Flack to the Future

KMR, the parent company USGlass magazine, just completed a very interesting research project about the technologies contract glazing companies plan to embrace in the future. It’s quite telling and detailed in more depth in the June issue of USGlass magazine.

The study looks at a series of technologies, many of which have been identified as crucial to the future success of contract glaziers. Here’s a breakdown of those technologies and how many have adopted them already:

Technology in Use by Contract Glaziers

Modeling software23%
Internet of Things20%
3D printing19%
Smart PPE Wearable technologies (i.e. exoskeletons)11%
Virtual reality6%
Artificial intelligence6%
Autonomous vehicles4%
Augmented reality0%

SOURCE: KMR Research Study

Since most general contractors see the implementation of these technologies as crucial to future success, and since many of the larger contract glazing companies have embraced at least some of them, you would expect mid-sized or regional glazing contractors to follow suit. Well they are … a bit. Here’s a look at how many expect to adopt this technology in the near future:

Technology to be Adopted by Contract Glaziers

TechnologyWill Adopt
Smart PPE Wearable technologies (i.e. exoskeletons)47%
Internet of Things46%
Modeling software42%
Virtual reality34%
3D printing26%
Augmented reality25%
Artificial intelligence24%
Autonomous vehicles22%

SOURCE: KMR Research Study

KMR also asked contract glaziers which technologies they do not see themselves investing in, whether or not they believe it to be somewhat important or not important at all:

Technology Not Being Adopted by Contract Glaziers

TechnologyWill  Not Adopt
Augmented reality75%
Autonomous vehicles74%
Artificial intelligence70%
Virtual reality60%
3D printing56%
Smart PPE/Wearable technologies (i.e. exoskeletons)41%
Modeling software36%
Internet of Things34%

SOURCE: KMR Research Study

This is both telling and scary at the same time. In an industry that is over-ripe for disruption (see my next blog), technology such as drones and virtual reality (VR) will play a major role. In fact, I haven’t visited a single major contract glazier in the past two years that hasn’t already embraced technology. Companies that are slow to, or don’t, embrace these new tools will find themselves left behind in the new actual reality. Just ask any of the glazing contractors that were slow to offer unitized systems how that worked out for them.

So just for today, consider me the proverbial “miner’s canary” sounding the alarm, down in the mine with you. Many of these technologies are in the future for successful contract glazing businesses. Build your future with that in mind.