TCA panelists discuss construction industry innovation and technologies

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How are new technologies and innovation affecting and changing Toronto’s construction industry?

Panelists at the Toronto Construction Association (TCA)’s Members’ Day challenged those who attended to think about what their organization might look like in five years and what their vision for the future of their organization is, the TCA newsletter reported. They prompted attendees’ questions of whether or not they felt their company was ready for a world of rapidly growing technology and innovation.

Rick Huijbregts, vice-president, strategy and innovation at George Brown College (GBC) observed that other industries are quickly changing as a result of developments in innovation and technology, but that the construction industry has moved slowly on this front.

Huijbregts quoted Jack Welch as saying “if the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, then the end is near” – all to point out that technology “outside” the construction industry is moving so rapidly and the new talent required to understand these technologies in our industry is limited.

Huijbregts said that according to Brookfield Institute, 42 per cent of Canadian jobs are at a high risk of being impacted by automation within the next 10 years and that many of these jobs are in the construction sector.

William R. MacGowan, director, digital buildings for Cisco’s Industry Transformation Division in Canada, focused on the internet of things (IOT) and the opportunity this brings.

“There is a massive new revenue stream opportunity that is in the market today and we are looking to partner with companies that want to become smart building integrators or master technology contractors.”

“There could be innovation right beside you and you don’t even know it so it is important to look around you left and right and understand your people, those who have brilliant ideas and want to facilitate change – you need to actually allow them to do it,” said Terry Olynyk, director of business development, PCL Contractors Canada Inc. (Toronto).

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