Much like manufacturing, construction is truly experiencing a period of transformation and dramatic disruption. Advanced technology and automation is playing a pivotal role in rebuilding our roads, bridges, transit, buildings, homes, and is the cornerstone of projects.

This trend was evident at last week’s Constructech Technology Day conference, which provides a roadmap to harness the many opportunities that exist today. It opened up a conversation about the many challenges and opportunities in jobs, automation, advanced technologies, big data, productivity, driving efficiency, computing power, and an aging workforce.

It brought together construction industry professionals, smart-city officials, tech companies, industry experts, and educators who want to engage in a real discussion about expanding employee headcounts in an environment when we all know that the majority of construction firms are finding it harder or even more difficult to recruit and hire qualified workers.

Technology Day gets to the real heart of the issues. The people and company leaders who attend truly found themselves attacking the problems and challenges head on and recognizing worker injury is costing businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in lost wages. Best practices and procedures can go a long way to reducing incidents—but more is needed to be able to ensure a safer jobsite. We can all talk about safer jobsites, but really tackling the tough issues and real worker examples are what we focus on. And that’s why Technology Day proved to be so popular with companies.

As one company executive said, “…It was very educational to get an overview of where technology is being applied, and where it is headed.”

Perhaps that is why most software companies are afraid of this event. We don’t boast about solutions. We let the industry itself do that. This year we had more construction companies step up and nominate themselves for our Vision Awards than ever before. And as one attendee noted, “I was very impressed by the thoughtful and thorough evaluation that you and your team put into the selection of the honorees.” Sadly, despite the construction companies showing their excitement for their success with technology, not enough vendors reciprocated and showed their support for their construction-company clients at the awards dinner.

Perhaps these construction companies are locked into service agreements, but if you are asking me this doesn’t bode well for technology enablers and it demonstrates a very one-sided partnership. I don’t know, but the Vision Awards dinner seems like a great opportunity for the competition to move right in where others are showing lapses of judgment. However construction companies—including men and women—show support for women and support Women in Construction awards.

Once again, technology is the linchpin to help solve many of these challenges facing the construction industry today. There are a plethora of solutions to choose from, but more importantly, it’s all about the discussions.

Creating an open and honest dialogue at Technology Day 2019 is only the first big hurdle. We need to network with others who understand how to harness critical data and all the business insights garnered from like-minded people—all of whom are playing a critical role in saving projects and infrastructure costs and all while addressing the skilled labor shortage, not to mention helping to reduce the number of workers injured on the job. Now that’s a day well spent within one’s industry. We also launched the Women Heavy Equipment Operator Awards. And the Men’s Heavy Equipment Operator ballot is now online for 2019 as well.

All of these things are reasons to celebrate. We invite construction companies, mining firms, and manufacturers to join us as we work together to close the gap on the skilled labor shortage, strengthen technology, and build a stronger infrastructure. Will you join me in our effort to build a better tomorrow with a new Worker of the Future?

Want to tweet about this article? Use hashtags #M2M #IoT #construction #mining #manufacturer #manufacturing #transformation #workforce #infrastructure #ASCE #TechDay18