the documentation for you, with their 360 photo technology. Their system is known to work 15 times faster than manual photography. Moreover, you can visit your job site anytime through an interactive 360 map, zoom in to examine the details of your plan, and review the progress of your project.

3. Reconstruct

Reconstruct is a Visual Command Center™ with the help of which project stakeholders can view the progress of their project by comparing their status against its design and schedule. Furthermore, it also provides periodic visual records of installed work, lets you visualize project progress, productivity, and schedule risk.

Other notable companies: HoloBuilder

(6) Modular home building:

Typically, construction is time-consuming, expensive, and unpredictable. With modular home building, much of the home can be built in a warehouse and then installed on the job site, which helps to reduce project delays. Modular home building companies like Cover Technologies have the software and panelized building systems required to streamline the building process.

Companies:

1. Cover Technologies

Cover's patent-pending building components connect with each other like huge LEGO blocks. They can create several combinations of unique floor plans to match your needs, using the same pre-designed set of parts. These parts are created in Cover's factory with insulation, structure, waterproofing, electrical, and connectors pre-installed. They are then shipped to your job site, where they are assembled.

(7) Project management platform:

Construction project managers can benefit vastly from utilizing project management platforms, which can help automate administrative tasks, simplify estimating and billing, facilitate planning and scheduling, manage workload assignments, centralize document management, and promote real-time communication and issues resolution.

Companies:

1. Procore Construction Management

Procore is a great solution to project management problems for when you are on the go. Procore has apps for mobile phones as well as tablets. It lets you have the freedom to move around the construction site while being up to date on the progress of your projects. With a few clicks, you can send out site updates, reply to messages, and oversee your entire team. The app also lets you take down notes in the 'Daily Log' and record observations and site conditions in real-time. This, in turn, makes your site visits very productive.

2. e-Builder

e-Builder is designed as a construction management tool. The app lets you customize it to suit your requirements. It can help you reduce your efforts as you achieve more in a short amount of time. It can also help you manage the life cycles of a project, which includes keeping a record of time spent, budgeting, or the progress of a project.

3. InEight

InEight is a Construction Project Management Software that leverages 25 years of construction project management technology to create new solutions for the construction industry. Their solutions cover various aspects of projects from design to estimate and from execution on the job site to turnover. They give you real-time data and insights that you can leverage to minimize risks, improve operational efficiency, control the budget of your project, make informed decisions, and collaborate seamlessly with your team.

4. eSUB Time

This app can help you improve the efficiency of your back office by mobilizing the management of your workforce. eSubTime is designed to help your office collaborate with your construction site. We can all agree that tracking timesheets manually is very counterproductive. But eSUB Time lets you achieve higher accuracy in your time tracking process, while you go paperless. If your workers don't own a smartphone, it's not a problem: because this app gives you multiple ways to track your crew's time while they are on the construction site. They can either clock in or out through their foreman, via their personal smartphone, or through a centralized kiosk. Some notable features of the app include:Flexible Time Entry: Record time from your workers' personal cellphone or set up a table in a "kiosk mode." It also makes it easy to switch between projects and keep track of lunch breaks. Clock Out Reminders: Workers get a reminder if they have not clocked out after a number of continuous hours. Hasslefree accounting: Sometimes, workers forget to clock in or out. But eSUB Time lets you modify timesheets to fix such errors. Moreover, it has provisions to let your field employees communicate with your back office about discrepancies in their timesheets. All of these features work toward making accounting and payroll processing seamless and hasslefree.  Works Offline: Not all areas of a job site have internet coverage. But your crew can still record their activity in the app. They can clock in or out even if they are offline, and the data would sync whenever their device goes online again.

Other notable companies:Builder Trend, Oracle Aconex, CoConstruct, Jonas Construction Management Software Solutions

(8) Document management companies:  

Effective and efficient document control is a vital part of any construction project. Without it, the deadlines and budgets of projects are at risk. Contractors are switching from paper documentation to digital documentation, and that has made at least some aspects of it easier. However, paperless operations have their own challenges when it comes to managing and storing construction documents. If you are on the look-out for an effective document management solution, companies like Plangrid and Egnyte can help you manage your construction documents in a more efficient way.

Companies:

  1. Plangrid

The way this tool is designed makes it very suitable for construction management. Timesheets are crucial to any job that requires tracking time of employees, and PlanGrid can help you with that. With this tool, you can have completely paperless reports and access them easily whenever you need them. It also lets you easily manage your reports and statements and share them with subcontractors. PlanGrid is known for its well-designed app, enabling you to track and manage your reports and statements from the Jobsite. It also lets you increase the safety of your job site, identifying hazards and lowering risk before work begins.

2. EgnyteIt's difficult to keep track of bids when you are awaiting something from specialty contractors. It gets especially messy if your primary form of communication is via email attachments. Consolidating all those bids into a secured folder can quickly help you find the best subcontractor for the job. Egnyte can help you do just that!

Other notable companies:eFileCabinetSkysiteUnearth Labs

(9) Field Management:

Field management software gives you a better way to manage your on-site work, presenting to you an opportunity to increase speed, efficiency, accountability, and visibility of your entire workforce. Using field management software, companies can optimize their resource planning and utilize their resources to the fullest. Companies like Rhumbix and Bridgit can make your workforce management much easier.

Companies:

1. Rhumbix

The Rhumbix Field Data Platform lets you record your field data to make better decisions. Once you record your data from your job site, you can easily and instantly share it with your team and connect it across various workflows and construction software systems.

2. Bridgit:

Bridgit's functioning is simple and straightforward- it lets you keep a log while you are on the construction site. Bridgit then keeps track of your projects and shows you the progress of your work. Here's what the app enables you to do:You can seamlessly communicate with your workers and manage workflowYou can generate reports through the appThe app improves transparency between you and your subcontractors by giving them a view of a project's progress and stages of completion.You can keep track of inspections and project deadlines. It's a one-stop-shop for building new construction.Bridgit is ideal for people who spend most of their working hours on the construction site.

3. Fieldwire:

Fieldwire is an intuitive, easy-to-use, and scalable field management platform where your entire team can collaborate and share data with each other in real-time. This powerful platform enables you to assign tasks, view updated drawings, and align the job site and office. It can record as-built project data to create an indisputable history of work performed. It also lets you track statuses, document inconsistencies, and mark up designs with notes, photos, and videos.All paid Fieldwire plans include unlimited sheets and projects so that you never have to worry about a price increase as you add employees to your organization, making it great for a growing business.  

Fieldwire

(10) Wearable devices

Wearable technology offers the opportunity to enhance safety, prevent the possibility of injuries, and improve the overall quality of life for construction workers. Every contractor should be actively investigating and evaluating how the recent innovations in wearable technologies can enhance their business.

Companies:

1. Triax

Triax's solutions are scalable and low maintenance capable of connecting any construction site or heavy industrial environment without needing WiFi or GPS coverage. Utilizing their proprietary communication system, rugged hardware, and user-friendly dashboard, you can gain a real-time bird's eye view into the status of your project portfolio.

2. Guardhat

Guardhat's safety detection system manages and analyzes data for those on the front lines of industry, and gives them oversight, insight, and foresight. Guardhat's system is designed to give you heightened real-time awareness, a complete and critical field of vision, as well as actionable and preemptive insights.

What next?

Even small upgrades to your construction business processes can have major effects on your revenue, and the efficiency that a good time clock app can bring to your process can be invaluable. If you would like to find out whether Workyard Crew is right for your business, click the button below to get a free, no strings attached quote.

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