Thoughts on what it means for us, and our industry.
When I got the news that Versatile had been named a 2020 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, my immediate reaction was to tell my team as soon as possible. We’ve all put our hearts, souls, and sweat into Versatile’s success, and this was clearly a milestone we should celebrate together. (Although in our current reality, “together” means a videoconference across not just time zones, but continents.)
But beyond our own team, it quickly began to feel like an important moment for the construction industry, as a whole. After all, the WEF defines Technology Pioneers as “start-up and growth-stage companies with the potential to significantly impact business and society through the design, development, and deployment of new technologies.”
In past years, Google has made the list. Same for Spotify, Twitter, Airbnb, and Mozilla. So, to have a construction tech company included for the first time feels like validation for our industry — an acknowledgment that construction tech is finally becoming mainstream.
Where we’ve been
Admittedly, the construction industry has historically been slow to adopt new technologies. Growing up in a construction family, I learned at an early age that there’s a lot of pride and tradition involved — ways of working handed down from generation to generation. What I’m seeing today as I talk to customers is that we must deliver solutions that honor their hard-earned experience, and elevate their instincts for effectively managing construction sites.
That’s exactly what our CraneView® technology delivers — visibility and insights into jobsite operations that help construction pros do the things they already excel at, even better. When they understand that our technology can improve jobsite productivity, efficiency, and safety without fundamentally changing how they work, they are generally excited about putting it to work.
Where we’re headed
Seeing firsthand that the construction industry is already embracing new technologies, not only from Versatile but also from a host of our industry peers, is encouraging. But the transformation I envision has only just begun. I believe that much in the way that auto manufacturing works today, construction will become a synchronized sequence of processes, delivering control, change, and production at scale. Using rich data sets, we will develop a deeper understanding of these processes, enabling construction professionals to control the environment, instead of it controlling them.
What will it all mean? Safer, faster, and more cost-effective ways to build the homes, offices, factories, and other structures we need to thrive in cities, and beyond. We’ve made great strides in that direction, as our inclusion in the WEF Tech Pioneers community demonstrates, but there is still much work to be done.
I, for one, am excited by the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.
So, what do you think?
Where do you think construction tech is headed? Send me an email at email@example.com, and I’ll do my best to address your comments in a future blog post.