According to The Australian Financial Review, ASX-listed construction, civil and mining services company Watpac has kicked off a tech-led transformation which includes a shift to cloud computing and adoption of drones and wearable devices on sites, as it looks to future-proof its operations.
The 34-year-old company has commenced a mammoth task of migrating 100 terabytes of data on to the cloud with Amazon Web Services, and has begun exploring the use of devices connected to the so-called Internet of Things to improve safety on its construction sites.
Once its systems and data is hosted in the cloud it will then begin to make use of a new business intelligence platform, which is currently at the proof-of-concept stage, to perform big data analytics and give the company more visibility into its supply chain and project progress.
It has previously been operating on ageing infrastructure in its existing data centres and been living with the risk of floods or man-made problems like workers digging up a fibre cable, and bringing down its systems.
"I have a pretty small team and my ability to maintain the data centres is quite limited," Mr Rose said.
"The other thing this change gives us is enhanced ability to respond and react to market conditions ... it also lets us innovate quickly. Rather than spending significant money on infrastructure which depreciates over a fixed term, we can speed things up, try them out at low cost and then either role them out more broadly or turn them off."
The technology investment comes on the back of Watpac posting a $600,000 net profit for the first half of the 2017 financial year, up from a $25.3 million loss after tax in the previous corresponding period.
Despite this, revenue was down 6.12 per cent to $583.8 million and the company's construction segment was affected by escalating costs, especially in south east Queensland, which was experiencing "intense residential construction activity".
Mr Rose would not reveal how much the upgrade was costing, but said he expected the return on investment to be positive within a three to four-year window.
"[As well as business intelligence analytics] we are looking at drones and time-lapse cameras on some sites and also looking at how IoT devices can be used to capture more information on sites."
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