It’s not just a new year, it’s a new decade. What is the most exciting, challenging or unusual change that you can imagine happening within the construction industry in the 2020s. How would that change impact your company?
There are two waves of the future heading towards the paving industry.
First, we are going to move to performance-based specifications, instead of mandated specifications, for asphalt mixes within the next three to five years. We will be testing mixes and adjusting them to meet road conditions and performance specifications so that our pavement will perform for longer periods of time. Also, instead of using resources mandated by specifications, we will have a wider opportunity to make mixes with more and local resources rather than importing product. Ultimately, that could help us create a better performing mix at a lower price.
Second, there are big technological advances coming in the laydown process. Within the next three to five years, we will see paving machines become more autonomous through GPS and grading controls. We will also see advances in smart compaction. We are testing machines right now that monitor compaction and temperature and automatically adjust vibratory devices to achieve optimum compaction and ride. Eventually, these machines will become autonomous too.
This means the paving workforce of tomorrow will have to be more technologically savvy. But we are also creating a better, safer, more comfortable environment for those workers.
Johnson Controls, Inc.
Buildings are going to continue to get smarter and we will continue to see the congruence of building technologies and the Internet of Things. It is going to get to the point that when you arrive at your office building, it will read your license plate or identify you through facial recognition so by the time you get to your office, the temperature, lights and window shades will be set the way you like them and your preferred music will be playing. More and more, our customers are going to ask how can the building drive employee engagement or help deliver the mission of my business.
How building technologies are purchased will change. Now, many systems are bought through disparate channels. In the future, owners will want to buy everything from a single source or a systems integrator who can deliver full solutions for their employees, their customers and their company’s mission. Consequently, you are also going to see more companies become pure-play building companies. Johnson Controls has divested our car interior business and our car battery business to become a pure building business. Meanwhile, our current struggle to attract talent and do workforce development is going to get tougher. The building space is going to be competing with the Googles of the world.