Why be aware of digital technologies in the construction sector?

The power of digital technologies

Within the last few decades, digital technologies have created disruption in a number of sectors. In sectors as diverse as retail, finance, hotels and transport, well-renowned companies have been forced to change their way of doing business - or accept a loss of market lead.

Digital technologies are especially powerful because they have the ability to break down barriers between traditional industries and markets. Their digital nature make them less dependent on physical assets, and hereby also less constrained by typical sector boundaries. This changes the competitive landscape for established companies. These companies now need to be aware of the technologies, customers and competitors entering from outside traditional markets.

Disruption of the construction sector

Digital technologies are now expected to disrupt the construction sector. The sheer size of the construction sector makes it important on a global scale (construction-related spending accounts for 13 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product). Nevertheless, this sector is often criticized for having a lower labour productivity than (nearly) any other sector.

Digital technologies such as internet of things, 3D printing and robotics have the potential to increase productivity of the construction sector, and improve performance of the built environment. However, these technologies may also create disruptive changes to the current work processes, products, services, contracts and organisational structures. Established construction companies therefore need a tool for gauging how digital technologies may affect the future of their sector.