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In Conversation with a ConTech Expert, Aref Boualwan, About the Future of the Construction Industry

The construction industry, a cornerstone of modern civilization, stands on the cusp of transformation. With rapid urbanization, climate change, and evolving societal needs, it faces an array of challenges.

In this interview with Aref Boualwan, we engage with an industry expert to delve into the most pressing questions shaping the future of construction.

If you're curious about the future of construction, this discussion is a must-read.

Q & A With Aref

Who Did We Interview?

Aref has occupied Executive positions at multinational corporations in Digital Transformation for over twenty years. He also holds a “Strategy Officer” position at the World Economic Forum, is a Board of Directors member at Technology & Innovation Startups, & an Advisor\ Consultant for Universities and international Research Groups\ Expert Networks.

Aref’s career at CCC Group included creating & implementing Third and Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies in operations of turnover values exceeding $70 Billion. Last year’s focus was on providing vision, direction, and leadership to many discrete Strategic Initiatives & projects that drive organization-wide transformational & digital change.

Aref is CEO of “CCC Startup” company, a CCC Group subsidiary that implements disruptive technologies in partnership with tech Startups. He, & his geographically diversified team in Europe & Middle East delivered world-record innovations in Renewables, 3D Printing, Wearables, IoT, Additive Manufacturing, AI, etc.

Aref contributes to the “World Economic Forum,” with influence etched in studies & white papers delving into megatrends, Industry 4.0, Infrastructure 4.0, Globalization 4.0, 4IR, and UN SDGs initiatives.

At UNEP GlobalABC, Aref contributes to studies related to Net Zero Carbon Transition and efficient and resilient Buildings\ Construction Sector.

Aref is a consultation group member at the OECD Blue Dot Network, an initiative that puts ESG at the heart of infrastructure development. An Ambassador to FMC, led by the U.S. State Department & WEF, driving decarbonization efforts by fostering early markets for Greentech crucial to achieving a Net-Zero transition.

Let Us Quickly Get To Our Expert’s Point Of View.

Question 1: The construction industry has undergone dynamic changes over the years. What do you consider the biggest challenge for this industry now?

The construction industry faces pressing challenges, including a global housing deficit affecting 1.6 billion people and the need for two billion homes in the next 75 years. Aging infrastructure requires renovation, while rapid demographic growth in the part of the world demands new structures.

Balancing growth, affordability, and sustainability is crucial, especially with 80% of cities becoming unaffordable for most residents. These challenges are intensified by climate change and global transitions. However, opportunities lie in Construction Technology (ConTech), powered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which can ultimately offer solutions for a sustainable and inclusive built environment!

Question 2: What potential do you see in the latest construction technology trends? Are they capable of boosting the productivity of construction professionals?

The latest trends in construction technology hold immense potential, and I believe they can significantly boost the productivity of construction professionals. Drawing from a World Economic Forum report I contributed to, titled "Future Scenarios and Implications for the Industry," we identified three transformative megatrends:

1. Building in a Virtual World: In this scenario, we envision a future where people are deeply integrated with virtual reality in every facet of life. Intelligent systems and robots predominantly operate in the construction industry. This streamlines processes and reduces human errors, leading to enhanced productivity.

2. Factories Run the World: This trend foresees a corporate-dominated society where prefabrication and modularization are the norms. By shifting construction to controlled environments like factories, we can achieve faster build times, reduce waste, and ensure consistent quality, all contributing to heightened productivity.

3. A Green Reboot: Given the escalating conflicts over scarce resources and the pressing issue of climate change, this trend emphasizes rebuilding with a focus on eco-friendly construction methods and sustainable materials. While this approach prioritizes environmental conservation, it also introduces efficient construction techniques that may boost productivity by reducing resource wastage and optimizing processes.

Question 3: Where do you see the construction industry in the next five years? Please share your valuable insights with our readers.

In the next five years, I envision the construction industry as a dynamic confluence of the three megatrends we discussed earlier. Rather than one trend overshadowing the others, there will be a harmonious blend, with each trend evolving and influencing the industry uniquely.

1. Building in a Virtual World will continue to gain traction, with more construction processes being automated and integrated with intelligent systems. Virtual reality will be pivotal in planning, design, and training, offering a more immersive and efficient approach.

2. The Factories Run the World trend will see further refinement. Prefabrication and modularization will become even more prevalent, driven by the need for speed, consistency, and cost-efficiency. This approach will be particularly beneficial in urban settings where time and space are at a premium.

3. A Green Reboot will be more crucial than ever. As global emphasis on sustainability grows, eco-friendly construction methods and sustainable materials will become the industry standard, not just an alternative.

However, the game-changers will be those who adeptly mix and match elements from these trends, tailoring them to specific technology applications, local needs, and project requirements in the next five years. By doing so, they'll ensure that their projects are not only cutting-edge but also relevant and sustainable. Thus, I firmly believe we'll witness a construction landscape where all three mega trends coexist and complement each other, leading to a more innovative, efficient, and sustainable industry.

Get to Know Our Influencer

Question 4: In four words or less, what’s your prediction about the transforming construction industry?

4IR: Sustainable yet Affordable Construction.

Question 5: What's your success mantra?

Human-centric solutions, balancing affordability and sustainability.

More Details

Aref is an advisor and board member to various startups that digitally transform legacy industries. He excels at mentoring seed-stage startups to achieve product-market fit, sell to C-level and executive decision-makers, and become international revenue-generating businesses. All the startups he has partnered with have successfully raised Series A & B rounds from world-renowned investors.

Recognized commentator & speaker at events organized by the UN, EU Arab Summit, BuiltWorlds, The Big 5, The Solar Show, and Construction Tech. Forum, etc. Opinions cited in Reuters, Business Green, Yahoo Finance, Forbes Middle East, MEED, MTV, Euro2Day, BusinessNews, Business Insider, and Markets Insider.

Aref has a proven track record as an executive with a business vision, hard-core technical skills & the ability to grow/motivate/bring people together. A career in building businesses through innovation & technology.