As the pandemic accelerates the pace of change, collaboration technology has never been more important.
2020 will certainly be recorded as a tumultuous year; a-once-in-a-100-year pandemic, a deep impact to our economic stability, highlighting socio-economic inequalities and the growing income divide. We have all been impacted personally and professionally; those looking to enter the workforce were sidelined as companies went into survival mode, whereas others experienced an increased demand for their skills and products that support remote work and collaboration.
The best overall observation, which has been widely discussed in the media, is “the pandemic is an accelerant”. Basically, against whatever trend you can measure, whether it is economic forces, social equity or technology adoption, the pace of change has moved from a steady curve to vertical. Online retail, media streaming, virtualization, and home delivery companies have experienced essentially 10 years of growth in 10 months. The same trends can be mapped for our industry, where, almost overnight, we had to introduce the tools and discipline to maintain our project data in the cloud and become comfortable collaborating online.
Our organization has also been impacted. Like all professionals, we had to quickly move to rethink our operations to limit physical interaction. We accelerated our plans to focus on online engagement, and as a result, we continue to grow our community.The demand for technology and best practices, which support remote team work, has obviously exploded creating increased participation in our organization. We pride ourselves in creating opportunities for our members to network, share ideas, collaborate, and build lasting relationships. We are proud that we are helping businesses find and utilize new technologies that support their work through the pandemic. Our Think Tank Program has experienced explosive growth as innovation leaders from across the continent discovered this new way to collaborate with their peers while still physically isolating. To manage our growth we made major adjustments to our governance structure, including adding new, talented Board Members and kick-starting theExecutive and International Advisory Boards.
The impact of the pandemic has underlined the importance of CanBIM’s mission to advance our industry and improve our civilization; the need to take advantage of technology such as BIM, common data environment systems, digital collaboration platforms, and reality capture has moved from a business advantage to an operational necessity. As we experience this new pace of change, we look to the future; what are the technologies that we need today and tomorrow? What are the skills we need to acquire? How will our means and methods evolve? How are advancements in materials and manufacturing changing the way we design, build, and operate?
The expansion of the technology ecosystem for the AECOO space is continuing. The Canadian building industry continues to roll forward despite the pandemic. Demand for increased capacity to build complex projects, such as pharmaceutical, data centres, and infrastructure continues to increase. The residential sector is booming, as Canadians move from urban centres to suburbs and rural communities. While, transversely, cities continue to see demand for more affordable housing options. This spike in industry activity has had a positive impact on Canadian entrepreneurs who are bringing innovative products to market. These startups are helping to usher in a technological manufacturing revolution or “Industry 4.0” for Construction. CanBIM has played a critical role in supporting these startups, creating events to support their growth as part of our strategy to contribute towards building our innovation economy.
CanBIM’s members are driving change in the industry in every province in Canada and preparing for the post-pandemic recovery boom. We are enhancing our collaboration, building our data strategies, and creating agility across teams. This use of technology will continue to accelerate, as we adjust to the future of work. The opportunity we have now is to build a strong foundation to ensure the advancements that we develop today will become the best practices of the future. Our members are seizing this moment to permanently reshape our industry. The technology you introduce, the best practices you develop, and the skills and habits you imprint on your business over the next 10 months will position your firm to compete for the next 10 years. CanBIM will continue to support this digital transformation by helping our members improve their operations today and develop their vision for their tomorrow.
Thomas J. Strong
CanBIM President, CEO & Co-Founder