In the past year, the construction industry has experienced a heavy stream of M&A (merger and acquisition) activity, which has ultimately reduced the number of providers on the market. Some industry experts suggest the consolidation will allow the big technology providers to offer integrated solutions that will enable the industry to take BIM (building information modeling) to the field or even integrate data from design through operations. Still, consolidation means fewer options for the industry. Could now be a good time for new tech providers to enter the market?
With Trimble Dimensions 2012 taking place this week, the construction industry is bound to see a number of announcements aimed at improving integration across the design-build-operate lifecycle. Already, Trimble, www.trimble.com, Sunnyvale, Calif., has announced the acquisition of Vico Software, the development of the new Trimble Buildings group, key partnerships with Computer Guidance Corp., www.computerguidance.com, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Bentley Systems, www.bentley.com, Exton, Pa., and a number of new products and services.
Many of the announcements open new markets and opportunities for Trimble, such as the new Tire Pressure Monitoring solutions, which will give operators realtime tire pressure reports and information, extending the tire’s life and increasing fuel efficiency.
However, Trimble isn’t the first to announce technology such as this. Earlier this summer, Michelin, www.michelin.co.uk, Clermont-Ferrand, France, announced a new set of tires that it calls “communicating tires.” By combining RFID (radio-frequency identification) with TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system), these tires also provide a complete picture of a tire’s condition.
Beyond Trimble, Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., has also made a number of big acquisitions recently including Vela Systems, www.velasystems.com, allowing contractors to visualize design in the field, improve quality of the project, and advance the movement of BIM to the jobsite.
With all this consolidation, there is room for new players to make some noise and enter into the construction-technology market.
Last week, Inspect2Go, www.inspect2go.com, San Clemente, Calif., announced it has expanded its mobile tablet application and cloud database software for construction site inspection and engineering audits. The software can be used on the iPad as well as mobile devices running on Android or Windows. With the technology, inspectors can conduct safety audits, quality inspections, and site surveys using a tablet or smartphone.
It is exciting to watch the technology transformation unfolding in the construction industry these days. Even though there have been a lot of technology acquisitions, there is still a lot of development and advancement happening in the construction space. Now, comes the tough part: discerning which solutions will be best for your technology portfolio for the years to come.