What does COVID-19 mean for AEC industry startups, public companies, and the future of the construction industry?
In this long-form article, AEC Labs takes a look at whether recent capital inflows to the construction industry could be redirected toward more established players who may struggle to emerge from the shadow of COVID. We also ask if COVID will put the brakes on capital flowing into the sector entirely and drive increased consolidation across the industry. What about construction tech’s prospects, valuations, and the future of construction tech more broadly? There’s a lot to unpack here!
Earlier this summer, I participated in an internal AECOM client event that discussed the future of “integrated” mobility hubs in different types of geographic locations (urban, suburban, and rural). What is an integrated mobility hub? It’s our working definition for real estate or infrastructure development that incorporates mixed uses, smart-city technology, public spaces, and multi-modal transportation options, from autonomous vehicles and buses to ride-sharing alternatives, scooters, and drones. At the event, I spoke specifically about e-commerce applications, public-private partnerships, and how certain kinds of P3 models might be used to foster the development of these hubs. I thought it would be worthwhile to transform my talking points from the event into a longer form article here at AEC Labs, so here we go!
Gamifying infrastructure: why the future for bridging the infrastructure funding gap could be crossed on the blockchain
It’s been quiet around here lately thanks to some demands around the AEC Labs home office, but we’re happy to be back and have some great content and initiatives planned around here in 2019, so I hope you will stick with us! As some of you may know, I spent a lot of time last fall thinking about how blockchain technology could apply to the construction industry. In the course of working through that effort, I also found myself increasingly thinking more specifically about how a blockchain solution or protocol (but not necessarily a standalone cryptocurrency) could help bridge the $3.5 trillion infrastructure funding gap (for maintenance on existing infrastructure alone!) through 2025. And, with infrastructure getting a single mention 55 minutes into this week’s State of the Union Address, I think it remains timely to consider how the country can possibly bridge that gap.
A recent article in the UK’s Construction News publication (also picked up nationally here in the US by Bisnow) suggests that Amazon is “reinventing” the construction and real estate development markets thanks to its incredible growth, both in the US and abroad. But what, specifically, does that mean? And should construction industry stakeholders feel “emboldened” or “threatened” by Amazon’s disruptive tactics? Could the company vertically integrate into a development, design, and construction operation that serves third-party clients? We tackle all of these questions in this article here at AEC Labs.
The potential “tokenization” of infrastructure assets via an “initial public token sale” that would allow communities (or perhaps developers) to raise money for infrastructure projects, with the potential for those tokens to increase in value over time (like many other cryptocurrencies), seems a step closer here in 2018 with real estate cryptocurrency developer BitRent holding an initial coin offering earlier this year.
US infrastructure funding gap = $1.5T
Domestic construction productivity down 20% since 1980
Global construction market to double by 2030 to $18T