How AI Is Transforming Skilled Trades: Opportunities and Challenges

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming skilled trades in beneficial ways. Not only does AI create opportunities, but there are also challenges to overcome for ongoing success.

Understanding how AI is transforming the trades shows why the technology is helpful to the companies that adopt it. Knowing the challenges of implementing AI in the trades provides reasons why more companies do not use it.

Discover how AI is transforming skilled trades, including the opportunities and challenges of using the technology.

Supply Chain

AI is essential for inventory management:

  • Plumbing, janitorial, HVAC, and cleaning companies have invested in cloud-based inventory management systems.
  • The use of cloud-based technology supports efficient inventory analysis.
  • Knowing which parts come from overseas, which materials to source in the U.S., and the ongoing impact of the associated costs helps satisfy customers and bring in revenue.

Speed Of Completion

AI supports communication throughout every step of a work order:

  • Short message service (SMS) is used for pre-job communication.
  • Global positioning system (GPS) technology tracks a technician’s arrival.
  • Skilled tradespeople use video technology to access on-call experts to troubleshoot complex jobs, answer questions, and reduce the number of job site visits.
  • When a work order is complete, the technician can send photos and videos of the work for the owners or managers to view the results without being onsite.
  • Onsite tradespeople can accept payments through their phones.


AI helps with hiring tradespeople:

  • Social media influencers highlight opportunities to make a great living in skilled trades because of the low barrier to entry and affordable training.
  • Tile experts highlight their skills on Instagram.
  • Construction contractors promote their talents on TikTok.
  • Expert carpenters demonstrate their abilities on YouTube.
  • Television shows highlight how to flip homes that require new plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.
  • Online reviews, organic search results, and paid digital advertising drive customer acquisitions.


Purchasing and implementing AI technology is expensive:

  • Robots for the construction industry can cost millions of dollars.
  • Software with machine learning and automation features can be prohibitively expensive.


The construction industry has been slow to implement AI:

  • Unless technology has a proven history of success, it is not likely to be widely used for risky, expensive projects.
  • The uniqueness of each project and site means the data collected from one project is unlikely to benefit another project.
  • A lack of explanations for predictions and decisions does not build trust with project stakeholders.
  • AI engineers with construction experience are difficult to find.


AI-powered systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks:

  • High project costs make contractors and project owners a target for phishing scams.
  • Hackers can manipulate project data for their benefit.
  • Data mistakes can result in expensive or dangerous project errors.
  • Project errors can impact the health and life of the construction workers and building occupants.

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