Data-Driven Construction

September 03, 2013

Data is the key to running an effective construction business these days. In many cases, how a company handles data collection and management can have a big impact on the bottomline—especially in today’s world that is inundated by devices. But how can you effectively access and control data in a highly mobile world?

For the construction industry, this trend can be summed up in two words: Big Data. The proliferation of data is beginning hit construction in a big way, creating the need to manage all this information. Many technology companies offer software and systems to manage data, and the market is growing. Transparency Market Research, www.transparencymarketresearch.com, Albany, New York, says the global Big Data market was worth $6.3 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach $48.3 billion by 2018, which is a compound annual growth rate of 40.5%.

While there are a number of different types of software, hardware, services, and storage that can help manage data on a job, the first step is creating a strategy and processes related to data—especially when that information needs to be accessed both in the office and on mobile devices at the jobsite.

When creating a corporate strategy around app selection and implementation and mobile data-management, Cameron Jahn, product marketing manager, Citrix ShareFile, www.sharefile.com, Raleigh, N.C., points to a few key factors. “First, consider how easy the implementation process will be. IT resources are already stretched thin in most organizations,” says Jahn. “Next, think about how long it will take to get your team fully trained on the new application.”

He goes on to suggest companies should also consider worst-case scenarios. He says, “What happens if someone in your organization needs technical support? Some cloud-software companies skimp on customer support, so ensure your service includes access to technical experts 24/7.”

Another trend that could have an impact on accessing data at the jobsite: BYOA (bring your own application). ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, Oyster Bay, N.Y., says enterprises supporting BYOD (bring your own device) should also consider BYOA.

Jason McNicol, senior analyst, ABI Research, says widespread adoption of BYOD has led to an influx of third-party apps being used to support business functions; instead of blacklisting these apps, enterprises are embracing these apps through the enterprise app store.

Whether on a mobile device at the jobsite or on a computer in the office, capturing and analyzing data can help the construction industry prepare for future growth. Interested in learning more about Big Data and its role in the construction industry? This year’s Technology Day conference, being held on October 4 in Santa Clara, Calif., will help uncover the ways in which the construction industry can prepare to build with Big Data.