Time to innovate in Construction Tech is NOW!

Technology Innovation in some traditional industries sounds like an oxymoron but the innovation and digitization in the Construction industry is much faster than you can imagine.


Construction Tech and Your SaaS Startup

Until recently, technology innovation in Construction is not a primary focus area but thanks to many modern technologies that are enabling companies to try out new possibilities. No wonder that a vast amount of venture capital money in this industry is spent on new startups in building mobile and collaborative solutions. Take advantage of new technologies used in construction technology startups, including the Cloud, AI and IoT.

Construction Industry Challenges / Opportunities
  • iconLow digitization in Construction, Real estate, Government, O&G and Utilities are leading to billions of lost productivity.
  • iconLarge Asset projects could take 20% longer in schedule and 80% higher in costs to complete.
  • iconAsset Intensive industries need high levels of collaboration compared to other industries.
  • icon85% of E&C companies that had single-digit growth & margins from 2005-2015.
  • iconR&D spending in construction runs well behind that of other industries: less than 1 per cent of revenues, versus 3.5 to 4.5 per cent for the auto and aerospace sectors.
  • iconInformation technology accounts for less than 1 per cent of revenues for construction, even though several new software solutions have been developed for the industry.
  • iconThe ever-increasing need to adopt consistent graphical models across Planning, Design, Construction, Operations and Maintenance cycles.
  • iconDigitization of the business processes is happening on multiple levels of design, procurement, supply chain, equipment and assets, fieldwork and maintenance.
  • iconEconomic and Political situations are giving a boost to the AEC stocks and there is a lot of focus on public infrastructure.

Now let’s look at some of the fundamental technologies that are well-positioned to help the Construction Industry grow.

Cloud Applications

Digitize or Die. While every company thinks about digitization, very few companies make it a priority and execute. Paper based contracts, RFIs, change orders, checklists, progress reports and other processes work but provide a very minimal traceability and often difficult to understand the source of truth. With the maturity of the Cloud, Mobile and Social technologies, it is easier than ever to provide an integrated system to help Owners, GCs and Subs during the Planning, Design, Execution and Maintenance life cycle.

Cloud applications provide an easy way to digitize your company processes and with a high ROI. Especially when the margins are so thin in this industry, Cloud applications provide ease on the CapEx and OpEx investments and let the business focus on what they are truly good at.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

2D and 3D models are not just constrained to the Architects and Designers anymore. With the ever-increasing computing power on the desktops, mobile devices, the models are much more consumable and easy to interact. We are now seeing a huge growth in the tooling side where several vendors offer the 4D (Schedule), 5D (Cost) and 6D (Asset and Facility Management) model visualizations. While models coming from multiple vendors and formats are still a challenge, there is a common understanding of the benefits.

  • iconUnderstand the impact of the change management in real-time from Owners, GCs to Subs
  • iconShare progress reports with project stakeholders in graphical format
  • iconProvide the right amount of information and data to the employees at the office and workers on the job site
  • iconReduce the re-work by identifying the clashes early on with the models from architects, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and others.
  • iconThe industry is looking to mature where a single model becomes a source of truth compared to multiple models and Owners see the BIM as a value creation tool rather than a cost item.
Internet of Things (IoT)

The cost of sensors is coming down, it’s becoming easy to analyze the real-time data and provide right analytics. The IoT applications in the Construction industry still need to be matured but we are already seeing multiple IoT use cases.

  • iconConcrete sensors provide the right amount of data (temperature, relative humidity, strength) to understand the dependencies in the schedule and cost impact.
  • iconEnvironmental sensors (temperature, humidity, noise and air quality) provide the real-time data to proactively care about the working conditions.
  • iconProximity sensors, beacons help alert the project crew on unauthorized entry in real-time and help to improve safety and prevent thefts.
  • iconEquipment and Material monitoring helps to better job schedules and improve supply chain on job sites and prevent delays.
  • iconWorker monitoring on the job site could help to get a real-time view of the resources, hazardous locations and helps in insurance claims and litigation.

Drones are an eye in the sky, providing a cheaper and safer option to survey the sites during pre, during and post-construction cycles. Earlier, for certain special projects, companies used helicopters to get a hi-definition view of the job site but now the Drones get that data for a fraction of that cost, not just the cost, they provide analytics and suggest the progress of projects.

  • iconProvide hi-definition pictures and 3D images to assess the job risk and share the onsite progress with project stakeholders.
  • iconGo to in-accessible areas on the job site and inspect the site.
  • iconConduct pre-construction surveys and understand the terrain or understand the volume of the stockpiles to plan the work.

The most important thing to understand is they are not the same and the exact definitions are still being argued and solidified. No matter what they mean, the likes of Google Glass, HoloLens and DAQRI helmets are helping the industry experts to think about value-added use cases. Imagine the BIM model can be viewed via a heads-up display and you can see the RFIs, Issues or observe the model clashes as you walk on the job site. A lot of potential and positive outlook as the technology improves.

Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence

Imagine hundreds of pictures, video and audio files uploaded from a job site and they are analyzed by a ML/AI system to provide insights on safety conditions, worker conditions, weather and many more. Field data contain a wealth of information if properly analyzed.

When historical information is available, analyze the projects on the schedule, cost, resource and scope level and learn on what is the best way to maximize a project’s profit. Provide the best way to schedule that specific project with the available resources and optimize the supply chain of material and equipment.

In summary, we are living in exciting times of the cloud, social, mobile, IoT, AI and visualization technologies. The impact on the traditional industries is for real and embrace them sooner than later. We hope you take advantage of new technologies used in construction technology startups, including the Cloud, AI and IoT.

If you are building AI products for Construction Tech, we would love to hear. Send us a message at hello@product10x.com.

About the Author: Suresh Madhuvarsu is a serial entrepreneur and investor. He is the Managing Partner of Product10x Accelerator, a SaaS accelerator that helps founders build and launch successful startups. He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Salestable, a purpose-built sales readiness platform for SMBs.

Suresh has over 20 years of experience in the technology/SaaS industry. He is a 4x founder with 2 exits. He is also an active angel investor and mentor to early-stage startups. Suresh is passionate about helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses. He believes that technology can be used to solve real-world problems and improve people's lives.

About Product10x: Product10x is a SaaS accelerator that helps founders build and launch successful startups. The accelerator is run by experienced operating partners who have "been there and done that." Product10x provides founders with mentorship, advisory, and access to a network of investors and partners. The accelerator focuses on Product Led Growth (PLG), Sales readiness, and Fundraise readiness, helping founders all the way from product to go-to-market.