Helping shape the future for Southeast Asia’s construction industry

Helping shape the future for Southeast Asia’s construction industry

How automation and telematics are helping construction project managers find advantage in the data

The Southeast Asian construction industry is poised to hit full speed. GlobalData’s Construction Project Momentum Index indicates that, having languished in 9th place as recently as January, the Southeast Asia construction sector is now the 4th placed region globally1. Vietnam and Philippines, whose stalling construction sectors dragged down the regional average, are now back on track with both now kickstarting work on major international airports. FDI is flowing and things are looking up.

Now it is crucial that a historically traditional sector capitalizes on this momentum by embracing the digitization of the construction process both off-site and on-site. The sheer number of contractors involved in a fragmented industry have previously made the full scale implementation of digital technologies seem unachievable, but now the need is clear. Leaders in the construction industry see standardization, consolidation and supply chain integration as inevitable so project managers will have to step up. They need to get familiar with the technologies, map out their digitization strategy and build out a case for investment across people, software and hardware.

"The upside of industry digitization on the mobility of people, goods and data is clear and will be increasingly compelling..."

The upside of industry digitization on the mobility of people, goods and data is clear and will be increasingly compelling as project managers consider how to optimize the construction process. With greater predictability on the delivery of materials and the availability of vehicles, the efficiency of material handling on-site could be dramatically improved and the benefits of just in time delivery of goods fully realized. Construction projects would become more agile and more responsive to changing requirements. This would ensure a greater resilience and a better end result for both customers and end users.

Helping shape the future for Southeast Asia’s construction industry
The upside of industry digitization on the mobility of people, goods and data is clear and will be increasingly compelling

On-site GPS-enabled telematics are already offering project managers unprecedented, real-time insight into project progress, site safety, driver/vehicle idle time and maintenance needs. Project managers will increasingly be able to ‘be everywhere at once’, managing multiple projects thereby maximizing human and vehicle effectiveness. A more youthful, digitally native breed of project manager will thrive as the construction sector begins to place more value in data and seizes opportunities to drive better outcomes through deeper analytics and actionable insight.

But so far this is all tinkering around the edges. Optimizing how construction happens but not transforming it. Taking repetitive, physical, precise and time-sensitive tasks and executing them a little better. The real potential for industry transformation will grow exponentially with the roll-out of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). In an industry plagued by narrow profit margins, chronic labor shortages and traditional thinking, CAVs - alongside other leading edge digital technologies like robotics, 5G, drones and building information modeling - will increasingly give project managers the capability to set new standards in safety, productivity, and efficiency

With improved sequencing of work, both vehicles and people will be able to deliver more, in less time with greater precision and at less risk. The widespread use of CAVs in Southeast Asia is not decades away. Given the scale of the opportunity it is certain that successful deployment of robotics in heavy machinery in markets like Australia - where mining is a perfect training ground for the technology - will soon find its way here, especially as the broader logistics industry in the region matures. Cat MineStar Command claim to have autonomously hauled more than 4.4 billion tons and clocked up over 91 million miles2. While cost of replacement might slow uptake of robotics in heavy machinery, the growing ability to retrofit LiDAR, cameras, GPS, RFID, and even other sensors will make sure the momentum continues to build.

Data-informed planning and execution in the construction sector is an exciting space with seemingly limitless applications to on-site mobility but project managers will have to strike a fine balance. In a traditional industry and a fragmented region there are legacy complexities that will resist optimization. As construction digitizes, business leaders and customers will be putting project managers under pressure to find improved profitability in the data but change will have to be carefully thought through to ensure the best results are realized.

Mobil, as an expert in the mobility space, is determined to help our partners - leaders and teams - take the lead in the transformation of the construction sector. In line with the digitization of the construction process we are looking to provide project managers with the real-time data they need to make faster, more accurate decisions on maintenance and also simple services designed to enable the best outcomes on multiple projects.


  1. Construction Project Momentum Index, GlobalData - March 2022
  2. Quoted in Equipment World in April 2022 ‘Cat’s Autonomous Haul Trucks Set a New Record’


Construction Logistics: Building Blocks of Success - Track POD, October 2022

A Joint Venture Revolutionizes Construction Logistics - CIO, July 2022

The state of construction projects in South East Asia - Investment Monitor, February 2022

Mapping the Paradigm Shift Towards the Digital Era in Southeast Asia’s Building and Construction Markets - LEK, December 2019

The past, present and future of technological adoption on labour reliance - RLB, April 2022

The next normal in construction material distribution - McKinsey&Co, September 2020

3 Tech Trends Shaping the Future of Construction - Charlton Morris Group, June 2021

Construction machines in the digital age - Oliver Wyman, 2020

The rise of autonomous construction equipment - Geospatial World, September 2021

Enquiry form

Helping shape the future for Southeast Asia’s construction industry