Author: Peggy Smedley

This time of year, we are always talking about predictions for the year ahead, with some analysts forecasting up to five years out or sometimes more. The estimates are often grandiose—but do they always pan out? In a word, no. I like to hold the analysts’ feet to the fire, so let’s take a closer look. Let’s start by looking at perhaps one of the biggest predictions in the IoT (Internet of Things) that fell flat. We all remember many tech companies and analysts predicted there would be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. I called that prediction out then,…

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Here in South Carolina, we are seeing community development happen in a number of different walks of life. Case in point: fiber optic internet access, which has the capacity for today’s internet needs and anticipates tomorrows. As just one example, Lumos has made a technology infrastructure investment in South Carolina’s Richland and Lexington Counties, bringing internet service across the greater Columbia area. Additionally, this type of technology can help underserved areas and create economic advantages right here in the local communities including Forest Acres and Arcadia Lakes in Richland County, as well as West Columbia, Lexington, Cayce, Irmo, and Springdale…

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For several years, I have been talking about the importance of sustainability in our buildings, as we all need low carbon, energy efficient, and resilient buildings and communities. How much progress are we making? Are we seeing new advanced design practices and innovative technologies emerge to reduce those emissions in the built environment? How much more work do we still need to do for progress to be made? As we all know by now, buildings account for roughly 70% of U.S. electricity consumption and are primary drivers of about 80% of peak demand on the grid. New innovations such as…

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Equipment and software are a big investment. Should you rent? Should you buy? How do you tap into all that data that exists? Taking a closer look at some of the biggest trends can help businesses make more informed decisions. Recently the ELFA (Equipment Leasing and Finance Assn.) released its list of Top 10 Equipment Acquisition Trends for 2023. These trends were compiled through industry research, industry participants’ expertise, and member input. The objective is to help businesses as they execute their equipment acquisition strategies. Let’s dig into the numbers. Real private investment by U.S. businesses in equipment and software…

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During the early days of the pandemic, many people realized they could do their jobs from just about anywhere and moved their families across the state—or in some cases across the country. How long did that trend continue? Pew suggests moves out of the densest parts of big cities, those with more than 10,000 people per square mile, jumped 17% to about 2.9 million during the first year of the pandemic, from March 2020 to February 2021. The number of moves out of those dense areas returned to pre-pandemic levels in the following year, March 2021 to February 2022. Where…

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At World of Concrete last week, many were discussing all the new solutions in the construction industry—and how technology and tools can provide opportunities to solve new and long-standing challenges that exist in the construction industry. I had an opportunity to sit down with Mike McGowan, region head and chief executive officer, Hilti North America, to talk about some of the hurdles that exist in the construction industry today. “We are a little bit different in how we go to market,” he says. “We don’t go through distribution channels. We go direct. The reason is we feel it gives us…

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The manufacturing industry is in a state of flux, as suppl-chain issues persist, causing sourcing bottlenecks and logistics backlogs. At the same time, we are seeing a rise in cost and cyberattacks and shortage of skilled workers. Looking ahead to 2023, Deloitte projections based on Oxford Economics’ Global Economic Model anticipate 2.5% growth in GDP in manufacturing. The solution is obvious—digital transformation—but the road is bumpy. Part of the challenge is Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 mean different things to different people. Let’s break this down. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Thorsten Wuest, associate professor, West…

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This year—2023 offers interesting opportunities for hiring in the construction industry—and the vast majority expect to do just that. In fact, more than two-thirds expect to add to their headcount, according to new research. The Associated General Contractors of America and Sage recently released the finding of a new survey titled High Hopes for Public Sector Funding Amid Workforce and Supply Chain Challenges: The 2023 Construction Hiring & Business Outlook. All in all, it finds the construction industry is continuing to look to the public sector as private dries up. The survey suggests contractors expect infrastructure and other public-sector funding…

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With the start of the New Year also comes the start of new building codes for residential housing here in South Carolina. I am discovering they are impacting Columbia and all of South Carolina. Let’s take a closer look at what changes are in store for 2023 and beyond. First, a primer. Prior to June 13, 1997, local jurisdictions that desired to adopt building codes were permitted to do so by local ordinance. If a jurisdiction did adopt building codes, it was required to adopt only the codes authorized by the Building Codes Act. Beginning July 2, 2003, the Council…

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Today’s executives have a lot on their agenda. Amid climate change, global conflict, a worker shortage, and supply-chain hiccups, many need to prioritize objectives across many areas of the business, while also evaluating long-term costs, risks, quality, and ROI (return on investment). We are now at the juncture where technology needs to deliver value to organizations that are looking to scale and deliver new services. It is no longer a nice-to-have; it is a must-have. These are all tall orders today in an ever-changing environment that continues to experience exponential technological growth. In an attempting to master this level of…

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