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U.S. construction companies not embracing technology: KPMG survey

U.S. construction companies not embracing technology: KPMG survey

Contractors fall short on adopting robotics, drones, RFID technology, and mobile technology.


September 16, 2016
NEW YORK, Sept. 14, 2016 – U.S. construction companies are not embracing technological advancements, such as drone aircrafts, robotics, RFID equipment and materials tracking, and data analytics, according to KPMG International’s Global Construction Survey 2016, “Building a technology advantage (http://bit.ly/2d0zNSb).
 
The KPMG survey found that nearly half of organizations use multiple software platforms that are manually monitored, rather than a single, fully integrated project management information aystem (PMIS). When it comes to mobile technology and platforms, while most use remote monitoring on projects, 19% do not use mobile technology at all. Among those who do utilize mobile technology for projects, nearly 40% do not have them linked to an integrated system or broader enterprise-wide project management system.
 
“The survey responses reflect the industry’s innate conservatism towards technologies, with most firms content to follow rather than lead,” says Geno Armstrong, International Sector Leader, Engineering & Construction, KPMG in the U.S. “Many lack a clear technology strategy, and either adopt it in a piecemeal fashion, or not at all. The rapidly evolving infrastructure challenges of the next decade demands that both owners and engineering and construction firms embrace technology more strategically and at a far more rapid pace than in the past.”
 
In the KPMG study, two-thirds of respondents (67%) said they could not push one button on their desktop to obtain fully integrated real-time data on a project. Seventy percent do not use robotic or automated technology; most have no plans to use it in the future. In addition to traditional cost and schedule analytics, 65% do not use data analytics for any other aspects of their organizations’ projects.
 
“Integrated, real-time project reporting is still a myth, rather than a reality for most,” said Armstrong. “That’s largely because firms tend to use multiple software platforms that are manually monitored and disconnected, which severely compromises their effectiveness.”
 

A solid majority of respondents (61%) said their companies use building information modeling on projects.

On the bright side, 36% of construction executives surveyed said they felt construction has emerged from the recession and is starting to grow. Nearly a fourth (24%) said that things are looking up for all participants. Another 27% indicated that discrete segments are growing fast. Only 13% said they are seeing market declines or no growth in the past year.

 
Armstrong feels that embracing technology and innovation is a sure way to improve results. “Projects are becoming bigger, bolder and more complex – and with complexity comes risk,” he said. “Innovations like remote monitoring, automation and visualization have enormous potential to speed up project progress, improve accuracy and safety.”
 
About the survey
Building a technology advantage – Global Construction Survey 2016 highlights the views of over 200 senior executives from major project owners and engineering and construction companies – over 50 of which are in the U.S. The report looks at how the industry is embracing a range of technologies including data and analytics, robotics, drones, remote monitoring and visualization. The survey, now in its 10th year, includes both private companies and government agencies, with project owners from many industries including energy and natural resources, technology and healthcare. 

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