Cultural fear and uncertainty

14th June, 2021
Cultural fear and uncertainty

‘We need more drive from owners to see continuity of data from design to construction to operation’ says Emily Hopson-Hill, COO at Zutec

What is your name and what position do you hold?

Emily Hopson-Hill, COO at Zutec

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

Converting our vision and strategy into execution across product and operations.

What is your professional background?

Throughout my career I have worked with companies looking to adopt digital technologies and use their culture strategically, to achieve more, both commercially and operationally. I grew from software development through product management and services leadership across telecoms, investment banking, media and property, and am now applying my broad operational experience to the construction industry.

I am also a PMI Agile Certified Professional and Scaled Agile Framework Implementer.

What short term impact do you see the pandemic having on the industry?

The most immediate impact is the realisation that technology is not a ‘nice to have’, it’s a necessity for ensuring collaboration and best practice when face-to-face meetings are not possible. This helps jump the construction industry further along the digitisation path—even if processes out there are still paper based, the collaboration and office technologies that have been adopted pave the way for further technology-based streamlining and automation.

What key technologies do you think will have a lasting impact on the construction sector?

Big Data solutions, which are necessary for dealing with the vast amount of construction data and, increasingly, IoT data associated with building projects, coupled with visualisation and analytics capabilities. Yes, there are exciting developments in off-site and modular methods of construction, but without the technologies to understand the effects that changed manufacturing and building methods have on projects, we won’t be able to determine the lasting impact.

When it comes to digital transformation, what key challenges is the industry facing?

Cultural fear and uncertainty—common across many industries that have not traditionally sought technology skills in staff when digitisation is happening.

We need more drive from owners to see continuity of data from design to construction to operation—without this, each phase will continue to operate as a silo, limiting both the digital opportunities and the ability to manage the full building life cycle.

Where do you see the industry in 5 years’ time?

There will be more digitisation across the board, initially for collaboration, then regulatory and compliance, and building on top of that for operational efficiency and allowing owners to take control of their buildings’ life cycles. IoT technologies will be better integrated, and technology-based sustainability KPI measurement will be part of most projects.

Emily Hopson-Hill is speaking at the CIF’s 2021 Digital Construction Summit on June 17th. Visit www.digitalconstruction.ie for full details and for bookings.

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