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July 14, 2020

How COVID-19 has Changed Tech Adoption

covid19techPrior to the COVID-19 epidemic, the construction industry was still considered one of the slower moving industries as it related to adopting new technologies. Even with the abundance of new platforms that utilized cloud computing and software as a service to drive down costs and enhance ease of deployment, many construction businesses still resisted the need to grow their technology investments.

COVID-19, despite the numerous negatives it brought to the global economy and businesses of all sizes, does have one silver lining: it showed companies how quickly they could change when faced with the prospect of their revenue stream falling off a cliff or stopping entirely. The need to adapt rapidly became crystal clear, and the typical pace at which big changes were implemented in the past became a distant memory.

Construction companies and building owners that accepted the challenge of addressing the COVID-19 impact head-on were able to quickly improvise solutions that kept their jobsites open. From on-site temperature testing to alarms that track whether workers are encroaching on the six-foot rule for distance between each other, new technology has enabled some jobsites to open sooner than others due to some construction companies’ forward-looking approach.

Let’s look at some of these novel solutions and their impact on construction technology adoption overall.

Pivoting to Keep Operations Humming

In some cases, the developer behind the project was responsible for footing the bill to incorporate the necessary monitoring solutions outlined by various federal health agencies. While the cost to do so may have seemed high at first, the alternative was to shut down the jobsite entirely – which has significantly higher costs over the long term.

Some of the technology that was deployed on the jobsite included infrared cameras that made it possible to take worker temperatures far more quickly than if the developer had relied on traditional manual methods of temperature taking. There are obvious parallels here to a construction company’s everyday approach to technology, as many firms still rely on manual processes to collect and track data. In addition to being cumbersome, manual processes are also prone to errors during data entry and take far more time to record compared to automated processes. If anything, the need to record worker temperatures helped shine a spotlight on the need to be open to technology tools that prioritize automation over conventional human-centric data entry.

Another significant transition that companies across all industries utilized was the migration to Microsoft Teams meetings, a virtual platform where team members can see and hear each other as if they were sitting across from one another in real time. While there may have been some doubts among more traditional businesses about its ability to migrate to a remote platform, construction collaboration software has always placed an emphasis on staying together even when the jobsite and the home office are nowhere near each other.

Tools like Microsoft Teams made it easy to transition to a remote work environment, and the construction industry was likely better positioned than others for this adjustment given it already operates in a model that has workers both in the home office and stationed remotely. With many team members scattered across multiple regions, leading construction companies have already embraced cloud-based collaboration tools that promote connectivity via an internet-based platform in order to make decisions quickly in real-time and ensure every project team member is kept current with jobsite updates given the ease with which project milestones and challenges can be shared.

Just like almost any major construction project management platform purchase, the investment in infrared cameras and remote video conferencing platforms are likely a respectable investment. But the potential for lost revenue from jobsites shutting down or workers getting sick far outweighed those one-time costs. 

Lessons Learned from COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed the modern workforce forever, from perceptions about health and personal responsibility to the need to have a physical workforce reporting to a building every day with maintenance and insurance costs. While some aspects of the modern jobsite won’t change in the short-term, other aspects will and still more will certainly be under the lens for further discussion.

Request a Demo Today

Technology has already shown how it can improve health outcomes through accurate and safe temperature monitoring. Construction software is likewise well-positioned to drive improved results in both productivity and profitability for companies committed to making these important pivots. To find out how construction management technology from Sage can change your company for the better, contact us today for a free virtual software demonstration.

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