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Construction Executive presented an immersive dive into construction technology as part of ABC Convention 2023 yesterday. Combining insights on the cutting-edge present and bleeding-edge future of contech with hands-on demonstrations of four innovative solutions, CE’s “All Hands on Tech” was designed to make technology accessible to construction companies of all sizes and construction professionals at every level.

“All Hands on Tech” began with a panel discussion focused on the theme “what’s new and what’s next,” featuring Matthew Abeles, vice president of technology and innovation for ABC; Jeff Sample, industry evangelist for Join; and Jay Snyder, president of Big Blue Innovations, and moderated by CE Editor-in-Chief Christopher Durso. Key takeaways from the panel—which was sponsored by Arcoro—included:

Matthew Abeles: “It’s a very noisy time for construction tech. You need to know and understand what technologies are going to impact your business. Don’t look at the shiny object your peers are using. You have to be hyper-focused, and for small/mid-sized contractors, the one thing that’s really important is to understand that technology’s really hard and to celebrate the small victories.”

Jeff Sample: “Start with a problem. If you don’t know where you are as a small business—or a medium business or a large business—go out and ask your people. They will tell you where their problems are, and that is where your opportunities lie.”

Jay Snyder: “When we talk about industry technology or industry innovation, it doesn’t necessarily mean software. It doesn’t necessarily mean wearable. It’s the inclusion of this type of thinking into project delivery that really matters—it’s not technology for technology’s sake, it’s technology for the sake of innovation and improving the outcome of a project.”

Following the panel, CE presented a contech showcase in ABC Convention’s exhibit hall that gave attendees the opportunity to try out four technology solutions with their own hands: OpenSpace’s reality capture and construction-site capture platform; Interplay Learning’s virtual-reality skilled-trades training; Smartapp.com’s smartboard and workflow products; and Spot, a robotic dog created by Boston Dynamics and presented by Florida International University in partnership with Trimble.

Watching attendees get hands-on with these intuitive, accessible contech solutions recalled something Snyder said during the panel: “Sometimes the problems are much easier to solve than you think. A lot of times, the technology we’re using is fine; [the problem] has to do with training or has to do with having an understanding of why we’re using this technology for this particular purpose. … You really need to understand that people in your businesses want to be able to use technology at work just as easy as they use technology on the couch.”


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