The promising convergence of the construction industry and the digital world

YIT CORPORATION News, October 12, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.

3D-printed houses, construction drawings in the cloud – digitalisation is transforming the construction industry, but the future is still full of question marks. What is certain, however, is that the construction industry and digitalisation are made for each other, and the customer will be the greatest beneficiary.

Digitalisation plays a significant role in our daily lives. We consume traditional and social media online, shop in online stores, search for information and jump from one app to the next on our smartphones.

“Digitalisation is progressing in big strides, challenging traditional operating models in all areas of life,” says Timo Heimo , Vice President, Digital Services and Business Support at Kesko.

Many businesses and organisations that are widely perceived as being traditional operators, such as banks, the public authorities and insurance companies, now provide a diverse range of online services. According to Toni Ruuska , the Development Manager in charge of the YIT Plus service, the construction industry is facing important decisions.

“The construction industry is now at the same turning point as the one faced by the media sector about 15 years ago. Construction companies must decide whether they want to stubbornly hold on to their old ways of working or take a bold step forward to the world of digitality,” Ruuska says.

Add this home to your shopping cart?

For YIT, the answer is clear. According to Ruuska, YIT has embraced the process of digitalisation with an open mind. He believes it will be possible to make a digital purchase of a home in Finland within five years. Until recently, it was assumed that people would not make online purchases of anything more expensive than a household appliance. However, today’s consumers are prepared to even buy a car online: the customer takes a virtual tour of the vehicle, down to the smallest detail, customises it by clicking here and there, and then places the order. With a price tag well in excess of one hundred thousand euros. Why couldn’t people buy a home in the same manner?

“In the digital industry, a company may spend years developing a mobile game priced at less than a euro. Investing in the buying process of an apartment priced at hundreds of thousands of euros makes perfect sense, also from the business perspective. Besides, it’s easier to market a home than a mobile game: everyone needs a place to live,” Ruuska points out.

First listen, then build
YIT’s goal is to develop digital services that make life easier for customers. As a pioneer in its industry, it faces a playing field where there is still room for experimentation and the development of new operating methods. According to Ruuska, the construction industry and digitality are made for each other. To the digital world, lacking in physical substance, the marriage provides a concrete dimension. To the construction industry, it offers greater customer orientation, transparency, flexibility and speed.

“In the past, perhaps YIT’s role could have been seen as building the roof, floor and walls. Those days are long gone. We want to provide comprehensive housing services and maintain a role in the customer’s life even after we hand over the keys,” he explains.

Ruuska points out that buying a home is one of the most significant purchases people make. In the past, homes were built with practically no input from their future residents regarding their needs and wishes. YIT now takes advantage of digitalisation to turn this model upside down. First you listen, then you build. The new YIT Plus service is one example of this new approach.

Improvement through small changes

Rather than expecting massive changes of a revolutionary nature, Ruuska believes digitalisation will transform the construction industry quite inconspicuously. People might not recognise the differences until much later when, looking back, they wonder if things were done differently in the past. Drastic innovations like 3D-printing entire buildings, on the other hand, are still in the distant future according to Heimo and Ruuska. The big trend for the next few years is the Internet of Things, or IoT. Networked sensors attached to things such as work equipment will transmit real-time data on their use, and any problems, to the company that sold the equipment. This will make maintenance and repairs more proactive. Real-time data will also support automated refills.

Construction industry professionals are looking for increasingly detailed information on a variety of things, such as the attributes and uses of products. Digital applications give professionals convenient access to this data, regardless of whether they are located at the office or a construction site. With the professionals being free to focus on their main task, the process of construction will become faster. Applications increase safety, save time and reduce costs. Ruuska is enthusiastic about the benefits of greater resource efficiency. Having data stored and made available to all of the appropriate parties automatically will eliminate piles of physical file folders and documentation. Digitalisation can help bypass many time-consuming stages of work.

While there are many people who are intimidated by the rapid development of the digital world, Kesko’s Heimo is confident that digitalisation is predominantly a very positive trend. It will make life easier for Finns in ways that we can’t even imagine. Digital applications will introduce greater flexibility to our daily lives. People can use services in the way that suits them best, regardless of place and time.

“We are just taking the first steps towards the digital world. The key is to boldly experiment with new innovations and test them to determine their advantages,” Heimo concludes.

YIT PLUS

Your home is now online

YIT Plus is a new digital service that makes life easier for both prospective homebuyers and those who already live in a YIT Home. Every YIT Home buyer receives login credentials for the YIT Plus service when they sign the contract. The YIT Plus application gives future residents the opportunity to monitor the construction of their new home as well as select their preferred materials and interior decoration solutions. Residents can also use the service to access up-to-date information on their water and electricity consumption as well as messages from the housing company and neighbours on an electronic bulletin board. The service’s convenient message templates make it possible to send messages, such as notifications and service requests to the property manager, in a matter of seconds. The application also serves as a secure repository for all documentation related to the apartment, making physical file folders a thing of the past. The information is accessible to YIT and the customer at any time on a variety of devices, including smartphones. Sending requests for repair services to professional service providers only takes a couple of clicks, and the accumulated data helps YIT prevent mistakes going forward, making every future YIT Home even better.

For further information, please contact:

Hanna Malmivaara , Vice President, Communications, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 40 561 6568, hanna.malmivaara@yit.fi

Toni Ruuska, Development Manager, YIT Corporation, puh. +358 40 352 4941, toni.ruuska@yit.fi

YIT creates better living environment by developing and constructing housing, business premises, infrastructure and entire areas. Our vision is to bring more life in sustainable cities. We want to focus on caring for customer, visionary urban development, passionate execution and inspiring leadership. Our growth engine is urban development involving partners. Our operating area covers Finland, Russia, the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. In 2015, our revenue amounted to nearly EUR 1.7 billion, and we employ about 5,300 employees. Our share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. www.yitgroup.com  

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About Us

YIT creates better living environment by developing and constructing housing, business premises, infrastructure and entire areas. Our vision is to bring more life in sustainable cities. We want to focus on caring for customer, visionary urban development, passionate execution and inspiring leadership. Our growth engine is urban development involving partners. Our operating area covers Finland, Russia, the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. In 2016, our revenue amounted to nearly EUR 1.8 billion, and we employ about 5,300 employees. Our share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. www.yitgroup.com

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