08.05.2021

Understanding ConTech and the Technology Behind

When it comes to technological evolution and advancement, construction is rarely the first industry that comes to mind.

Understandably, construction has been traditionally rooted in the basics for centuries. And it makes sense, right? Why break something that doesn’t seem to need fixing?

 

But in reality, the pressure to change practices and procedures has been weighing heavily on the industry for decades. As industries within the same realm as construction began to evolve rapidly with the help of technological advancement, it seemed the construction industry remained too firmly rooted in the past.

 

About 5-10 years ago, that trend of clinging to traditional practices began to change.  The introduction of PropTech into the real estate industry—and the ever-evolving waves and iterations of PropTech—pushed the construction industry further along.

 

Suddenly, the need to digitalize and optimize the construction business—from communication improvement to the very way construction workers were designing and building homes—was striking.

 

Thus, ConTech was born.

 

But what exactly is ConTech, and further, how has it become an integral part of the construction industry in the last decade? What does it mean for the workers within this industry, the buildings, and of course, those who purchase the homes being built through the practice of utilizing ConTech?

 

For answers, keep reading. In this post, we’ll dive into some of the basics of ConTech, answering your questions about what the current state of ConTech looks like, what’s rapidly changing within the realm of ConTech, and even speculate on the future of this era of technology.

 

What is ConTech?

 

Understanding how ConTech is being applied in our modern era of construction cannot happen until a basic definition has been laid out. So, we suggest starting there.

 

At its core, ConTech is the description of the technology that’s being used to revolutionize construction work that’s already being done within the construction industry.

 

Like other industries, construction is rapidly evolving and being affected by the latest technology. ConTech is simple: integrating easy-to-use, intuitive, and highly efficient technology to accomplish a task within a construction job.

 

Think about ConTech as a way to describe the technology behind how construction is planned, designed, and how structures are actually built. Often, ConTech also refers to the technology that’s used to manufacture and install components of a building, too.

 

ConTech is often considered to be a more niche version of something known as PropTech—and truthfully, the two do overlap.

 

That being said, ConTech hasn’t always received as much of the spotlight. According to Forbes, ConTech historically hasn’t received as much attention as mainstream forms of PropTech. In fact, only about 16% of PropTech is dedicated to the construction of real estate while closer than 50% of it is focused on solving sales and leasing issues.

 

But now, that reality is changing. ConTech is becoming more important than ever and the focus has indeed shifted toward shedding light on ConTech and how it can dramatically impact the construction industry and, indirectly, the real estate industry, too.

 

ConTech In Practice: How Does ConTech Exist Now?

 

Understanding ConTech involves understanding what ConTech looks like in our current era or PropTech.

 

Right now, ConTech is primarily focused on the home building industry, so the types of technology within ConTech might not always mirror PropTech. That being said, there is some notable overlap.

 

Currently, ConTech takes many forms. There are plenty of buzzwords out there, but ultimately, ConTech focuses on technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), wearable technology (to help protect and inform construction workers), construction software and mobile apps, drones, predictive analysis and analytics, and prefabrication.

 

Other important ConTech terms include Building Information Modeling (BIM) and smart cities.

 

ConTech, like other technology, is desirable because the vision centers on consistently evolving technology that’s designed to make the construction process safer for workers, far more efficient, and effectively more affordable, too.

 

Some of the shining examples of these practices include work from established companies like Procore, Autodesk, and Katerra.

 

Notably, Autodesk purchased the construction tech company startup PlanGrid in 2018 for about $875 million. Why? Because the digitalization of construction (the technological root of ConTech) fits the vision of the founders. They understood that ConTech, and the companies that were breaking ground in ConTech from the start, would be the construction industry’s future.

 

That being said, this wave of ConTech is truly just the beginning.

 

The Future of ConTech: What We Can Expect

 

The most exciting thing about ConTech? Like PropTech (and virtually any other type of evolving technology), it’s constantly advancing. The processes and technologies the construction industry is using now will look immensely different, five, ten, and twenty years from now. That being said, these are, arguably, the most formative years of ConTech ever.

 

ConTech is more popular than it’s ever been—the construction industry and those who work within it are finally on board with stepping up their technology game.

 

Presumably, ConTech presents an enormous opportunity for everyone with a hand in the industry—from the dedicated workers who design homes to construction workers who build homes to the buyers who purchase homes.

 

While the future of ConTech—like any other technology —can’t be predicted, it’s likely that one day, the ecosystem of ConTech will create a vision where everything within construction (from start to finish) is connected digitally and in real-time.

 

For now, we can only assume and follow the trends—ConTech will likely continue to improve the construction industry, making the processes more efficient, the end products more professional, and the workers happier, healthier, and most importantly, safer on the job than ever before. 

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