July/Aug 2014

Cloud, mobile, Big Data, and more are transforming technology in the construction industry.

When was the last time you downloaded software to your computer using a CD—or worse a floppy disc? Hopefully for the latter the answer is years, as the “cloud” is now hovering over many IT departments, providing a way to easily access data.

In fact, IDC Corp., www.idc.com, Framingham, Mass., proclaims the cloud movement is about much more than the cloud. Rather, the cloud cannot be sufficiently understood as a standalone phenomenon in the IT market, but rather as a core ingredient of a larger transformation of the IT industry. This movement includes things such as mobile, Big Data, analytics, and social, which are redefining how technology is used in construction.

This evolution of technology can be challenging for many construction organizations that undergo a significant IT overhaul, just to find out months later that the system isn’t compatible with a brand-new method for gathering and accessing data.

The key is looking to the long-term. How does a technology provider currently address mobile, cloud, and more? Does it have a proven track record with previous customers to provide what the business needs? Is the system built on new technologies or is it using an old framework? These questions and more can be challenging for construction firms to grasp, and that is why Constructech has done the research for the construction industry. The Constructech 50 is a listing of the most influential technology providers targeting the construction industry. These companies have stood the test of time, weathered horrific storms, and continue to release new, updated technology targeting construction.

This year’s list was interesting, as there are a number of trends rapidly emerging in the construction-technology space. Chiefly, some of the companies that were on the list last year have been acquired. This is something that has been going on in the industry for years. As of late, a number of big-name providers have been swooping in to collect some other big-name providers in an effort to piece together a complete, integrated solution for construction companies. Companies that have been acquired do not return to the list, as they are no longer independent organizations, and the companies that have completed the acquisition are looked at very closely to determine if they indeed meet all the criteria for being a Constructech 50—beyond the fact that they acquired an existing Constructech 50 company. This process takes time-staking research and interviews to determine if the company meets the criteria.

Another interesting trend in the space is the recent emergence of technology startups in construction. While a number of these companies have real promise for helping the construction industry move into a new generation of construction technology, some are still just simply too new to be considered a solid company to add to the list. While a few of the more mature and experienced companies have found their way onto the list this year, others are ones construction companies should keep an eye on for the future. These Up and Comers are Assemble Systems, FieldLens, and PlanGrid. With very different objectives, each has a niche market and an innovative technology system that construction companies might want to consider watching in the year ahead.

Beyond the M&As (mergers and acquisitions) and tech startups, there are a few companies that have either fallen off the list due to lack of commitment to the space and ongoing technology development, among other factors, or have joined the list due to a tenacity to help the market evolve. And with all of these factors taken into consideration, the Constructech editors are pleased to announce the Constructech 50 for 2014.

To access the full listing, including expanded profiles of select members, of the Constructech 50 click here.

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