Collaboration is a buzzword that has been used in the construction industry for more than a decade, but what exactly does it mean for project teams—particularly as it relates to technology? We have some thoughts.
The dictionary defines collaboration as the action of working with someone to produce or create something. At its core, collaboration isn’t new. It has been part of the construction industry since the dawn of time. However, when applied in the context of technology, it means tools and systems designed to better facilitate that group work. In the first half of this blog series, we looked at hot, emerging construction technologies. Think robots, 5G, AI (artificial intelligence), digital twins, wearables, AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), MR (mixed reality), and the metaverse. For the second half of this series, let’s look at how technology can enable process, procedures, and business practices. Things like collaboration, project management, scheduling, accounting, estimating, and more. All of these have existed in construction before the dawn of technology but are now being enabled by technology in new and interesting ways.
Let’s start by talking more about collaboration this week. At its core, collaboration technology shares data between project team members. In its 2020 State of Construction Technology report, JLL suggests the technology categories that recorded the most growth due to the pandemic were digital collaboration platforms, virtual scanning tools, and safety focused wearables.
JLL considers digital collaboration platforms a foundational technology—a building block for many construction companies. The report suggests, “Digital collaboration tools have become a near requirement during the pandemic, to keep projects moving forward even as teams are not able to meet in person. And second, these tools have developed, by growth and acquisitions, into unified platform hubs designed to be the core tool to enable all other technologies to connect.”
Typically built on a cloud-based system, this technology enables construction professionals to access design drawings, punch lists, schedules, and any other critical project documents from any location. A good system will both collect data and share it with project teams working either onsite or offsite.
In 2021, Gartner conducted a study that shows nearly 80% of workers are using collaboration tools for work, up from just over half of workers in 2019, which is a 44% increase since the pandemic began. Certainly, the pandemic has spurred this on, but here at Constructech we have been talking about collaboration technology long before that.
What are your thoughts? Do you use collaboration technology? How does it help? Do you offer collaboration technology? Consider entering it for the Constructech Top Products award. The construction industry is looking for solutions. Now is the time to offer it to them.