Month: November 2017

Startups

How Technology is Changing The Construction Industry

It’s no secret that the construction industry is at the moment battling against serious efficiency and budget problems. One of the main reasons behind this problem has to do with the fact that construction is considered to be a traditional industry with a noticeable degree of resistance toward change.

Nonetheless, the advent of new technologies has started turning things around. More and more automated processes are introduced in the course of a construction project. On top of that, decision-makers within the industry appear to get more open toward digitization and ready to rely on cutting-edge technology for completing their building projects.

‘Modernise or Die’

Less than a year ago, the British construction consultant Mark Farmer released an extremely interesting report regarding the need of construction to become more digitized. The title of the report is ‘Modernise or Die’ and it describes the current problems that the construction industry is facing in terms of efficiency and poor decision-making. According to Farmer, it is indispensable for the construction industry to change its core practices and embrace the use of digital tools in the construction management procedure. Otherwise, its very own existence is under serious threat.

5 ways technology is disrupting construction

Thankfully, it appears that the industry has started to listen on the above mentioned points. That’s why, we observed lately an increased presence of technology on site. Without further ado, here are five of the most essential ways in which technology is transforming construction:

 

  • Construction software

 

First and foremost, construction software is revolutionizing the project management process. From its initial design to its completion, construction software can help you keep good track of what’s going on. Furthermore, it empowers communication between the construction site and the office. All the different project agents are in a position to send and receive updates in real-time. This results in fewer mistakes and increased productivity. If we also take into account the perplexity of many construction projects today, it becomes apparent that the implementation of real-time project management software is the way forward. Lastly, a construction software can help you feel control the vast amounts of collected data and improve your decision-making based on it.

 

  • BIM

 

BIM stands for Building Information Modeling and it’s already changing construction. Of course, there are still many steps that need to be taken before we can claim that BIM has reached its full potential. In a few words, BIM is encouraging fully integrated collaboration and unhindered information flow during a construction project. In that way, the various parties involved can communicate faster and act on last-minute changes in no time. The ability to access the project’s data with no geographical or time restrictions increases accuracy both in terms of budget and deadlines. It contributes also to the significant reduction of waste which is at the time being one of the biggest concerns of the industry.  

 

  • Big data

 

Big data is the new bacon and construction is no exception to that. To put it simply, data is the basis on which every new endeavor and every decision is made. And that’s for a plethora of reasons. Firstly, it provides an insight to the main challenges that the industry – or a project in that case – is battling against. By knowing how to read the data, you can be confident that you have made the right decision for your project and that you monitor closely every single task. What is more, big data can offer you a trustworthy picture concerning the upcoming trends in the industry. In that manner, you can put together a functional long-term strategy not only for your current but your upcoming projects, too. Increase of transparency and accountability is another indispensable benefit that big data can offer to construction. Everything is recorded and everyone is accountable for their (either positive or negative) actions.

 

  • Robotics

 

Robotics have already made their first vital steps in construction. Their contribution to the building process is expected to become more and more fundamental in the next years. Self-driving tracks, 3D printed bridges and bricklaying robots are only a few examples of how robotics impact on construction. The biggest advantages that robotics are providing to construction are undoubtedly related to increased efficiency and safety for the people who work on site. Thank to such machinery, the involvement of workers in dangerous or timeful tasks can be significantly reduced. Additionally, this shift on the way job in construction is done will eventually lead to the attraction of a new workforce type. The construction industry will be gradually in position to attract young skillful workers who are after a long-term career.  

 

  • Drones

 

Last but certainly not least, the drones. Drone technology is getting more and more popular everyday and it already has a great contribution to many construction sites around the world. Drones could increase the accuracy of the building process. We are still in an early stage, but ideally, in a few years, it will be considered as a given the use of drones for the generation of a ‘digital tween’ for every construction process. In that sense, project agents will be constantly able to monitor the progress of a project and define easily its exact needs. This functionality could pave the way for the arrival of smart contracts in construction. This would signify simpler and more direct transactions while getting rid of the ‘middleman’ (eg. lawyers).

Conclusion

All in all, technology and digital tools have already a remarkable impact on the way the construction industry is moving forward. Their involvement in the project process is only expected to get more and more increased in the near future. The investment on the digitization of the industry will unlock tremendous possibilities and will provide great solutions to the chronic problem of efficiency.

 

Startups

A Results-Driven Business In A Fast-Changing World

Everybody’s talking about running a results-driven business. What does this mean?

A results-driven business is one that focuses its operations on what its customers want and not what it wants to provide.

If you’re putting up an online clothing boutique, you should determine the types of apparel your target customers look for, their preferred payment method and other add-on services that suit them. By focusing on customer-centric results, you’ll have less abandoned carts and achieve greater success.

What if your customers don’t know the results they look for in a business?

This is where you venture into a process of discovery. Discovery should not be a one-way journey. It doesn’t need to end upon reaching a predetermined destination because there may be external factors that can change one’s goal.

A decade ago, businesses would set a team planning to map out their 5- and 10-year plans. Their milestones would predict future results based on current performance and economic factors.

However, technology changed this mindset. What is trending today is old news next week. Customers’ demand change more rapidly today, thus you should always be on a discovery venture.

As you discover your customers’ changing definition of the results they want from your business, there’s one concept you should embrace: innovation.

Innovation can mean differences among businesses. It can be a simple progression such as introducing mobile payments or a major improvement like migrating to full automation. “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results has never been a blueprint for success in any walk of life, which is why business leaders the world over are increasingly viewing innovation as the true key to competing effectively,” Jyoti lalchandani, regional managing director at International Data Corporation (IDC) shared in Gulf News.

The innovation game is a results-driven business.

Samsung transformed from a modest trading company to the world’s second-largest IT company because it progressed with the changing times, delivering the results their customers want.

The Japanese clothing company Uniqlo did not become one the world’s largest apparel makers overnight. It reinvented over the years depending on the changing fashion and clothing needs of its customers. From being a local operator of men’s clothing shops, Uniqlo now boasts of more than 1,900 stores worldwide.

What do Samsung, Uniqlo and other global brands have in common? They won, and are continuously winning the innovation game.

Keeping your edge with digital marketing

Running a business in the digital age has its positive and negative points. A small retailer can reach out to its target customers using the same digital platforms as global brands use.

Brands can maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram without spending a fortune. Technology has somehow helped democratize marketing.

However, this has made the competition more grueling among market players. With countless businesses vying for customers’ attention, how do you stand out from the rest? How do you make your target market listen to your message and try out your offerings? This is where an effective digital marketing strategy comes into play.

Digital marketing is not only about maintaining social media presence. The Financial Times defines digital marketing as “the marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers.”

These channels include websites, social media, online advertising, search engines, and mobile phones. With 50 percent of the global population using the Internet and more than 66 percent own a mobile phone, the importance of digital marketing is undeniable.

Identifying your best prospects with marketing campaign optimization

Digital marketing, if wielded correctly, can be the single most powerful marketing tool for your business. It can help you in your conquest to understand what your customers want and deliver these accordingly.

A bookstore can offer a satisfying online shopping experience via a mobile app that provides title suggestions based on the shopper’s recent searches or purchases.

A beauty salon can use e-mail updates to send out discount cards and other promos to its patrons.

Many companies use online surveys to gather customer feedback and social media campaigns to “get a feel” of the market before launching a new product or service. These tactics can be done with marketing campaign optimization.

Marketing campaign optimization involves the matching of the right offers to a certain set of customers over a specific channel at a given time. Each offer uses a predictive model that produces a score when a customer record is entered into the model. The score depends on the goal of the offer. It can be the probability that the customer will respond favorably to the offer or the expected sale from the customer.

A campaign optimization will allow you to identify the best prospects for your products and services.

The power of data in marketing

How does marketing campaign optimization work?

Start with collating data and analyzing your customer information. By knowing what a certain set of customers want, or the results they want from you, you can match them with a certain offer and optimize the same.

You can then use digital marketing tactics to reach out to a specific market segment using the most effective platform at the right time.

Let’s say you’re a financial company offering two types of investment products:
(1) a fund invested in listed stocks of large tech companies and
(2) a fund comprising of sovereign bonds in emerging markets.

What type of data do you need?

First, the profile of your customers (age, sex, status, etc.) Then, find out their risk appetite based on their holdings. Finally, determine, if you can, their investment horizon. Generally, Fund No. 1 will likely appeal to young and cash-rich investors who can tolerate risk, while Fund No. 2 will suit investors with a shorter investment horizon and low-risk aversion.

With this information, you can create a digital marketing strategy on how to deliver your message to these two sets of customers. What digital assets appeal to them and how do they consume these? When are they in the market for an investment product, etc.?

Running a results-driven business is focusing your operations on what your customers want. If they don’t know what they’re looking for, embark on a journey of discovery with them.

You can do this using tools and platforms you both understand. You can run online surveys, social media polls or present offers that match a customer’s recent searches. Innovate along the way.

You may discover that certain group of customers would prefer dealing with cryptocurrency instead of more traditional currencies. Use the information you gather to develop innovations, create quality digital marketing assets and optimize your marketing initiatives.

What is your e-commerce brand
Startups

How Technology Impacts Real Estate

The Times Are Definitely Changing

Oxford thinks the internet is going to replace traditional real estate agents with AI solutions in the near future. If you work in this industry, watch out. If you’re looking to get the best deals on property, well, then you may actually be in luck. Still, faceless tech can’t give you the “buddy deal” of your real estate broker friend; but he’s likely scraping a little off the top for himself, if you’re being honest—so maybe this is a good thing!

All kidding aside, from inside and outside the real estate agency, it makes sense to get an understanding of that which defines modern real estate. In a word: it’s the internet. Organizations like Rentec Direct offer: “The highest rated and easiest to learn property management software [and it] includes free US-based support.” Inherent in the software is internet utility.

Solutions like this are especially tenable for those who are managing multiple properties. The internet and technology, in general, are acting as a middle-man eliminating agent. Ignoring this reality is a great way to lose money and face a bevy of otherwise avoidable struggles.

Yet there is this interesting facet of life: when one door closes, another door opens. Even though certain industries are being replaced by the technology of one kind or another, new ones are coming in to counterbalance this shift. Look at smartphones, as a for instance. Everybody’s got one, but so many users require requisite coverage.

Identifying A Need And Capitalizing From It

Requisite coverage requires infrastructure. It turns out that cellphone towers need to be installed in multiple areas, and in increasing numbers, for big-time communications companies to properly serve their target markets. It also turns out that, strategically, not all areas where a tower needs to go are on public or otherwise easily-accessible land.

With this in mind, many savvy property owners are looking into cell tower rates; according to the link: “New Verizon cell tower lease agreements typically come in two flavors: construction of a new tower or by adding small cell equipment or antennas to your building. If you are a property owner, they want to see if you are interested in leasing your property for the construction of a cell tower.”

You may get contacted by individuals working with cellular agencies like Verizon who are looking to establish better area coverage for their networks. You may also use the internet to search out and identify strategic areas of necessary coverage. All you really need to do is look up a coverage map and see if you have any properties in areas that will need expansion.

It also makes sense to know community trends. Sometimes one area of the community is set to expand one direction, sometimes another area will remain as static as it has been for a few decades to come. You need to know where your community leaders are taking your municipality in order to have the greatest leverage when dealing with cellular providers. This can help you achieve a leasing arrangement which is appropriate to the value you bring.

Rental Considerations

Another way technology is changing property is in terms of rental. If you own a home or building, you can set up an Airbnb account so that travelers can rent the space out under a “micro” lease, or what’s known as subletting. Sometimes they’ll come in for a day, sometimes for a month. If you own an apartment, you can rent it out.

As a property owner, you’re going to have renters in your building who sublet. That means you’re charging them rent, and they’re charging somebody else rent. You’ve vetted the lessee, but you haven’t vetted those they’re bringing in on the sly. While if you own property this can be a great way to maximize it through technology, if you’re renting to lessees, you may also see them put your property at risk through their exploits.

Thankfully, when one door closes, another door opens. There are now agencies which monitor certain sublet websites which potentially undermine property owners. One organization, Sublet Alert, points out: “As a landlord or property manager, your first priority is to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your tenants. At SubletAlert.com, we monitor Airbnb daily. If we find a tenant illegally subletting one of your properties, we’ll quickly notify you…”

Land Considerations

There are millennial property owners today who only actually own land. It may or may not even have a building on it—the land is a place to park a motorhome. Now, many communities have put certain legal arrangements into play which ban this kind of living; but it is on the increase, and there are places where it flourishes.

If you’re in property management now, you may want to look into branching out into its purest form: land itself. With the internet, people can live comfortably wherever they can park legally. Online jobs and motorhomes make it possible to comfortably travel as a lucrative nomad. In fact, this can be done cheaper than apartment living in most places.

 

People have grown wise to the trend, and are following through on it. But the question becomes: what is there to do when the road turns blue? Eventually, roots have to be put down if only for a few months.

Sustainable technologies and off-grid living are also encouraging this land acquisition trend. If you’re an owner of property on what was a ranch or farm, but for whatever reason no longer functions in this capacity, you might divvy it up and sell it to people, or even lease it out to cell companies.

Knowing The Times

If you’re renting to people on your property, you can keep them from subleasing through online alert solutions. You can add cell tower equipment as well, and maybe even install a cellular tower. If you’ve got multiple properties, you can manage them online as well.

That’s quite a suite of real estate management solutions, and anyone in real estate should become familiar with these as even more applications are out there and will develop as time goes by.