Why the desire for real time visibility has increased by 4.7 times since 2016

The volume of interest in real time site visibility has increased by 471% since 2016 [Google Trends, see figure 1].

Figure 1. Data source:
Google Trends Interest (yearly average of weekly interest)


In 2016, the McKinsey Global Institute found the construction industry to be one of the least digitised industries in the world [source]. In the short time since then, the appetite for technology in the construction industry has dramatically increased. A 2018 publication by McKinsey [source] showed that investment into construction technology had ballooned to over $10 billion in less than a decade.

In 2016, the McKinsey Global Institute found the construction industry to be one of the least digitised industries in the world [source]. In the short time since then, the appetite for technology in the construction industry has dramatically increased. A 2018 publication by McKinsey [source] showed that investment into construction technology had ballooned to over $10 billion in less than a decade.

One of the most notable trends in construction technology is the adoption of real time visibility. In this article, we unpack why it has become so popular.

#1 Site safety & risk mitigation

Real time site visibility can prevent injuries and deaths by enabling proactive safety practices. Site safety involves everyone on site, and it requires that site attendees fully engage with the safety information and processes presented to them.

Communication is at the front line of safety. Real time safety systems can deliver communications promptly, and also show site managers and safety managers who is engaging with safety process such as inductions/orientations and safety briefings. Consequently, the risks of those who are unengaged can be quickly managed.

In the event that there is an incident, being aware in real time allows for a rapid response.

#2 Enhanced project & site monitoring

Keeping a pulse on project productivity across multiple sites from an office is a challenging task. Traditional solutions have required taking the time to visit sites or making a series of phone calls. Real time technology enables Project Managers and Directors to stay informed of site activity from their computers, with a direct data feed.

#3 Labour resource management

Inadequate labour resourcing is a major risk for construction projects. Traditionally, being informed on resourcing has been a passive process of reviewing manually collected data such as timesheets or site visits at end-of-day.

Real time site attendance technology provides an instantaneous and historical view of labour effort at individual sites, and also across the business project portfolio. Project managers are able to actively determine if resources need to increased, decreased or reallocated between projects/sites.

#4 Managing fatigue-driven rework risk

One of the major causes of rework is human error. Given the physically demanding nature of construction sites, and their complex environment, fatigue presents a significant risk.

A real time view of the workforce and their time spend on site allows Project Managers and Supervisors to manage over-work of those on site.

#5 Improved client & stakeholder communication

Project Managers need clear and accurate information to communicate project progress, risks and inputs to their clients and stakeholders.

Real time visibility puts this information right at their fingertips of Project Managers and Directors, instead of the passive information from a third-party on site.

Conclusion

Real time site visibility presents a major opportunity for the construction industry. However, it is an opportunity with complexity, from multiple technology types, highly varying costs and implementation challenges.

In the next article, we will unpack the different real time visibility technologies that have emerged. To get early access to the article, sign up to our Construction Technology mailing list.

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