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No tech predictions here—there are too many sharks in the water

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February 28, 2016 |
Sasha Reed

Typically at the beginning of the year, I like to do my own assessment of what to predict from the tech space.  Before I read the headlines from CES or any of the tech bloggers, I try and look into the future based on my observations and interactions from the year before.  If I’m lucky, I’m able to define trends and therefore “predict” where moves may be made.  This year, I struggled a bit to find inspiration to go through the exercise.  As I took stock of the product launches, adoptions and acquisitions within the tech space for 2015, it seemed to me that the proliferation of apps within the marketplace had changed things quite a bit. All this activity had kicked up some murkiness in my crystal ball.  So instead of adding to the early-year predictions, I chose to sit back and observe. 

So far, my early observations have led me to form a hypothesis: there is a shift taking place – a shift from excitement over new products to buzz surrounding potential mergers, integrations and partnerships between companies.  

So, wait…how is this different than business as usual, you ask?  Well, for many business leaders within the AEC industry, this may be the moment they’ve been waiting for—to see which tech companies can offer long-term viability and potentially begin bridging the gaps within their tech portfolios.  Looking at the lineup at CES, it was easy to be distracted by the new shiny objects on display. However, the truth of the matter is that many of these new products and companies, for good or bad, will survive or fail based on how well they know their market, how quickly they gain adoption, and how successful they are at building a sustainable product.  That makes choosing a new technology a very risky proposition...unless you know how to observe the market and look for products positioning themselves.

Instead of predicting who will survive and who will fail, I’ve turned my attention towards observing.  And because patience isn’t my strong suit, I quickly moved from observing to researching.  I found this insightful article, The Five Most Disruptive Innovations at CES 2016.  This line specifically caught my attention:

“So instead of disruptive individual products, this year we’re grouping our findings into the most disruptive trends we saw this year, all of which cross several traditional industry boundaries (a trend in itself).” 

The landscape has indeed changed.  The proliferation of apps and new technologies is more distracting than ever, making the work of cutting through the noise and balancing short-term gains against long-term business objectives tougher than ever.  However, the observations noted in the article referenced above gave clues as to which “trends” we should be paying attention to.  For the AEC industry specifically, the most powerful trend is probably #2, Providers become platforms.

“Smart incumbents seeing the inevitable will position themselves for flexibility, becoming virtual platforms that allow their core expertise to be quickly redeployed to new business with new partners.”

Understanding whether or not a tech company you’re looking into is poised to bridge your tech portfolio gaps your organization is critical.  Still, with so many apps gaining rapid adoption, how can you be sure who will be successful in building a sustainable technology ecosystem?

In part 2, I’ll dive into new disruption models which may offer some further clues.  

Sasha Reed | StrXur by Bluebeam
Bluebeam, Inc.
Vice President of Strategic Development

As Vice President of Strategic Development at Bluebeam, Inc., Sasha Reed collaborates with leaders in the architecture, engineering and construction industry to guide Bluebeam’s technology, partnerships and long-term goals. She joined Bluebeam in 2007 and co-created the Concierge Approach, a distinctly branded process of customer engagement, product feedback and solution delivery to which much of Bluebeam’s success is attributed, and which today is replicated at every organizational level.

Sasha is known industry-wide as a “conversation facilitator,” creating platforms for exchanges necessary to digitally advance the industry, including the BD+C Magazine Digital COM Blog, which she authors and manages. She’s been a featured presenter at numerous national and international conferences, including the 2014 Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), Federal Project Delivery Symposium and NTI Danish BIM Conference. Sasha also co-chairs the Construction PDF Coalition, a grassroots effort to provide a common industry framework from which to create and maintain construction PDF documents, serves on the City College of San Francisco BIM Industry Council, and is Advisor to the Board of Direction for the National Institute of Building Sciences BuildingSMART Alliance.

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