On November 18, 2019, more than 2,000 construction professionals landed in Las Vegas for the Connect & Construct Summit at Autodesk University 2019. For those that don’t know, Connect & Construct is a preconference summit that happens the day before Autodesk University Las Vegas.
Last year’s summit was three times larger than 2018 – a positive sign that the industry is continuing to embrace technology to make the jobsite more predictable, safe, and sustainable. From product showcases and announcements to inspiring keynotes, sessions, and workshops, there was much to see and experience. If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend the summit – you’re in luck – because we whittled it down to four key takeaways from Connect & Construct 2019.
1. A Keynote Focused Around Building Better, Together
The Connect & Construct Keynote speakers hit it out of the park, honing in on the theme of how we, as an industry, build innovation, together. This means more than simply embracing tools and technology, but empowering people and partnering with national organizations to connect the construction industry to address some of its biggest challenges. With the increasing complexity of construction coupled with a retiring workforce, the speakers explored how adding new tools to your workflow – specifically cloud and mobile technology – may help combat these industry challenges.
Here’s a quick recap of the major announcements and highlights from the keynote:
- The announcement of Autodesk Construction Cloud™ – a new breed of connected construction technology – that will bring workflows together, seamlessly moving data from design through construction.
- Stephanie Ho, Global Head of Customer Success for Autodesk Construction Solutions, revealed how her team partners with customers to solve complex problems and achieve digital transformation.
- More than 50 product announcements and enhancements have been made, transforming the value and experience provided to customers. Highlights include Design Risk Management in BIM 360, Custom Forms in PlanGrid, and 2D Quantity Take-off in BuildingConnected.
- Autodesk Construction Solutions’ customers spoke about the digitization of construction and how data can be harnessed across the construction lifecycle:
- Jenny Moshea, Head of Technology, Sellen Construction talked about how the company has woven consistency across jobsites and throughout the project lifecycle, connecting projects today and laying the groundwork to reap the rewards of connected project data now and into the future.
- Michael Murphy, Digital Construction Operations Manager, and Simon Tritschler, Technical Deployment Specialist, Royal BAM Group shared their mantra of ‘doing new things’, and how they’ve leveraged their partnership with Autodesk Construction Solutions to reimagine and digitize their workflows with data and machine learning to de-risk projects leading to better safety, quality, and cost management.
- Billy Bean, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Oakland Athletics, closed the keynote with an inspirational address on tying data to key business outcomes.
Missed the event? Watch the webinar that recapped the event and dived deeper into all the critical announcements from Connect & Construct.
2. One ‘Connected’ Village to Rule Them All
This year’s Village at Connect & Construct was the place to be. From the partner zone to the customer zone, and everything in-between, there was no shortage of things to see and experience. Here’s a roundup of the most memorable takeaways from the Village:
1. Construction Confessional – Penny for your thoughts? Porta Potties were onsite in the Village at Connect & Construct. But it wasn’t a traditional Johnny-on-the-spot, rather, an opportunity for attendees to ‘confess’ their jobsite secrets.
2. Most Valuable Contractor (MVC) – A community of like-minded construction professionals. The MVC booth was rocking, as community liaisons talked to about the program, which creates an open environment for discussions amongst industry peers and Autodesk. For every interaction within the community, members can win experiences, rewards, and more.
3. Partner Zone – Creating a connected ecosystem of construction technology. A staggering 23 integration partners joined us at Connect & Construct 2019 to showcase new tools and how their product integrates into the Autodesk Construction Cloud to keep project data centralized and streamline workflows.
4. Answer Bar – Here to answer your burning technology questions. From preconstruction to construction, Autodesk product experts were onsite to answer workflow questions, discuss issues impacting the industry, and share tips and tricks to improve functionality.
3. Autodesk Construction Cloud
If you attended Connect & Construct, there’s one phrase you likely heard a lot: “connected construction.” Even if you’ve heard this term before, it was clear from the event that it’s gaining new traction and meaning.
The pace of change in construction is driving new challenges across the industry. The increasing need for collaboration between teams to build more effectively with new tools and processes is more important than ever before. Autodesk is dedicated to building the best solutions to better connect data across the project lifecycle. To address this, Jim Lynch, Vice President & General Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions, announced Autodesk Construction Cloud – a new breed of connected construction technology – that will bring workflows together, seamlessly moving data from design through construction.
So, what does this next generation of construction technology look like? We’re glad you asked. Be sure to read a full recap on this blog.
4. Advancing the Industry for All
Diversity and inclusion was a big focus at this year’s summit. There was even a track of classes dedicated to advancing the construction industry through a firm’s most valuable asset; people. We heard from women and male allies across the industry about the issues that are impacting construction. From debunking millennial myths to understanding how to create and champion a diverse workforce, a lot of important ground was covered:
Teaching new skills
Labor, more accurately a shortage of it, is one of the biggest challenges faced by the construction industry today. With the adoption of new technologies such as software-based project management tools, digital drawings that include 3D and BIM data, and evolving methods of collaboration, it’s essential to adopt more formalized methods of continued education, as well as find ways to make this available to skilled tradespeople.
“The industry overall is suffering from the need for skilled trade contractors. Call it whatever you want, but we have a labor issue in construction,” said Jim Rogers, Instructor, LinkedIn Learning. At the summit, he led the panel, “Elevating Skilled Trades to Project Management – The Value of Professional Development” where panelists discussed the importance of access to information and training, the value of self-paced learning, and the benefits that professional development can bring to organizations and the industry.
Engaging a multigenerational workforce
A diverse workforce is an asset to any construction company. According to McKinsey & Company, firms with diverse executive teams are up to 33% more likely to outperform their competitors.
Jeffrey Sample, Director of Strategic Accounts at eSUB explained the value of bridging the generational, gender, and racial gap to influence your company’s culture and effectiveness in his session, “Millennial Myths Debunked.” He shared how learning to work, nurture, and manage groups of people with different backgrounds and perspectives, transformative and innovative changes are possible.
“Millennials are the most ethnically diverse generation and tend to be tolerant of differences. How do we change this world? We stop looking at a single pool of people to pull from and we start to diversify and think about things differently.”
Creating a safe and inclusive environment
Safety in the construction industry is incredibly important for men and women alike. It’s also the foundation for diversity and inclusion and a culture that is being standardized across the industry.
Toolbox safety talks and wearing hardhats are critical, but that only goes so far. Proper fitting PPE – for all bodies – (harnesses, gloves, etc.) is a must to create a safe and inclusive environment. We heard from women leaders in the construction industry on how not investing in a diverse workforce hinder a company’s growth and opportunity to increase their competitive advantage.