Technologies that will (not might) change construction as we know it

McKinsey Global Institute recently identified 12 technologies that will disrupt business as we know it. According to its estimate, the total potential impact could be between $14 trillion and $33 trillion a year by 2025.

The top 6 are directly relevant to construction and mining.  They will impact what you do from now on.  These are:

Mobile Internet–Mobile Internet is far more than having access to a browser from your smartphone or tablet. It will affect service delivery, worker productivity, remote healthcare, and consumer habits and preferences in shopping. Some of the technologies that it, in turn, will affect are battery technology, advanced displays, new user interface designs, further miniaturization of electronics, and wireless.

Automation of knowledge work--The combination of artificial intelligence, natural user interfaces, and big-data technologies will start doing many tasks that formerly required people, so expect further downsizing. Also, tools will leverage professionals of all sorts and affect such fields as education, diagnosis and drug discovery in medical, legal work such as discovery and patent filing, and accounting and investments in finance.

Internet of Things–With sensors on devices, clothing, machinery, and virtually anything else you can think of, all using wireless and near-field communications to communicate with networks and the rest of the Internet, there will be major impacts on business process optimization, manufacturing, natural resource use, utilities, energy delivery, and remote healthcare.

Cloud–Cloud technology can provide centralized computing resources to serve many users, whether internally in a company or through a third-party service. More efficient use of resources will put pressure on the computer and IT industries, as more work is done by fewer ma- chines and people. At the same time, cloud can offer software and computing services that let businesses run more efficiently and enable many technology entrepreneurs to get the resources they need far more economically than by building their own systems.

Advanced robotics--Exoskeletons, artificial and enhanced sight and hearing, remote physical manipulation, and artificial intelligence will make changes in manufacturing, healthcare and surgery, such basic ser- vice activities as food preparation and cleaning, and consumer use. Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles–Self-driving cars already exist in prototype forms. Add in computer vision, sensors such as radar and GPS, communication with networks, and remote control, and you affect transportation and shipping.

Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles--Self-driving cars already exist in prototype forms. Self-driving trucks and mining equipment is already being deployed in Australian mines. Add in computer vision, sensors such as radar and GPS, communication with networks, and remote control, and you revolutionise transportation and shipping.

Others on the list including energy storage, 3D printing, advanced materials and renewable energy will also have a direct impact on what you do.

What to do?

Remember your first PC, Word and spreadsheet?  Your first tentative steps with technology.  

Would you return to a typewriter and a pencil?  

How dead is fax?

  • Don’t be intimidated by the new technologies and don’t wait for them to mature; they never will in your working life.
  • Start small.  Deploy a few simple highly cost-effective systems in your business.  Ensure they are embedded with training and company procedures.
  • Then move on and up as you see your business improving.

We are already deploying software to take advantage of these priority technologies with systems including MIAC Business Workflow Integration.  These systems can bring immediate benefit to your bottom line by applying intelligent integration between systems, devices and people.

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