2020 Construction Trends: Where are we now?

Back in January, we published a list of construction trends set to take the industry by storm in 2020. Now, in September, we know this year has not gone exactly ‘as planned’. However, this week we’re looking back at those trends to see how 2020 has shaped up for the construction industry.

Construction Trend: Augmented Reality

What we said:

Augmented Reality (AR) Technology has been growing for some years now. The technology allows computer generated images to be super-imposed onto a user’s view of the real world. The most common use of AR in everyday life is arguably satnav systems, found in most modern cars and smartphones. In the Construction Industry, AR has already played a part in architectural plans, bringing 2D blueprints to life using AR glasses or headsets. The technology brings multiple other benefits to the Construction Industry. Most notably, recent years have seen AR being used to aid teams with real-time onsite decisions. Programmes using AR technology can be used to give measurements of a space’s physical properties, allowing workers to ensure that measurements of the intended build match the measurements of the components they are dealing with. This use of AR allows problems in a project to be assessed and corrected quickly.

What’s happened:

AR Technology has proved to be valuable to the construction industry for a multitude of reasons. Most critically because it is as just as useful off of a jobsite as on. In 2020 we’ve seen AR take on a new role in construction. With many shows postponed or cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. AR is allowing companies to host virtual shows. Most recently NexTech AR Solutions, an emerging leader in augmented reality for eCommerce, AR learning applications, AR-enhanced video conferencing and virtual events, have announced that Fenestration Digital, one the UK’s leading construction & media platforms, has chosen InfernoAR for five virtual trade show events in 2020/21.


Construction Trend: Internet of Things

What we said:

Cloud collaboration requires investment in the Internet of Things (IoT). This technology, which allows machinery with sensors installed to monitor operating conditions, performance, and physical states, has been funded by the Construction Plant Industry for a few years now. In the next decade, it is expected that IoT will become integral to the way in which the industry operates.

IoT allows operators to monitor the performance of their fleet. In addition, the IoT enables efficient equipment servicing and repairs. Preventing failure is more efficient than repairing issues after they have already occurred. Already, buying a new piece of equipment from companies such as JCB, Caterpillar, and Komatsu, involves the option for telematic solutions as standard.

What’s happened:

Covid-19 has altered the way construction sites require running. With restrictions resulting in less people on the site, connected machinery has never been more important. The ability to view machinery data from a safe distance gives site managers the tools to run projects safely in a difficult time.

Construction Trend: Green Technology

What we said:

Environmentally friendly equipment is a fast-growing sector of the Construction Industry. As public and political pressure continues to grow around issues such as global warming and climate change, the whole of the Construction Industry is making strides to lower carbon emissions. In October 2019, at the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) Conference, CPA Chief Kevin Minton expressed that the Industry is experiencing increased pressure to be more Eco Friendly in the next decade as ‘the demand for environmentally friendly practices continues’.

What’s happened:

Of all these construction trends, this is perhaps the fastest growing. Already in 2020, a host of companies have released machinery utilising green technology. From Volvo’s ECR25 Electric Compact Excavator and L25 Electric compact wheel loader, to JCB’s 20-tonne 220X excavator powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, we can already see this trend taking a firm hold.

Construction Trend: Autonomous Machinery

TA15 autonomous electric hauler
TA15 autonomous electric hauler winner of Red Dot Award for product design

What we said:

With new technology obviously a priority for the Construction Industry, it’s no question that Autonomous Machinery will become a leading trend throughout the next decade. Reports supporting this sentiment suggest that the Autonomous Construction Equipment Market is expected to grow with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 28.6% during the 2018 to 2026 forecast period.

What’s happened:

During 2020, companies have already released autonomous machinery solutions. Other companies, such as Volvo CE, have launched branches specifically focussed on the commercialisation of autonomous machinery. In June the company won a Red Dot award for the TA15 autonomous electric hauler. Meanwhile, Hitachi’s ZCORE operating system has been developed to ‘facilitate the development of autonomous construction equipment and enhance its functionality’. In the future the company hopes to utilize ZCORE on autonomous hydraulic excavators, wheel loaders and rigid dump trucks.

Video Courtesy of Hitachi Construction Machinery Global

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