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By Kerman Kasad

Big Data doesn’t have the high-profile in construction that it does in other industries, but according to ARC Document Solutions’ most recent survey in construction trends, it’s an area that will contribute to innovation, competition, and productivity in the future.

Typically, “Big Data” refers to amounts of information that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. From a practical point of view, it refers to the ability of new technology to perform analysis on such data to predict trends or extract other value that can lead to better decisions, more operational efficiency, and associated reductions in costs and risk.

According to SinglePoint Solutions, a consulting firm to the industry, there are five broad ways in which using Big Data can create value in construction.

  1. Big Data can unlock significant value by making information transparent and usable at a much higher frequency by a wider audience.
  2. As organizations create and store more data in digital form, they can collect more accurate and detailed performance information on everything from job costs to supplier and subcontractor performance, and therefore expose variability and boost performance.
  3. Big Data allows ever-narrower segmentation of customers and therefore much more precisely tailored products or services.
  4. Sophisticated analytics can substantially improve decision-making by assessing trends and real-time data.
  5. Big Data can be used to improve the development of the next generation of buildings and and services – (BIM will be major factor in this development, and was another continuing trend identified by our recent survey).

Our survey respondents agreed across the board. They listed its ability to improve planning and decision-making by providing granular, real-time data about utilization and usage patterns as a primary benefit. They also were clear that the use of Big Data enables project leaders and owners to improve demand forecasts, as well as increase the quality of future project progress monitoring.

By the numbers, the top Big Data benefits mentioned by survey participants were:

  • Facilitates well-informed decision-making on a consistent basis (62.5%)
  • Improves urban planning decisions (50.0%)
  • Creates reports on construction operations frequently and in real time (43.85%)

Big Data in the construction industry will transform the way in which the information is acquired, analyzed, and stored, making construction industry safer, smarter, efficient and more profitable. How is your organization using it today? Let us know in the comment fields below.

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