July/Aug 2012

When Trimble announced the acquisition of SketchUp from Google at the end of April, the transaction marked a significant milestone in construction. That’s right—not just construction technology, but construction.

And deals such as this could be representative of the type of influence builders and contractors could have on the market for years to come. Sure, acquisitions happen all the time in the world of technology. But a move like this was significant in the fact it brought a technology tool like SketchUp, which was originally developed with the vision of delivering ‘3D for everyone,’ primarily into the world of construction. And that move can be credited in large part to the builders and contractors across North America that dabbled with the tool throughout the years as part of their virtual-modeling strategy.

It’s no secret the tool became a nice entry point for contractors into the world of BIM (building information modeling), as they saw it as being an application that allowed them to test the BIM waters without being a big investment.

In the end, such a move is representative of the way in which the construction industry is embracing technology. Long gone are the days when only those considered on the leading edge were dabbling in software. Today, we have an industry with such an influential user base that it is causing technology companies to make moves based on what the contractors are using. In a way, this speaks nicely to the transition the editors of Constructech were already seeing develop in the market. As we prepared to put together our list of the most influential technology providers in the market, the Constructech 50 for 2012, we knew the market was undergoing a transformation. As we began to look at some of the technology providers that traditionally made the list, we started to question both their longevity as well as their high-level view for construction. What we saw was a market in flux.

What we present to you this year is a list that is very much fluid. You will see some new companies have been added. But what you will also see is a group of technology providers that are teetering on the brink. Some have made moves recently in an effort to bring their solution up to par for the changing demands of the construction industry, while others find themselves in a position where new up and comers are nipping at their heels.

Take a close look at some of the new companies that appear on this year’s list. It’s not too difficult to tell which areas of the technology market they have their eye on conquering, as well as which vendors they are targeting for marketshare.

It’s a market in a state of flux, driven in large part by the influence of the thousands of builders and contractors that simply refuse to have a technology “vendor.” Instead, contractors are seeking technology “partners” for their business. If the vendor community isn’t up to snuff to make the transition, many of them could see themselves on the outside looking in on that group of influential 50 that are listening to the construction industry for the long run.

Constructech editors

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