By Sam Lamonica, VP & CIO, Rosendin Electric
Big challenge in construction sector
For many years, a good many of the construction sector’s technology needs were served by a number of Tier 2 players. But in the last 4-5 years the construction industry has wholeheartedly and aggressively embraced technology, setting the stage for many of these Tier 2 players to be acquired by large Tier 1 providers. The challenge is 2-fold. First, this M&A activity tends to have an impact on the product development cycle of the acquired company as they undergo the assimilation process, thus disrupting the enhancement process and product support of the existing applications. Second, as these Tier 2 companies get picked off by the big boys, it significantly decreases the odds of ever getting standards in place for interoperability amongst and across product lines, and integration with existing back-end systems.
Adoption of Cloud services
Rosendin Electric has not been shy about adopting cloud-based solutions where it is beneficial and prudent to do so. In fact, we were on the SaaS bandwagon 4-5 years ago when such services were still “bleeding edge” in some respects. In many ways, leveraging SaaS solutions has allowed us to significantly improve deployment timeframes for new business applications, dramatically improve our ability to collaborate efficiently with partners, customers, and project teams, and improve our ability to provide solid mobile solutions at the point of construction. And best of all, in a very cost effective manner.
Mobile technologies boosting construction site efficiency
Mobility at the point of construction has become paramount in our industry. Leveraging a combination of cloud-based untethered mobile applications and in-house developed mobile solutions has begun to show significant value to our company. From much improved Pre-Task Planning capabilities at the start of a project via an in-house developed mobile tool, to a robust Material Tracking mobile application to insure timely and efficient handling of materials from suppliers or Pre-fabrication units to the point of installation, we have been pushing our partners to provide us with better mobile solutions.
We have even begun leveraging mobile technologies to get field workers logged into and out of the job site daily with minimal disruption and significant reduction in paperwork and administration.
BIM transforming construction paradigm
As the BIM process takes root the ability to access and provide information to others is vastly improving. Being an early adopter, Rosendin Electric has seen many benefits as well as challenges in our own transformation. A few of the challenges we have faced are rapidly emerging software applications and the demands placed on our own hardware and IT needs. However, industry alignment continues to improve as an understanding of the benefits of a more collaborative approach is recognized and embraced.
The real transformation occurs when a firm is able to adapt to these new platforms, staff training requirements, and budgeting needs.
I believe we will continue to see improved planning and prefabrication opportunities resulting in lower installation and rework costs, along with improved scheduling and significant preconstruction cost reductions, with an impact to design and overall project cost reductions.
Augmented reality is the next step in this evolutionary process, and holds many of the keys.