The digital future of construction: an open ecosystem and focus on execution
We are working on a digital ecosystem that brings value to other operators in the industry and even our competitors.
Mobile developers and digital service providers, with new services targeted both for business and consumer markets, will be able to access the construction market and be the key players in the digital construction transformation.
Our applications focus on construction execution, enhanced with machine learning techniques and big data processing.
Digital construction is real
You might feel that Digital Construction has become only a buzzword but actually a lot of amazing things are happening.
Just taking the Digital Construction Week event in London as an example:
- Building Information Modelling (BIM) integrated with collaboration and workflow tools
- IoT with intelligent sensors that retrieve information from buildings and construction sites for monitoring purposes
- SmartHome and SmartBuilding with digital devices integrated in buildings to be part of the overall digital experience of their users and improve their life
- Virtual reality solutions that allow digital exploration of buildings and other spaces
- Innovative construction techniques like modular and offsite construction and even 3D printing
Construction work and execution are areas full of opportunities to generate value that are still completely unexplored.
Digital Technology for Construction Projects On Site
A big gap in the current development on digital construction is about actual construction execution. All operators in the industry know that the construction execution can become a value black-hole. The opportunities envisioned during the design are often dramatically downsized by the practicalities of the implementation.
Understanding and optimising the construction execution are crucial:
- for investors and clients to correctly evaluate risks of investments and their return
- for governments and public institutions to allocate budget for construction projects with confidence on the reliability of total cost and delivery date
- for construction companies to make a fair profit from projects of all sizes
- for financial service providers, from first-buyer mortgages to multi-billion project investments
- for all providers of disparate services for the industry
Cost estimation accuracy, risk management reliability, budget management and project execution efficiency generate value from the construction execution.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence For Construction
Any data related to construction, projects, costs, planning, property prices and more contribute to build a big set of data to learn from.
All data can be used to identify patterns and support decision making. A lot is already publicly available but not in an API-ready format, that is not directly consumable by software and applications; even more can be collected:
planning permissions from councils
past selling prices of plots of land and buildings from the land registry
physical mapping of the UK territory from private companies, free, open or paid for
retrospective data on past projects that were funded by public institutions
past, current and future data about privately funded construction projects
All those data and more can be used to identify trend patterns and implement machine learning mechanisms to support and optimise the construction execution. Plus, data can be aggregated to extract value in new ways, opening the market to new operators.
New business models are available, opening the market to mobile developers, web service providers, tech communities and more.
A Digital Ecosystem For The Construction Industry
With open API’s accessible by private and public companies and independent software developers, the potential to build original business models on the ecosystem is infinite.
houseUP vertical applications are focused on construction in all its aspects, but there are endless business cases to be exploited.
Using trend patterns pulled from the platform, new business opportunities open up, for example:
- create web sites for property developers, where they can browse areas and types of projects that are most remunerative
- develop mobile apps where people can submit construction projects for crowd funding and shared profits
- integrate with existing digital tools to show ads with materials and finishes in real time, according to the type and phase of a construction project
- integrate with other data from different sources, like weather forecast, web semantics searches, traffic data etc to increase the accuracy of planning and more
The Construction Industry Is Ripe For Innovative Disruption
According to a report by McKinsey & Company, agriculture and hunting are the only sectors with a lower digitalisation index than the construction industry.
Opportunities are endless and many companies currently offer digital solutions for the industry and new developments happen every day.
Even Blockchain technology is seen by some as a way to secure the workflow and assign accountability to architects, engineers and other roles involved in the design.
Making Execution A Key Link In The Value Chain
The construction execution is now the weakest link in the construction value chain. The high risk related to execution undermines investors’ confidence and often construction companies are forced to take on most of the risk related to the execution.
There is huge value to extract from the execution phase:
- high efficiency in the project execution lowers the costs of construction
- accurate estimations allow more reliable and less strict risk management policies
- public institutions allocate budget and plan initiatives more reliably
- access to data and knowledge and more business opportunities open up the market to more and diverse operators, beyond the current big investors
- construction companies are more efficient and reduce the risk of job losses
- the open ecosystem improves the common perception of the industry, enhancing the communication towards large non-business audiences
- crowd funding sites and mobile apps help bridge the gap between operators with large funds and small economical actors, to access the industry opportunities
True Digital Transformation Attracts New Operators And New Business Models To The Construction Industry
Mobile developers and software houses, with new services targeted both for business and consumer markets, are the key factors in the digital revolution, as they have been in the past in other markets.
Banking, travel, hospitality, retail shopping: open digital enablers turned those markets upside down, changing our life forever. It will happen for construction and build environment, with great opportunities for many.
Join Us And Let’s Make It Happen
- Are you designing or developing a digital service for the construction industry?
- Was your business impacted by the digitalisation in construction?
- Do you want to share your point of view on digital construction with a guest post on our site?
- Do you know about initiatives or events where we should be taking this conversation?
- Do you know individuals or institutions we should be in touch with to start making things real?
Gen is managing director and chief of digital strategy at houseUP. She has a background in information security and product management in tech startups.