Mar/Apr 2014

CIOs, IT managers, company owners, and managers heading up IT initiatives: You have one tough job. We applaud your hard work to deploy solutions to heighten efficiency, while bringing new solutions to the jobsite.

As the editor of Constructech, I see every day just how full your plate is, but get ready because a CIO’s job is likely only going to become more challenging. Here are two things you need to consider that will directly impact your firm in the near future: the emergence of IoT (Internet of Things) and the M&A (merger and acquisition) activity.

First off, many analysts are predicting IoT and wearable devices could soon be more prevalent in the construction industry. ARM, for example, says the construction sector is currently one of the top industries that is leading the way for IoT use. In the same vein, connected devices, apps, and the cloud continue to become more prevalent on the job. In this issue, the role of IoT is examined in depth in the Construction Connected feature.

These advances are good news, as they offer the CIO an opportunity to use new tools to heighten efficiency. The challenge is professionals need to be careful when implementing such technologies because it can be easy to get caught up in the glitz and the glam these devices have to offer. Even more so, the advent of this technology is redefining an IT leader’s role within the company. Now, CIOs will have an entirely different set of IT skills and roles—many of which have yet to be defined.

IDC Insights even predicts that in the next two years more than 70% of CIOs will change their primary role from directly managing IT to becoming an innovation partner. So how do you become this innovation partner that many construction companies are seeking? At the end of last year, we had the opportunity to talk with Kamryn Babcock, information technology director at The Weitz Co., and she suggests IT managers should balance core functionality such as ERP (enterpriseresource planning), email, and others, with the ‘fun’ layer of apps and connected devices. Her advice is to engage leadership, IT, and the team in order to attack baseline business challenges and come up with new solutions.

Combine all this with the fact many construction-software providers have been acquired recently, such as Viewpoint Construction Software’s acquisition of Maxwell Systems and Explorer Software’s acquisition of Computer Guidance Corp., as two examples, and CIOs have a tall task in the year ahead in order to determine how technology should be used in the office and the field. With any acquisition, construction companies need to identify the underlying reasons and the longer-term strategy that the software provider is looking to accomplish.

With all this, we encourage you to look at the changing nature of technology as an opportunity, rather than a challenge. Now is the perfect time to redefine how software is being used in your business. In this issue, we feature the 2014 Constructech Top Products for the commercial construction industry on page 14. Here you will find the crème of the crop, so to speak. We invite you to take a look at these products, as you are planning your tech endeavors for the future. Our hope is this will help make your job a little bit less challenging.

Laura Black

Internet of Things Is Dead

Laura raises an interesting point about the IoT. In our sister publication Connected World, I declared the IoT was dead. And before you flip your lid in confusion, please give me an opportunity to explain.

Many companies, analysts, and consultants are still pushing the IoT thinking, and they will for a few years. However, as a construction firm that has trusted our ability to tell you the mega trends, I believe it’s our job to help you plan for the future now and to give you the tools to prepare for the long term.

Thus, the IoT is old thinking from a macro level. It’s marketing an old pitch. What we see now is a continuous evolution of standardized connectivity that is transforming national ecosystems into transnational ones.

We are watching the growth of everyday devices that are tapping wireless connectivity to make our lives easier. When we are talking about connected devices, you are seeking to have them all speak one common language anywhere, anyplace.

Thus, what we are saying is that the Internet of Things is not a very good term, because it puts the Internet first when, in fact, we should be putting devices first and having them extend through the Internet.

However, when we talk about the Internet that is clearly not the main thing in the Internet of Things. This is a critical point when looking at a jobsite or the enterprise.

Peggy Smedley
Editorial Director

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