As 2014 is quickly coming to a close, and we look forward to 2015, it’s safe to assume we’re thinking about the state of the construction industry and how it will change and grow as we move into the New Year.
Trends in almost all industries change frequently, and that’s certainly true of the construction industry. While 2014 saw an increase in the use of tablets, streaming video, and other technologies being used directly on the work site, many are curious to know:
Will those trends continue?
Here are some of the construction trends experts have predicted we’ll continue to or start to see in 2015.
3D printers have gone from an interesting concept to reality in just a few years. As the technology becomes less expensive and more reliable, expect to see them turn up on construction sites.
Eventually, we may even end up 3D printed tools, equipment, and other items as needed on the job. These printers will also be very useful for creating detailed models of planned buildings.
Tablets, Especially Phone Tablets
While tablets have appeared on many job sites, experts expect to see less dedicated tablets and more phone/tablet hybrids. These devices like the Galaxy Note provide both the ability to make phone calls and connect to the office network.
Additionally, they’re large enough to display detailed schematics and a good amount of information, but they’re also small enough to be carried on a tool belt or in a big pocket. The ability to combine two tools into one will appeal to many people.
Augmented reality is a trend that appeals to people who prefer visuals. It’s a type of virtual reality that is often used to overlay blueprints or designs over what people are actually seeing.
For example, the virtual model can be loaded up on a tablet. When you activate the tablet’s cameras and hold it up to something you see on the construction site, it will overlay the actual image with the design schematics or notes. Need to see where wiring is going? Just pull up the wiring plans and look through the tablet at the wall in front of you. It’s a simple way to easily check work before it’s done in a visual way.
We’ve already seen this trend take hold, but it’s expected to continue next year. For example, construction managers won’t need to buy separate accounting software for construction companies—instead, everything will come within one bundle that is connected together.
The accounting software will interface with the HR programs, for example, and then both can connect to tax programs. It makes everything much easier and faster than having separate pieces of software.
Near-Field Communications (NFC)
Some people have actually already experienced Near-Field Communications – this type of data transfer can occur when a NFC device gets near another NFC device or physical tag. When people touch their smartphones together to transfer information between the two, that’s a type of NFC.
On the construction site, however, NFC devices can be used to quickly scan the labels on materials and orders. Almost any smartphone or tablet can be turned into a NFC device, too, so there’s no need to add another piece of equipment to the tool kit.
A Completely Paperless Job Site
With augmented reality and more dependence on tablets/smartphones on the job site, 2015 could possibly be the year of the construction industry going completely paperless. More likely, it will be a year that takes the industry in that direction, but it may not go completely paperless just yet.
What trends are you most looking forward to for your business in 2015? Which trends are you NOT looking forward to? Comment below to join the conversation!