The Rhumbix team was at CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Las Vegas, NV earlier this month. This year was the biggest year ever, with over 130,000 attendees, 2,500 exhibitors, and 2.8M feet of space. And the cranes! Lots and lots of cranes!
While there, we had the opportunity to talk with lots of attendees from all over the country, sit in on some informative sessions, and check out the new Tech Experience: an immersive showcase featuring everything from drones to solar-powered roadways to data visualization technologies. One of the highlights of the Experience was a 3D-printed mini excavator. This thing was seriously impressive. It is the first large-scale use of steel in 3D-printing.
At the booth, we were keeping things fun by handing out bottles of Rhumbix whiskey to our visitors and speaking with them about what their top priorities are as they look to the future. During those conversations, there were a few themes that we kept hearing over and over:
1. Market Optimism
Everywhere we looked and everyone we spoke with was optimistic about the future of the industry and the current economic landscape. Lots of companies are innovating new solutions, pushing the limits on what used to be possible to improve efficiency and productivity.
2. Ready for Disruption
Hand-in-hand with the optimism was a sense that the construction industry is now ready to embrace disruption. In years past, there has been uncertainty and even some suspicion towards new innovation. This year was different. Everyone we spoke with understood that an investment in technology is no longer an option: it’s table stakes.
3. Paper is Dead
Everyone we spoke with is looking at ways to digitize more of their field data, and time cards are a big priority, from the 800+ person company to those with less than 15 employees. Firms are seeing digitization as the critical first step in pursuing a path to greater productivity.
4. Simplicity is Key
While everyone was on board with embracing new technology, they’re looking for simple, intuitive software that will be easy for their crews to pick up and run with. So much of the software implemented above the field level results in more paperwork for the foreman. We're talking triplicate data entry in some cases. Companies are beginning to take note of this and asking important questions about ease-of-use and integration with existing solutions.
5. Cash is King
For too long the construction industry has been running on slim margins. Companies know they need to be looking for efficiencies on every part of their balance sheet, and labor costs are a big deal.
Rhumbix CEO, Zach Scheel, did an interview with ConTechTrio while at the conference, and increasing productivity was a hot topic of the discussion. Over the long term, material and equipment costs have remained relatively steady, while labor costs have increased. This rise can be attributed to inefficient planning and communication, two areas that technology can make a positive impact.
All in all, it was a great week and a busy time for our team. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth to say hello. To see more highlights from the show, check out the CONEXPO-CON/AGG daily highlights page, complete with videos featuring all the great exhibitors that made their way to Las Vegas for the event.
Next up? Groundbreak in Austin at the end of the month!