Disruptive construction technologies to drive companies to re-evaluate their investments
October 1, 2018
Adopting disruptive technologies will lead to greater operational efficiencies for construction companies
Professionals gathered in Dubai for the first Construction Technology Forum, organized by Ventures Connect, where attendees heard from experts detailing the concepts and application of new technologies designed to disrupt the region’s existing construction landscape.
The two day forum was held last week at the Address Hotel Dubai Marina to provide insights on how adopting technology can reduce operational costs, boost productivity and enhance overall quality across all elements of the industry supply-chain.
Discussions touched on how Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) will all play a crucial role in the region's construction industry in the coming years, compelling many companies to re-evaluate their investments, as well as their employee numbers.
Highlights included a talk by Muhab M. Benten, Building Technologies Stimulus Program, Director-General, from the Ministry of Housing - Saudi Arabia, detailing efforts to introduce new technologies and streamline the building process to meet the kingdom’s housing demand; a panel discussion on training, looking at how to prepare employees for jobs that don’t exist yet, which included distinguished speakers from Roland Berger, Expo2020, American University of Dubai and Khalifa University of Science, Technology & Research; and a presentation by Herbert Fuchs, Chief Information Officer, ASGC on using IoT to improve labor productivity in construction, among others.
Attendees heard from Bader Mohammad Belselah, acting Director of Aviation & Airports Safety Department, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority on regulation for drones and their use by businesses in the UAE, which could greatly benefit construction project surveying and monitoring, reducing labor costs and time to delivery.
Conference speakers emphasized the need for new on-the-job skills as the industry prepares for the adoption of disruptive technologies that will be implemented in various stages of the construction process. Change will be felt first in the back office rather than on the construction site, they said, as digitalisation and connectivity software will bring new opportunities through data analytics, turning that data into actionable intelligence that can be used for faster, more cost-effective decision making.
"Choosing the right technology is essential, however more importantly, the construction industry needs to have a clear vision on what it really wants to achieve by applying new technologies and not do it for the sake of applying technology," said Ahmad Kabra, CEO, Ventures Middle East. "With marginal profits in the construction industry, companies should use technology to innovate ways to gain additional efficiencies, thus increasing profitability of projects rather than using that as a reason not to invest in technology."
Real world examples included topics on how to apply technology to monitor the movement and use of equipment and people. In a heavily vehicle-dominated transport sector, talks explored how to implement vehicle monitoring technology, methods to optimize traffic information using analytics and predictive technology to prepare the region for widespread use of AI and autonomous vehicles.