construction-site-rick-khanCompanies across all industries are looking at emerging technologies to help get work done more intelligently. The construction industry is no exception. Construction teams are beginning to use drones to collect survey data and to spot potential structural flaws.

Meanwhile, construction crews are also making greater use of virtual reality (VR) to visualize what the structures they're building are intended to look like.

These and other technologies are helping construction crews to work smarter and more efficiently. Looking ahead, the use of emerging technologies in the construction industry is projected to result in a near 20% reduction in total lifecycle costs of projects, as well as significant improvements in completion time, quality, and safety, according to Boston Consulting Group.

For its part, Mortenson, the Minneapolis-based construction and real estate development giant, is utilizing a variety of emerging technologies to drive innovation within its construction projects and across the construction industry. "As the industry looks for ways to improve worker safety, we need to work as an industry to help support that focus and apply innovation to solve those problems," said Rick Khan, Senior Director of Project Solutions at Mortenson, who will be sharing his thought leadership on this topic at HMG Strategy's 2017 Minneapolis CIO Executive Leadership Summit on May 24th.

For instance, Mortenson has begun investigating the 'Internet of Construction Things,' including intelligent tools and use of sensor technologies in the construction phase to assess worker behaviors and help identify opportunities for improving safety, explained Khan.

"For Mortenson, innovation is about solving business problems in new and creative ways," said Khan.

Utilizing the Internet of Construction Things is just one component that Mortenson is applying to improve worker safety. "We're capturing lagging indicators and if someone gets hurt, we try to record it," said Khan.  

The company is experimenting with methods to automate data capture of workers performing their tasks which would lead to predictive analytics.

"We're trying to get to a point where we can predict and proactively measure work patterns to then influence a change in worker behavior."

Helping construction workers visualize what they're about to build

Mortenson has also recently begun providing construction team members with virtual reality headsets to help them become immersed in the project design and help them to visualize what they're about to build.

To help stay abreast of emerging technologies, Mortenson's workers share new ideas they've come across with one another. In addition, the company also partners with academia including the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, Stanford University and other schools on research topics. One of the benefits of partnering with academia on research projects involving emerging technologies is that it creates opportunities for Mortenson to engage with other potential technology partners.

"If we publish a paper on augmented reality, we'll often hear from augmented reality companies on our findings and start a dialogue with them on new opportunities," said Khan. "It's a nice bi-directional relationship."
To learn more from Rick Khan and other thought leaders at the 2017 Minneapolis CIO Executive Leadership Summit, click here.