Software gives "strategic advantage" but quarter missing out
More than three-quarters of construction executives believe software gives them a "strategic advantage" but around a quarter are missing critical tools that could help them do their jobs, according to the first annual Preconstruction Technology Report from Stack.
The survey involved 948 industry professionals, predominantly from small and mid-range businesses, across the US and internationally.
The majority are optimistic, with 60% of respondents expecting 2021 revenue to grow, and 55% have noticed an increase in project volume.
Curiously, for all the digital acceleration and remote working arising from the pandemic, 66% saw no change in technology usage. But there was no doubting the importance of software with 76.7% saying it provides "a strategic advantage for me and my company".
While 23% said they had all the software tools they needed, 40% were also happy but noted "there are other tools I'd like". The three highest obstacles to tech adoption were lack of time or resources (46%), no budget available (24%) and resistance from employees (12%).
When it comes to quantifying materials and calculating jobs costs for projects, three quarters of respondents are still using the manual methods of spreadsheets or pen and paper, or a combination of those methods with software.
Most survey participants who are using field tracking software report satisfaction with the tool’s performance; however, nearly 70% of respondents are not currently leveraging software to track production rates on active projects, and 77% say there is an increased need for sharing project data in the field.
Most respondents use accounting software to manage project financials during and after the build phase (66%), while some do continue to augment this with spreadsheets or pen and paper.
Teams are still overwhelmingly communicating via email throughout the project lifecycle (93%), and a large majority also use text messaging (71%).
Three important conclusions are construction professionals do not just pick one way to work; collaboration and relationships are key; and the need for construction technology is not slowing down.
"With this significant increase in technology adoption, we expect ease-of-use and user experience to become top of mind for leaders looking to expand their tech stack," the report concludes. "From CEOs to estimators to those working in the field, technology needs to supplement and speed up existing workflows, not hold them back with high learning curves."
XYZ Reality receives £20m to develop Assisted Reality
Founded in 2017, XYZ Reality aims to "revolutionise" the construction sector with its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality (AR) solution, Holosite.
Designed to enable an on time and on budget delivery of construction projects, by eliminating building errors, HoloSite has been available to select customers through an early access programme and has already been used on projects totalling a value of over £1.5bn in the last year.
With approximately 98% of construction megaprojects facing cost overruns or delays and 7-11% of project costs being spent on correcting errors, XYZ Reality’s purpose-built integrated AR solution directly addresses these issues.
With its safety certified AR hardhat, cloud platform and in-built proprietary software, Holosite accurately positions high fidelity 3D design models on construction sites, enabling teams to build it right, first time. The technology system has been used on complex construction projects including data centres, pharmaceutical facilities and airports.
This funding will be used to accelerate the company’s ambition of transforming projects by preparing for HoloSite’s commercial launch in the USA and continuing investment in strengthening research and development. The company is also growing its London team to include key hires across technology, manufacturing, sales and marketing.
David Mitchell, Founder and CEO of XYZ Reality, said developing its engineering-Grade AR solution helping construction teams identify errors in real-time is just the start.
"The next phase is Assisted Reality, where our spatial computing technology will have the intelligence to automatically detect and report issues in the field. And ultimately, the goal is builders building from holograms. Our vision of developing world changing products aligns with Octopus Ventures’ mission of investing in companies that are powering the next industrial revolution. We look forward to building history.”
The latest round of funding is led by Octopus Ventures, one of the largest and most active venture investors in Europe, known for its commitment of investing in companies and founders that are changing the world. Octopus Ventures has a strong track record, spanning investment in health, fintech, consumer, B2B software, and deep tech. This includes WaveOptics, one of Octopus Ventures’ early investments in Augmented Reality, which was recently acquired by Snap Inc.
Rebecca Hunt, early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures, said: "We’ve always invested in entrepreneurs leading industry change and XYZ is doing just that. It's solving a massive problem that costs the construction industry billions every year, using its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality solution to spearhead a shift in the sector’s approach. The founding team of David, Umar and Murray have deep domain and technical expertise, which we believe makes XYZ uniquely placed to drive this transformation.”
XYZ Reality also announces a new partnership with Mace, for the construction of a hyper-scale data centre in Europe. With speed to market being particularly essential for mission critical builds, HoloSite’s AR technology will have a significant role in supporting an accurate and time effective build for Mace, which last week appointed Jon McElroy its new Managing Director for International Technology.
Mace Technical Director, Stephen Henley, said: “Mace has built a reputation of redefining the boundaries of ambition, always bringing efficiency, innovation and responsibility to our projects. With the implementation of XYZ’s groundbreaking AR system, we continue to be committed to delivering projects faster, safer and better than ever before.”
Five years ago, Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs Research expected virtual and augmented reality to become an $80 billion market by 2025.
But according to new research by global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, nearly 28 million augmented and mixed reality smart glasses will ship in 2026, while the total global AR/MR market will surpass $175 billion in the same year.
"Major tech players across hardware, software, and services look familiar in the consumer space, contributing to strong and consistent overall growth," says Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director for ABI Research. "Those big tech names, with active investment and product ranging from already available, to announced, to all-but-announced, are creating a consumer AR market that will be dynamic and welcoming rather than struggling and immature."