Artificial intelligence (AI) can help boost productivity. Machine learning helps scrutinize massive amounts of data and elevates critical issues to project managers. Artificial neural networks can keep large projects on budget by predicting potential cost overruns. AI also can give safety an upgrade, using tools like SmartVid.io to automatically detect safety hazards and speedily capture field observations. And, when fully automated equipment becomes a reality, 5G bandwidth will be a necessity.
Speedy VR Visualization
It’s easier than ever to develop 360-degree visualizations that help clients envision a project before it begins and track it during construction. Digital files are easily shared among members of the full project team, reducing the need for travel and enabling faster decision-making. InstaVR offers a web-based tool that makes developing interactive virtual reality (VR) applications a speedier, easier process — even for users with no coding experience.
Building Tech Funding
Venture capitalists are betting big on technology in construction. According to Crunchbase, construction tech startups raised upward of $1.3 billion in 2018, an increase of roughly 130% over the previous year. Companies such as Autodesk and Trimble also spent billions to acquire construction tech startups. While funding in 2019 might not match those soaring numbers, the emerging reliance on tech in construction should keep the investment money flowing.
Data analytics is driving the future of business intelligence in the construction industry. New tech tools and processes are helping interpret large amounts of data for meaningful implementation. Wide-ranging software options analyze data to help improve safety, efficiency and quality. With these tools, contractors can forecast markets, reduce risk, increase safety, improve workflows, identify opportunities for automation, reduce waste and more.
Though 3D-printed buildings were once hailed as a revolution for the built industry, the uptake for this type of use has been slow. Why? Along with regulatory challenges, such construction requires large-scale printers, which are scarce and expensive; cost and speed factors also need enhancement. But the tipping point might be arriving, courtesy of the military sector. As reported in Fast Company, the U.S. Marine Corps is exploring the technology to rethink how emergency housing and infrastructure is built, printing a 500-square-foot concrete barracks hut.
The robot revolution is coming to the building trade, too. The SAM100 masonry robot from Construction Robotics can lay a speedy 350 bricks per hour. But much of robotic technology is designed to boost efficiency in human workers instead of replacing them. The MULE (material unit lift enhancer), also from Construction Robotics, helps workers easily move material weighing as much as 135 pounds.
Buildings account for nearly 40% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, according to Architecture 2030, a nonprofit that advocates for energy-efficient construction. But the industry can rewrite the story by developing buildings that do more than power themselves. In the U.K., the Active Classroom at Swansea University is leading the way. Using a mix of technologies to maximize energy output, the building generated more than 50% of the energy it consumed in its first year.
Virtual Maintenance Models
The benefits of building information modeling during construction are well-known, but the data can deliver long after a project is completed as the basis for an asset maintenance and management system. Augmented reality (AR) or VR models of a building’s essential systems can allow maintenance personnel to learn and practice a complicated repair in virtual reality before executing it on-site.
Smart Safety Wearables
Construction sites could start looking a lot more like the set of Marvel’s “Iron Man.” A working exoskeleton from Ekso Bionics can help make workers stronger, more mobile and less prone to work-related injuries. The Smart Cap monitors brain waves to watch for fatigue and prevent micro-sleeps. Triax Technologies has developed Spot-R Clips, which track the number and location of workers on the job site in real time — and use built-in gyroscopes to send an alert when someone has slipped or fallen.
Also, the RealWear HMT-1 headset, an AR technology hardware option, can increase safety for personnel during field and on-site inspections. With a video camera and audio device, the headset has the ability to connect to various software types, including the GIS-centric VisualSpection or facility asset databases like BUILDER SMS. This allows for instant uploading of inspection and assessment information into a geospatial platform, an organized database or other software.
Explore 3D, AR and VR applications for the power utility industry.Read More