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Big Data in the Construction Industry

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

Typically, “Big Data” refers to amounts of information so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. From a practical point of view, Big Data refers to new technology’s ability to analyze this data to predict trends or extract other valuable insights 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 more often by a wider audience.
  2. As organizations create and store more data in digital form, they can collect more accurate and more detailed performance information on everything from job costs to supplier and subcontractor performance, exposing variability and boosting performance.
  3. Big Data allows ever-narrower segmentation of customers, which means 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 services (which BIM—another continuing trend identified by our recent survey—will also be a major factor in).

Our survey respondents agreed across the board: Big Data’s ability to improve planning and decision-making with granular, real-time data about utilization and usage patterns is 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%)

In the construction industry, Big Data will transform the way in which information is acquired, analyzed, and stored, making this 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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