Every few decades, new technologies come along that are truly disruptive and revolutionary – capable of shaking up the way we work, live and play. Once these new technologies enter the marketplace, nothing is the same again, as “business as usual” is turned on its ear.
The personal computer was one of these disruptive technologies. Just try to image an office environment without a desktop or laptop computer at every workstation. Another was the Internet, which has delivered a world of information, advanced capabilities and immense hours of distracting cat videos to every employee across the world.
Today, a new generation of disruptive technologies are starting to find their way into the workplace. AI, Big Data and data analytics are changing how we make business decisions, enabling us to predict outcomes and helping us to more easily identify patterns in occurrences and behavior.
Sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) are giving us insight into practically anything that can be measured and tracked. Mobile devices are untethering us, making us more mobile, more agile and capable of accessing information from anywhere. And the cloud is democratizing IT, giving us the power to easily store, process and share mountains of information.
No industry is untouched by these new technological advancements and innovations. Even those industries that may seem the most adverse to change and new ideas are finding the benefits of these technologies too great to ignore for long.
And the construction industry is no different.
Autodesk, which is a provider of software solutions that empower people to make things, recently released a report entitled, “Constructing with the Power of Digital.” Inside this report is a detailed analysis of the construction industry and its projected growth, and in-depth, detailed descriptions about how some of these technologies that I’ve discussed are shaping and evolving the construction industry today.
This is highlighted by Dominic Thasarathar, an Industry Thought Leader for Construction, Energy, and Natural Resources at Autodesk, in his foreword to the report, in which he writes, “From work pipelines driven by sensors to estimates designed by algorithms; from printed buildings to big data-driven scheduling; from new forms of project funding to a new era of digitally driven localism for our built environment, the implications for the industry are profound.”
The report continues to detail the ways in which these technologies are impacting the design process, and how that process is evolving today as a result.
Today, the design process is becoming more iterative and collaborative. The design process is incorporating more data from more sources to help identify issues in design early, before they become surprises and added expenses in the field. And technology is enabling us to design and build virtually, allowing us to make mistakes online so that they don’t need to be made in reality.
And while technology is shifting and evolving how we design, it’s also impacting how we build. Prefabricated parts, 3D printed parts and other advancements are helping things be built more efficiently and more cost effectively.
As a major builder of everything from roads, to infrastructure projects to buildings, the government can’t fall behind in analyzing, testing and embracing these new technologies, which are revolutionizing design and construction processes to help make them more effective, efficient and economical. This is especially true at a time when government budgets are tight and resources are scarce.
Now is a truly transformative time for architecture, design and construction. New technologies are opening the door to capabilities that we could only imagine in the past. And the government – from federal government agencies, to state and local organizations – has the ability to embrace these next generation solutions to make all of its construction and public works projects better and more economical.