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Category: global market

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Construction Collaboration: What’s Ahead for 2014

The global construction industry is expected to grow to $9.4 trillion in 2015[1]. Construction firms spend an estimated 1.1% to 1.6% of annual revenue on information technology (IT), which is lower than the investment levels of other industries[2].


If the rate of IT spending remained static, the total available market for construction IT would range from $103.4 billion to $150.4 billion in 2015.

Those are very big numbers. If only 5% of the construction IT spend went toward project collaboration solutions, the potential market would reach $5 billion to $7.5 billion in 2015. Even with generous annual revenue estimates for all vendors in this space, it would be reasonable to say that the market is vastly under served. Look for a rolling wave of adoption beginning in 2014, supported by overall growth of IT spending in construction.


Industry-Specific, Turn-Key Solutions


The role of project collaboration solutions will continue to expand across all segments of the industry as the workforce evolves to become more data-driven and projects of all sizes become more complex. As adoption increases, the competitive landscape will shift toward those that do versus those that don’t – and ultimately those that deliver higher-quality projects with lower risk, on time and within budget.


In parallel with that shift, industry-specific, turn-key solutions will take precedence over enterprise software, requiring intensive IT customization. Generic file sharing and document management are fine for certain internal collaboration projects. But when independent companies are iterating terabytes of data through interdependent workflows where every hour and every dollar count, construction collaboration solutions are the only viable option.


Technology Trends to Watch


Increasing pressure on productivity and profitability will be eased by the practical application of key technology trends. These trends – including Software as a Service (SaaS), mobility, Building Information Modeling (BIM), and big data – will converge on secure, neutral platforms that enable diverse project teams to collaborate seamlessly toward successful project delivery. The use of these technologies will also reshape the competitive landscape.


Within that context, here are five predictions for 2014:


1)    SaaS will continue to gain market share over on-premise hardware and software, due to advantages of cost, flexibility and accessibility. Multi-company projects can’t be managed effectively – if at all – from behind corporate firewalls. Nor are corporate firewalls required to meet the highest standards of security. SaaS solutions outsource IT investments, deploy quickly and are a natural for collaboration.


2)    Mobility – anywhere/anytime access to project information from smartphones and tablets – will become a necessity rather than a luxury, due to its impact on the speed and accuracy of project execution. Construction happens in the field. Construction and engineering professionals use mobile devices in their personal lives and also bring them to work. Collaboration solutions without robust mobile apps across platforms will be left behind.


3)    BIM collaboration will extend from design teams developing models in their native authoring software to construction teams consuming this information and contributing to the models via browsers and mobile devices. BIM will focus on the objects and spaces within the models and all of the project documentation associated with them. The result will be complete, accurate and auditable project data ready for handover to the owner at practical completion.


4)    Big data will become a big influence on construction projects, as data volumes continue to expand with project scope and complexity. The use of mobile devices for anywhere/anytime project collaboration and management will also contribute to this trend. Large construction firms will begin to integrate data from both internal and external sources and employ analytics to benchmark their performance from one project to the next.


5)    The collaboration solutions driving adoption will address all phases of the construction project lifecycle – feasibility, design, building, and operation. The integration of process functions such as document control, correspondence, workflow management, building information modeling (BIM), field inspections, and asset information handover will spare buyers the interoperability issues of multiple point solutions.


Exciting Times


Construction technology isn’t new, but it’s rapidly approaching an inflection point. Project collaboration solutions are at the tip of that point – still relatively early in their adoption curve, yet poised to accelerate in 2014 and build momentum through the next decade. Buyers will favor industry-specific services that are comprehensive, easily deployed, ready to use, and scalable to manage unlimited amounts of data for unlimited numbers of users.


Much of the momentum will come from users on project teams who move on in their careers to become decision makers or recommenders on other projects. Some will learn valuable lessons in risk management from a bad experience with a project that gets out of control. Others will learn equally valuable lessons from a good experience and be determined to emulate it. Ultimately, technology adoption is about comfort, familiarity and confidence, as project success builds on itself.


[1] Global Construction 2025, Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics, July 2013
[2] “Construction Industry Dead Last in IT Spend”, Engineering News-Record, November 28, 2012


Decentralization: Key to Bitcoin’s Success

Bitcoin is now becoming a household name as, once again, the price of each coin is nearing 200 USD and more companies are selecting to accept payment in this convenient, yet new payment option. With the recent closure of Silk Road and the US government’s temporary shutdown, Bitcoin has proven to be a force to be reckoned with.


What makes Bitcoin unique? It is a digital, decentralized, cryptocurrency and a gateway to send money anywhere around the world with just the click of a mouse or the scan of a QR code to anyone with internet access. Proponents of Bitcoin pride themselves in supporting the lead cryptocurrency, which is based on peer to peer transactions. Yet, one must never take the decentralized nature of Bitcoin for granted.


Unfortunately, any system can trend back towards centralization if not carefully monitored and safeguarded. As humans, we can, unfortunately, move towards centralized structures for an, often times, false sense of “security” and “certainty.” Centralization tends to create more problems than naught when the power to make decisions falls into the hands of a select few. History provides evidence of the tremendous failure of central planning with the collapse of the Soviet Union, massive starvation and lack of development in North Korea, and, right now, a bloated US Government with a growing bureaucracy with an accompanied skyrocketing debt. On a US-centric note, how can a Washington bureaucrat really know and meet the needs of a school teacher in California or a farmer in Iowa? In the end of the day, each individual knows what is best for his/her needs and with systems and societies based on greater individual responsibility; in turn, systems that are more diverse will meet more needs than blanket solutions and inefficient “one-size fits all” policies. So, while there is comfort in having to be responsible for less in the short-run, there are too many unintended long term consequences.


Bitcoin is not just a currency, but a movement towards decentralization in society, government, financial systems, and thought. It has served as a catalyst to provide power to individuals seeking to separate themselves from constricting governing bodies and failing central banks. To date, Bitcoin has been characterized as an open source project prompting discussion of the role of money in society, the danger of current banking structures, and the creative decentralized solutions to centralized problems in society today.


A model of organized decentralization is key to the success of Bitcoin around the world. Decentralization does not equate to chaos, but many individuals at work to promote a project with the common goal of strengthening a project and not placing trust in one entity. The best example of organized decentralization would be grass roots activism and organization within the Bitcoin community instead of central actors making all major decisions and protocol adjustments. Each member of the Bitcoin community serves a unique role and has a distinct voice and part to play in keeping the Bitcoin currency on a pathway to success, growth in value and utility, and a global reach. Most members of the Bitcoin community already recognize that the larger the user base, the less volatile the currency, and the greater legitimacy lent to the currency.


Open source software is also vital to the preservation and strengthening of Bitcoin. With decentralization in the development community, there is greater room and leverage for an increased number of individuals to enter the community and contribute. The question, then, may arise as to how the Bitcoin Qt client can remain decentralized. An option which has prompted growth in Bitcoin development is when businesses have given back to the Bitcoin community through hiring individuals to solely work on the Qt client. There is value in the marketplace of ideas as trial and error and diversity of thought inspires the development of the strongest wallets, payment processors, and software. There is too much risk in entrusting all development and protocol to a few. The Bitcoin community must continue its commitment to the open-source ideals that make Bitcoin the resilient system it is today.


As Bitcoin continues to increase in value and central banks continue to disappoint, it is clear that decentralization leads to healthier societies and global financial success. What will become of Bitcoin? To date, Bitcoin is the most successful cryptocurrency and is still in earlier stages of development. What we do know: a model of organized decentralization is vital to the success of the Bitcoin currency and movement.


Coined: The New Breed of Business Names

With time comes advancement.  The abacus becomes the calculator.  The stone becomes the wheel, becomes the wagon, becomes the car.  When it comes to your business, it is especially important to remain aware of the changing practices that can benefit your company the most.

Business Naming and Globalization: A Brief Overview


There was a time when many of the most successful businesses chose to use names that directly relayed specific services, locations, or even founders.


Examples: General Electric, Standard Oil of Ohio, The Eastman Company


Over the years, as these businesses developed and embraced the global marketplace, this style of naming lost some of its initial appeal.  To promote growth, many of these older names were replaced by shorter, more expressive, brand names.


Examples: National Biscuit Company transforms into Nabisco, American Telephone & Telegraph becomes AT&T


In more recent years, the advent of the internet has enabled even small businesses to function on a global scale.  This change has altered the business landscape entirely and pushed the new style of naming to a heightened level.  The result: the increasing popularity of the coined business name.


What is a Coined Name?


Coined names are created to convey a specific feeling or association rather than a direct, literal meaning.  This type of name can be created by combining words, parts of words, or foreign expressions, or by altering spelling, matching syllable sounds, or inventing a new word entirely.


Examples: Facebook, Acuvue, Hulu,Tumblr, GrubHub, Dasani


How Can a Coined Name Benefit your Business?


1. Growth Promotion


As opposed to the older, more literal naming style, coined naming can help promote business development beyond initial expectation.  For example, Blake chooses to open a tire company called Automazing.  This name establishes his connection to automotive services while conveying the company’s amazing quality of service.  Rather than selecting a more literal name, such as Blake’s Memphis Tires, his coined name will allow his business to expand into other products, services, and geographical locations without issue.  This can be especially useful for startup businesses where growth and development can be quick and unpredictable.


2. Definition and Mood Control


Unlike generic names, coined names allow customers to approach your business without preconceived notions about your service or style.  Since these names are invented, you have the power to define your brand and present it in a particular light.  This technique can enable customers to build a stronger emotional connection with your company.


3. Conflict Prevention


Many businesses that use outdated naming conventions rely exclusively on specific industry terms to attract customers.  Often times these common terms are in use by a variety of competitors, which can cause confusion between differing businesses.  Using coined names can help prevent such issues, since the use of a similar name is much less likely.  This advantage can also help with trademark filing and domain name acquisition.


With new businesses forming every day, it is crucial for business owners to take advantage of strategies that promote development while creating memorable brands.  Using this new and innovative style of naming can help any business start off on the right foot.