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4 Ways To Future-Proof Your AEC Business

Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing every market. According to Statista, global spending on digital transformation technologies and services increased 10.4% in 2020 to $1.3 trillion. A 2021 Board of Directors survey revealed that 86% agree rapid digital transformation is a key priority, and 69% accelerated digital business initiatives in response to COVID-19.

The Architecture, Engineering & Construction industry is no exception: 98% of AEC businesses agree that digital solutions are critical to the future viability of their companies. Small- and medium-sized businesses comprise 90% of the construction market, and without the deep pockets of an enterprise-sized organization, the construction industry is one of the least digitized industries. The lack of digitization has contributed to the AEC sector’s decreasing productivity, costing the industry an annual estimate of $1.6 trillion.

To move forward into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, architects, engineering firms, and construction companies must embrace digital business operations. Here’s four ways AEC businesses can jumpstart their digital transformation journeys.

Technology

The Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Twins, and Building Information Modeling (BIM) are a few of the advanced technologies revolutionizing the AEC industry, improving timelines, collaboration, and productivity. The total number of IoT connections will reach 83 billion by 2024, and sensors will reach $27 billion by 2022. Utilizing data from IoT devices, digital twins can improve productivity 50-60%. Additionally, 49% of builders use BIM, and 82% of users report positive ROI. The other 51% of builders will likely invest in BIM soon as the market is projected to reach $13.2 billion by the end of 2024. Working to keep up with such advanced technologies, networks are more vulnerable to crashes, resulting in data loss and delayed project timelines. In fact, system downtime costs $5,600 per minute on average, reports Gartner, and an hour can amount to $140,000 to $540,000 depending on the organization.

The high-performance computational power of the CPUs, GPUs, and SSD drives demands a healthy IT network. An AEC business needs a strong IT infrastructure with frequent monitoring and proactive maintenance to support such (necessary) advanced technologies, secure their connectivity, and excel against competitors.

Remote Workforce

In 2020, approximately 75% of civil and commercial contractors restructured work procedures to accommodate social distancing, and in effect, accelerated digital transformation. Anywhere operations not only are the standard expectations of present-day job seekers, but also the keys to increasing project speed and reducing costs. Now architects, engineers, and construction contractors can work on projects in different time zones, collecting information from the field and making decisions in real time while saving the time and cost of travel. One Texas concrete company implemented a real-time digital time tracking solution with GPS and face recognition and ultimately saved $72,900 in the first 12 months. In the next three years, the AEC industry should expect to see 33% of contractors using wearable technology, increasing communication and streamlining operations.

Remote workforces are the way of the future. AEC businesses must stay on top of asset tracking, software licensing, and hardware warranties to ensure their mobile workforces never miss a beat. And a 24/7 IT help desk wouldn’t hurt either.

Data

Construction data is quite possibly the most valuable asset for an architecture business, engineering firm, or construction company. Since 52% of all rework is caused by poor data and miscommunication, 71% of owners believe capturing more data during design and construction will reduce lifecycle operations costs. IoT, augmented reality, and BIM technologies generate big data that is essential to improving production and decreasing costs. With 70% of manufacturers also transmitting personal information to and from these connected devices, this data is also sensitive to both the business and its clients, and therefore, must be protected. Unfortunately, 23% of data breaches in the industrial sector are caused by system glitches, resulting in data loss, exposure of personal information, and non-compliance fines.

A healthy IT infrastructure supports workstations, runs sophisticated CAD/CAM software tools, and prevents data loss from system failures. Network infrastructure must be proactively monitored and maintained, decreasing the loss of valuable, sensitive information and increasing business continuity and brand reputation.

Production

The benefits of advanced technology, a mobile workforce, and big data culminate into the most valuable advantage of all: increased and improved overall production. IoT in the construction market is expected to grow at a rate of CAGR of 14% until 2027, totaling $19 billion and increasing efficiency all the while. Online collaboration tools and digital workspaces that bring together remote partners strengthen workplace productivity 20-30%, and connected teams experience a 21% increase in profitability. Big data increases the likelihood of a business making better strategic decisions by 69%; and companies that use big data analytics report an 8% increase in revenue.

To capitalize on the benefits of digital transformation, AEC businesses need sturdy IT environments that do not falter under high computational power or vast amounts of data, as well as a 24/7 help desk that supports their remote workforces wherever they may be. That’s where a managed service provider like NexusTek comes in.

As an award-winning managed service provider for architects, engineering firms, and construction companies across the country, NexusTek offers multiple managed IT plans with various options of support and guidance so that you can find the plan that best fits your AEC business needs and goals. Our 24/7/365 proactive system monitoring, alerting, and maintenance keeps your IT infrastructure running smoothly to increase uptime and maintain project timelines. Our unlimited help desk supports your remote employees in case of IT challenges, and our inventory and configuration management ensures your assets, hardware, and software remain online and optimized. Proceed confidently on your digital transformation journey with managed IT from NexusTek.

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