Taking place on 9 - 11 October 2018 at Birmingham’s NEC as part of UK Construction Week, Building Tech Live showcases the future of construction. We speak to Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, about what to expect.
1) Formerly known as Smart Buildings, the show evolved this year into Building Tech Live – can you explain why the name change was important?
The term ‘smart’ has become quite a broad one, similar to eco, and we want the show to be more specific so, with feedback from visitors, and as we formed our partnership with Voltimum and ECA, we changed the name to Building Tech Live. This gives a better overall feel on how we encompass four key areas: Internet of Things (IoT), lighting, automation, and communication technology.
2) So, what is the raison d'être of the show? And why do people need to attend?
As technology continues to disrupt and revolutionise the construction industry, each part of the industry holds the seeds for a future boom, in particular, the sound and vision market.
Understanding the relationship between smart technology and buildings as it expands from residential into commercial is part of the future for construction and the show educates the unsure, the uneducated and hopefully the naysayers!
3) How has the show grown since you began? Have you witnessed much change in construction technology and techniques?
Building Tech Live is at the heart of our innovation theme this year. What these architectural, communications and connectivity, smart lighting and security technologies offer for commercial and residential fit-outs is mind-blowing.
We’ve definitely witnessed a change in both technology and techniques for construction. In our first year, IoT wasn’t a big thing and now it’s everywhere. IoT and growth in software are the reason why the global building automation market has grown and continues to grow. The lighting sector was estimated to be worth £2.4 billion in 2017 thanks to the growing popularity of LED lighting and there’s further expansion forecast for the year ahead.
The Government is seeing the benefits of construction technology too as it makes millions of pounds available through its Construction Sector Deal to invest in digital infrastructure and also to get people trained up in the sector.
Fundamentally, it’s about understanding and responding to consumer behaviour and their expectations on how a building can work for and respond to them.
4) The show is a mix of exhibitor stands and live theatres, in the case of the former, how many companies will be displaying and explaining their wares this year?
We have over 60 exhibitors at the show, some of whom will be linking in with UKCW’s ‘Future of Construction’ theme. The Innovation Trail will feature the latest thinking in products, systems and ideas for the building technology sector with exhibitors including Canon and its 3D printers, the award-winning My Smart Box, and Kore, who will be discussing their new podcast series on IoT development and strategies, electrical power solutions expert GEWISS, and Okappy with its job management software.
We’ve gathered together other global exhibitors too including: MSC Software; RISCO; Vivaldi, with their new Giove FreeMK2 amplifier system; Safety Culture, demoing their iAuditor inspection app; and ECS who will be on hand to discuss the new ECS electrician check.
5) And in the case of the latter, what will be the must-see highlights from the theatres?
There are three theatres this year. The Building Tech Live Theatre, supported by Voltimum and ECA, will cover sessions on smart homes, cyber security, fire safety and prevention, and will showcase new examples of the sector’s use of augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. The Gooee IoT Arena will showcase Gooee’s award-winning IoT ecosystem with its partnered companies including Aurora to give visitors a practical and interactive experience. And lastly the Digital Construction Hub has an invaluable programme of free CPD sessions covering topics such as BIM and cybersecurity.
6) Finally, tell us about your Voltimum Smart Solutions Awards.
Now is the time to champion professionals leading the way in smart solutions and that is exactly what we’ll be doing at the Voltimum Smart Solutions Awards. It celebrates installers, manufacturers and wholesalers who are going the extra mile to drive this market forward.
This year’s award categories include: Best Installer, Best Project – Commercial, Best Project – Residential, Best Product – Commercial, Best Product – Residential, Best Manufacturer and Outstanding Contribution Award.
The winning entries will be announced by Steph McGovern on 10 October.