Utilizing New Technology in Long Standing Industries, Part Two

In part one of our segment on adopting new technology, we explored the many reasons why companies across all industries should keep up with the latest technological advances in their fields. In part two, we will discuss a few specific ways technology is having an impact in architecture, construction, and engineering.     

The Cloud       
            There are a multitude of apps and software available that coordinate work on and offsite to facilitate the development and completion of projects in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. 
            Cloud-based services such as Infrakit make data sharing particularly easy. Throughout the project, information can be shared and edited in real time. Not only does it facilitate communication, it can track every step and decision made, creating a virtual log of changes to the original plan. Errors can be spotted right away, eliminating waste and increasing the overall quality of the project.
            Companies like Infrakit provide the convenience of communicating and making decisions in real time. These apps and websites ensure that all of the necessary parties are kept up to date with progress and informed of any issues or modifications as they arise. The advantage of having this communication available in the cloud is that information can be accessed and shared by multiple people between jobsites and offices around the world. You do not have to rely on sending and editing files over email or file sharing; the updates are made instantaneously for all users. 
            Not only are cloud-based apps and websites advantageous for those planning the projects, they can also simplify the process for all involved.  Workers at a job site can submit time cards or expense reports without having to return to an office to use a computer. Similarly, any information or records required on the jobsite can be sent back and forth securely and instantly. 

            One of the most important impacts that new technology is having on long-established industries like construction is keeping worksites safer for employees. When businesses fail to take advantage of the many ways technology can protect work sites, they are contributing to the steady rate of accidents and even fatalities seen each year. By not changing how they do business, they are doing nothing to protect their workers.    
            There are many ways that technology can make a big impact on worksite safety.  Training can now be performed through the use of virtual reality, eliminating the need for potentially dangerous “on the job” training. Wearable technology such as watches and monitors can help detect and eliminate exhaustion, one of the leading causes of accidents. By analyzing a worker’s heart rate, body temperature, and overall motion throughout their shift, the technology can suggest breaks and alert supervisors to any potential red flags.
            Wearable technology can also help predict what behavior may lead to an accident by logging near misses and analyzing the collected data over time. Artificial intelligence can learn to recognize what kind of conduct can lead to a potential accident and then signal to the wearer when they are engaging in a known harmful activity.
            Likewise, cameras can be positioned to see what the worker is seeing, either attached to glasses or other headgear. This allows the AI to take note of everything being experienced at the site. The technology collects this data and monitors the jobsite based on what the workers see and hear. Wearable sensors can detect issues that may be missed by workers such as gas leaks, hazardous waste, and other environmental concerns. 

Offsite Construction
            Being able to perform portions of construction away from the actual site has proven to have many advantages across industries, all thanks to the technological advances now available. Building large portions of the final structure offsite means less time disrupting the jobsite itself. This is a benefit to the client, especially if the site is being utilized during construction. In areas where severe weather may be a factor, offsite construction can lead to fewer delays. Doing a portion of the work in a controlled environment also provides a higher degree of safety for the workers. 
            There is a large variety of technology that has made offsite construction not only possible, but also preferable. Autonomous machines and robots can work quickly and interact with each other, greatly reducing or even eliminating human error.  Augmented and virtual realities keep offsite work connected to progress being made onsite. Through a combination of telematics, cameras, and other data collected from the site, users can see progress being made and make changes in real time to better enhance the building process. It also keeps all aspects of the project updated and on the same page over the course of the job. 
            Before any construction begins, 3D printing can help to plan the project ahead of time. Now more than ever, architects and engineers are taking advantage of 3D printing not only to help fully visualize the final products, but also to make calculations and plans for every step of the process. Even drones can be utilized to bring plans to life as the constructions develops both on and offsite.
            When information needs to be transmitted from one site to another, companies like Tridify allow industry professionals to save time and money by publishing their building information modeling to a website. These files can then be securely shared and edited throughout the building process. Companies can even combine models from different software into one shareable model, eliminating extraneous steps and errors. These types of software increase efficiency on all levels from planning and design all the way through to construction.
            Tridify also gives architects the tools to properly visualize the project in order to more accurately communicate their plans and ideas. Their BIM software gives the design team the ability to build models virtually to eliminate errors that often arise from inaccurate calculations. It also more precisely predicts costs, reducing fluctuating budgets. 

            Through every stage of planning, engineering, and building, technology can make the job faster, more efficient, and less costly. It can prevent accidents and facilitate communication. All industries are evolving to the new trends technology has to offer, and there are plenty of ways technology can save you time and money. Any business not embracing the new tools available will soon find itself left behind by its competitors.