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A decade has passed since the creation of the world’s first iPad, showcasing just how far technology has come in 10 years. One of the biggest trends that occurred over this time period was the rise of mobile connectivity, with only 35% of U.S. adults having reported owning a smartphone of some kind in 2011, compared to 81% today. And while technology has clearly shaped how consumers operate, it also has played an incremental role in how businesses today function.

Many industries have been impacted by technology shifts, the construction industry in particular has seen a significant change in recent years, learning to adopt technologies such as Bluetooth sensors and telematics to improve its overall operations. While this industry has been slower to adapt than some others, construction companies are starting to realize the important role these technologies can play for businesses.

So what does 2020 have in store for this industry? As we enter a new year and a new decade, here are some of the top technology predictions slated to shape the future of construction.

1. Predictive maintenance technology will skyrocket
Many construction companies have already begun to use "internet of things" for its predictive maintenance capabilities. As the benefits of having full visibility into items such as location awareness, predictive maintenance, health of equipment (such as battery and fuel consumption), hours of use, ability to associate peripherals and environmental awareness continue to come to light, overall adoption of this technology will continue to grow.

More specifically, there will likely be a boom of asset tracking solutions being deployed for construction rental companies. As these businesses continue to track the metrics that matter most to their bottom line (e.g., engine hours, percentage use of distances covered, remote access management), the business case for internet of things in construction becomes clear. OEMs, equipment dealers, rental companies and contractors are set to take notice of that in 2020.

2. Bluetooth sensor tags will cure the construction blues
Sensor technology is already popularly used in sectors for supply chain and fleet management, but in 2020 construction will join the pact and implement Bluetooth tags to help track what makes construction’s heart beat the most: the tools. As a proven revenue generator, the transition of internet of things sensors into the playing field of construction sites will become an essential backbone to the daily lives of contractors.

Contractors need to prioritize customer satisfaction with their purchases by ensuring their equipment isn’t overworked or worn down. Advanced onboard computers communicating with smart sensors and telematics devices in the asset allows construction owners to diagnose problems and schedule preventative maintenance before a catastrophic and costly failure occurs. Contractors will leverage this data heading into the next decade to better inform and drive their research and development to ensure identified problems are mitigated in their equipment in the future.

3. Telematics technology adoption will reshape the construction ecosystem
As a whole, construction has been slow to adopt new technologies out of fear that implementation would cause more headaches than it would help. However, with the adoption curve of telematics increasing drastically, contractors have realized they’ve fallen behind the curve and have become more inclined to embrace the technology. In the upcoming year, contractors of all sizes will likely prioritize building telematics devices into their equipment.

By enabling telematics devices, construction companies will have the ability to focus more on open ecosystems. With this new open technology, contractors can share data across multiple different platforms giving them full visibility into their entire operations.

As we continue to look forward to the future, the impact that internet of things technology will have on the construction industry has really just begun. With sensor technology and telematics infiltrating the construction, companies will be more readily prepared to take this technology head on and implement it into their businesses. Contractors are already starting to see improved operations for efficiency, research and development, and revenue as a result of this technology.

As more and more contractors transform their construction businesses using internet of things, others in the industry will need to shape up and adapt to remain competitive. Managing billions of dollars of equipment is simply made easier with internet of things telematics, and owners of equipment manufacturers are starting to realize that as well. For enterprises operating on a global scale, this can make the difference between loss and profitability. There’s no way to predict exactly where technology will take construction another decade from now, but for the near future, it’s safe to bet that internet of things is gearing up to see its day in the sun in the construction space.
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