Accenture: Digital technologies could unlock £89bn for UK construction industry
According to new research from Accenture, UK-based construction companies could unlock approximately £89bn in value throughout the next ten years by turning more readily to digital technologies.
This equates to a further 7% in value throughout the industry, with technologies providing £6.1bn worth of new revenue opportunities and a reduction in costs by as much as £82.8bn.
“Most construction companies we work with recognise that digital technologies can drive transformation and growth, but many aren’t yet realising this potential,” said Ben Salama, Managing Director at Accenture Digital. “This research quantifies the potential prize for industry, individuals and society if they get this right.”
In calculating this hidden potential, Accenture worked with the World Economic Forum to develop a methodology that looks to understand the value of digital transformation, both societally and industrially.
From this, Accenture created the concept of Industry X.0 – the digital reinvention of industry where businesses incorporate advanced technologies across their operations.
“The solution is what we call Industry X.0, an action plan for embracing profiting and profiting from technological change,” Salama continued. “More than just transforming into digital businesses, construction companies must look at how to reinvent operating models, production and value chains.”
Currently, only 13% of respondents in Accenture’s survey of 931 executives feel that they are seeing greater efficiency and growth as a result of technological investments, whilst 80% are looking to work towards greater efficiency, growth and new experiences.
In this sense, technology holds the potential for a significant number of UK construction firms.
SafeAI attracts $21m funding as SmartMix AI tool launches
SafeAI is driving the transformation of the mining and construction industries through connected, autonomous sites. With chronic labour shortages, unsafe working conditions and frequent project delays, these industries are in a unique position to benefit from autonomy.
Unlike on-road applications of the technology, autonomous heavy equipment operates in controlled environments, which means companies can create smarter, safer, more productive project sites today that create meaningful, near-term impact.
“We are at a tipping point for autonomous heavy equipment,” said Bibhrajit Halder, founder and CEO at SafeAI. “We’ve proven that autonomy makes work sites significantly safer and more productive; now, we are on the cusp of mass adoption. Together with our valued partners, customers and investors, we’re poised to deploy autonomy in off-road industries like construction and mining, at scale, to rethink the way heavy industry operates.”
Heavy industry is a large, growing global market, ripe for disruption. The construction equipment market alone is valued at $140 billion, and expected to increase to $175 billion by 2025; construction-related spending accounts for a staggering 13% of global GDP, or $11.5 trillion.
But there remains significant room for growth; in construction alone, higher productivity could create an estimated $1.6 trillion in additional value. With just 25% of the infrastructure needed by 2050 in existence today, autonomy can bridge this productivity gap with greater efficiency and 24/7 operations. SafeAI is at the forefront of this transformation.
“There’s a tremendous amount of excitement in the autonomy space today; but it’s clear the biggest opportunity for this technology is off-road,” said Mark Blackwell, General Partner at Builders VC. “With its industry-leading autonomous software, scalable retrofit approach and partner ecosystem, SafeAI is uniquely poised to capitalize on this opportunity. We’re proud to support the company in its next chapter of growth as demand for autonomous heavy equipment continues to skyrocket.”
New investors LTC, DG Ventures, MACA and Vimson Group, and existing investors Autotech Ventures, Brick and Mortar Ventures, Embark Ventures, Monta Vista Capital and Obayashi Corporation, also participated in the round. The funding comes on the heels of a year of rapid growth for SafeAI, including new partnerships with Obayashi, Goodyear and Macnica, and expansion into Australia’s booming mining market.
A pilot program with Obayashi Corporation last November saw a Caterpillar 725 articulated dump truck autonomously complete a vital on-site function and carry out load-haul-dump cycles.
Giatec debuts SmartMix AI tool
Giatec has debuted what it claims is the world's first concrete AI tool for producers, SmartMix. The web-based AI tool allows producers to optimise concrete ingredient proportions, reduce cement usage, and predict the performance of their mixes while still meeting project specifications.
Giatec believes this tool will lower Greenhouse Gas emissions resulting from concrete production by 400 million tons annually, the equivalent of taking 110 million cars off the road.
SmartMix builds on Giatec's first AI software program Roxi, which has collected millions of data points from the company's SmartRock wireless concrete sensors across 8,000 projects and 80 countries.
Giatec's head of research and development, Andrew Fahim, said the new technologies are going to pave the path forward for the industry to meet increasing infrastructure demands.