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From Paper to Predictive Analysis in Construction

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Construction software among many other technological innovations has cut down on reporting time, improved firm communications, made sites safer, and increased project efficiency. The problem is that we've gone from an industry where we were all oohing and ahhing over laser levels to having Robbie the Robot as a co-worker seemingly overnight. That's a lot of construction tech to embrace all at once.

And the problem is not that construction workers don't know to operate all of this nifty technology, say industry experts, but that they're unclear on how to interpret and analyze the data that they're being given. As a result, they're acquiring lots of technology, but not getting maximum benefit from much of it. Scotty has the Enterprise's "Computer" to help get him out of tough jams. Might there be similar relief for construction firms?

Predictive analytics is a statistical process that incorporates data from multiple sources to show how something operates historically, currently, and in the future. By using this Construction Data Analytics system, a project manager could predict and avoid delays as well as manpower and equipment shortages, and bring more projects in on time. To this end, the American arm of the construction technology giant Skanska Technologies is participating in several pilot programs in which digitally collected data is submitted, analyzed, and incorporated into the same report. Tony Colonna, who is heading the Skanska USA's program said that construction provides a unique challenge because of its constantly changing needs and environments. Other challenges towards making predictive analysis programs as much of a fixture at sites as a backhoe operator? Industry technology prejudices and the immediate ability to see value in this technology.

For instance, Raken provides weather updates for three different times throughout the day on jobsites. Through collecting weather data and analyzing it later for a job at a site that has a relative location to the site where the prior data was collected, a construction firm can predict which conditions might force them to take preventative action.

To make the advantages of predictive analytics easier to appreciate and access, construction technology companies are currently working on analytic platforms that will immediately return easy to understand information and directions from collected data. This work has been slowed down due to the necessity of including many different types of data. But the day is approaching when one will track down the location and availability of workers and equipment in real time by tapping a single command into a mobile device. And by developing the software in the construction industry that allows these analytic programs to be accessed with the mobile devices we’re increasingly comfortable with, it’s hoped that the construction industry will continue to boldly go into the digital (and paperless) future.

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