The construction industry in UK is on the right track towards gaining digital maturity. There has been a lot of interest in various digital technologies and the proof of it was seen in Digital Construction Week 2017. The event has been considered the only event series in the UK that focuses on digital construction, engineering, design, manufacturing, and operation.
For the year 2017, Digital Construction Week focused on six main themes: Industry transformation, BIM, Geospatial, Smart buildings, Visualization and Industry 4.0.
Dan and Dominic were kind enough to share their impressions and opinions about the event and we decided to share their thoughts with you all. Let’s have a look at what they thought of the event!
What were your general impressions of the event?
Dominic: The event was very BIM and VR-centric. There was a lot of interest in these technologies.
Dan: The event was hosted in the Excel Centre, I was glad to see how large it was. There were a lot of clients and contractors, we also met new companies and discussed possible partnerships. Overall, I was impressed with the event.
Was the event better, worse, or about what you expected? Was there something that you were hoping to be different?
Dominic: I was expecting the attendees to be different. The ratio of attendees that were listed per company was very low but despite this fact, there was a lot of excitement in the air and the event had a very professional environment.
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Dan: I think that DCW 2017 was pretty good and we took away some things we can learn from. You know, hindsight is a wonderful thing. In the future, we’ll need a better stand position. Our booth was at a corner, which is why it wasn’t quite the success we were hoping for but we were still able to meet lots of new contacts.
What are the main trends in the construction industry at the moment, based on your experience and from what you saw during DCW 2017?
Dominic: As I mentioned previously, BIM was the center of attention at the event which kind of reflects on what the industry agents are looking for and it’s great, but the only negative thing is that there should also be a strong focus on construction management because this is the basis on which technologies can be established and be truly beneficial.
Dan: From what I saw at the event, I noticed there was a lot of drone technology, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.
In short, there’s a lot of sophisticated technology coming into the industry
Do you think that agents in our industry have started realizing the need for more efficient data management? Do this type of events help toward that direction?
Dominic: I feel that many of the participants missed the point here. We have to focus on how to effectively use the collected data. Huge amounts of data is generated in projects that can bring insight and guidance to managers. There should be more focus towards data management.
Dan: These events are definitely important as they help burst knowledge across and allow people to share ideas. But looking at it from data management’s point of view, many people are still clinging on to old, out dated methods of working. The industry can’t even get the hang of simple steps. Most of the agents seemed impressed with the sophisticated technology such as VR, AR and BIM.
We need to go back to the basics and build from there. We need to improve work processes and get contractors and clients to deliver their projects in a modern way. Efficiency, accountability and collaboration are crucial elements within construction.
Could you tell us a bit about the audience/participants of the event? What were they interested in/looking for from the presentations and booths?
Dominic: We meet a lot of different people. Generally, the participants were interested in ways to improve BIM processes which makes it more vital for us to have various other integrations.
Other than that, we met a lot of students and lecturers which can mean a good opportunity for GenieBelt to focus on the academic front and let young talent know about project management.
Dan: There was definitely a complete cross section of people that we met. We met clients, contractors and young, bright students who have recently entered the construction industry, eager to shake things up and embrace change. We had great conversations with most of them.
Clients liked the idea of having more control of their information during the projects. Normally, clients get all the information at the end of the projects but with project management software there is transparency and accountability throughout their projects.
There was a large presence of students who were really interested in the latest digital construction tools.
What are the benefits for a company like GenieBelt from participating in the DCW event?
Dan: I think the main benefits for us are networking and raising brand awareness. We need to be at these events, flying our flag high. I was pleased to see that there were a lot of people who had heard about GenieBelt. Our ongoing mission is trying to revolutionize the industry and these type of events play a crucial part.
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What were the biggest challenges when participating in such an event?
Dominic: I think that our biggest challenge was that our booth was at the end. This made it difficult to interact with a lot of participants.
Dan: The biggest challenge is to make sure that we are going to the right events. It is important to do your homework and plan more effectively together. We also faced some challenges about budgets and management so we need to look at that.
Is there anything that you wish you had done differently before going to the event?
Dominic: Should have worn trainers… On a serious note, it would have been better if I didn’t stress out that much.
Dan: We could have coordinated some of our actions better, around planning, logistics etc. We came across some unexpected costs, so we should probably have factored that in.
Do you have any tips for companies that participate in events like DCW and want to make a difference without going over budget?
Dominic: I think that it’s always best to do proper research before going to an event. We faced a lot of unexpected costs and stuff there, so it’s a good idea to do your homework in order to find the best fit for your company and needs.
Dan: Be prepared for a huge amount of documentation. Also, decide how much money are you willing to spend on these events.
They should meet your end goal which is to come back with new, solid connections, that will benefit your mission and help drive you forward.
So always try to measure the return and keep a balance.
Any advice for the organizers of DCW 2018?
When asked this question, Both Dominic and Dan had a few things that they thought the event could improve on. Here are some of the things that the Digital Construction Week could work on for the next year’s event:
- Better communication – It was difficult to get in touch with the organizers. So more of them could have made our experience a bit better.
- Location – The event could have been located near the city. This way people could have stayed at the event longer and companies could have had a better chance to mingle and network.
- Extra costs – We faced a lot of unexpected costs and it would have been nice to know all about them beforehand. It would be great to read more about practicalities on the webpage in order to adjust the budget.
Overall, our team was pleased with the event and plan on going to more events to check out the industry’s trends, promote project management and wave our flag. Hope that we see much more from Digital Construction Week next year.