With many businesses across the globe hoping that this year will be markedly better than 2020, Patrick Scannell from construction technology company, Buildots, gives insight into the big talking points for 2021 and the growing impact technology is having on the construction sector

Were there any unexpected highlights of 2020?

It is safe to say that for many of us 2020 was a year of ups and downs. For construction technology company, Buildots, the year proved to be positive – we expanded into three continents, secured a new round of investment funding and hired our 50th employee with the new members of staff spanning customer success, sales and marketing, and research and operations. Considering we are in a pandemic we have been very fortunate to see such growth.

What is your focus for 2021?

As with all businesses Buildots has many things to think about this year, but the key aspects are our growth and project delivery. As well as our work in the UK and Europe, we currently have two projects in Hong Kong, one in Japan and two in the US. We hope to continue to secure new work in all territories into 2021.

Technology is a bridge to human connection during a time of social isolation. Do you think tech adoption will continue to rise over the next 12 months?

Without a doubt, the pandemic accelerated the use of technology in construction. We could say the industry was at a tipping point and the pandemic was the final nudge. Applications such as Teams and Zoom are household names. Tech has been hugely impactful, and because of this people have become more tech-savvy.

Construction has been regarded as second only to agriculture as the slowest adopter of tech, yet this is changing. A lot of heads have been turned. Key stakeholders who were once sceptical are now recognising the huge benefits, especially the difference tech is making to productivity and collaboration.

Has Buildots felt the effects of this rise in uptake?

Certainly. Construction directors are talking about the Buildots brand, and saying to their peers that we’re doing cool things on our projects. That is very valuable to us.

AI is evolving and automation is becoming increasingly sophisticated. In turn, our users onsite are reaping the benefits, and are consistently impressed with the capability of Buildots’ technology.

What will be the talking points for 2021?

I predict that it will be a good year for construction technology. BIM adoption is growing year on year, and this is something that will continue in momentum during the coming months.

The biggest question marks will be in terms of the return to office working, particularly in big cities. So many buildings are vacant. Is that going to slow down commercial projects? Perhaps. This is a consideration we should definitely be mindful of, whether it happens is a separate thing entirely.

I think a lot of us are being cautiously optimistic this year. Hopefully, the vaccine roll-out will make things markedly better. Aside from the pandemic there are lots of questions around Brexit, the effect of which is hard to feel considering we’re only a month in and still settling in.

All in all, 2021 will be a great year for construction technology. It’s an exciting time to work in this part of the industry, and we look forward to what’s in store.

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