Tech trends are changing faster than the Hayne Train changes codes but out of all the change comes the odd gem that has the potential to massively impact the trades and construction sector.
If you’re just coming up through the tradie ranks now is the perfect time to get on top of some of these trends to help take the boss and the company into some new and exciting spaces. Here’s our take on some of the tech trends to watch out for and how you can get a jump on the rest.
Once just a toy for man sized kids with too much money and too much time, Drones are now going mainstream and even the “gangsters” are getting in on the act with underground Drone racing becoming all the rage!
The most obvious sectors getting to grips with Drones are electricians and arborists. Drones are now being used around the world for tasks such as site mapping, surveying, crop inspection across vineyards, farms and forests and infrastructure inspection (wind turbines, pylons, transmission wires), wildlife and ecosystem monitoring, search and rescue and LIDAR mapping.
If you’re an electrical apprentice or arborist learning the trade now is definitely the time to start getting your head around Drones and how they might help your business. Before you blow $1k or more, get on ebay or Trademe and pick up a cheap quadcopter to start learning.
You can pick up something pretty awesome (such as this) for less than $700. Once you’ve got skills, give the boss a run down with a wee demo. If there is a way to save time or money using a Drone, he’ll love you for it.
If you do plan to start using one for your business, there are rules and licenses required so best talk to these guys asap.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality (or VR if you’re a hip with the cool kids) is going to have a massive impact on the trades and construction industry over the next 5 years. We are already starting to see VR used in on the job planning, education and health and safety and this trend is set to continue.
For builders and homeowners renovation concept designs will be completed as “walkthroughs” rather than 3D plans so homeowners (and Builders providing estimates) can get a real sense of a design (and spot any issues) well before detailed design or construction begins.
VR will also begin to play and extensive role in training and compliance as users are put through their paces in real work scenarios in digital environments. Any young apprentice should start thinking about using immersive training tools to learn the skills they need. Look out for Training organisations moving in this direction soon.
Australia is taking a leading role in VR and AR (read how here) so now’s the time to pick up a cheap Samsung Gear VR (you can get the for $150 on Trademe). There are some awesome games to start you off here.
The applications of 3D printers in the trades are obvious. Imagine printing parts or specialist tools onsite, on demand.
Up until recently, the limitation has been the strength and conductive nature of the composites but that's now starting to change and people are using 3D printers to produce effective electrical components including a resistor, inductor, capacitor and an integrated inductor-capacitor.
In addition to electrical components researchers are perfecting 3D printers than print in concrete with the hope of reducing the manufacture of complex concrete shapes and structures from months to days.
Job Management Software
With margins getting tighter, work loads getting larger, mobile coverage improving and handsets becoming mini computers, now is the perfect time to move your trade business on to a cloud based Job Management tool (such as Tradify, Workflowmax and many others).
Job Management tools are designed to save time, increase productivity and help you get paid faster. If you are entering time sheets into a spreadsheet or writing them down on a job sheet, point your boss at our website and offer to set up the Free trial for a decent Friday feed. It will be the easiest lunch you ever earnt. Plus you’ll reap the rewards as you do away with manual job sheets and timesheets.