When the coronavirus started spreading in 2020, construction quickly began using digital tools for virtual collaboration and remote site monitoring. Two years later, many of these solutions have become part of daily operations and strategic planning.
The implementation of new construction technology will continue to impact the industry for many years. As the technology catches up with the needs of project teams, new ways of working will continue to be adopted. This applies to architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) value chains and stakeholders.
The $100 million allocation to construction technology development in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides support for technological solutions in construction. Additional investment levels from venture capital firms are advancing technological innovation in the industry as well.
The following are four technologies that are helping to move the construction industry forward.
1. Advanced Data Analytics
Construction firms are using data to make decisions.
- Examples include which projects to bid on and key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor.
- Decision-makers gain insight into how resources are allocated on the job site.
- The information provides significant cost savings for projects with thin margins and tight timelines.
- Data modeling can provide more contract opportunities through accurate bid projections.
- More processes are moving to purpose-built cloud solutions that make it easier to see, interpret, and act on project data.
- The increasing use of technology is attracting new recruits to the construction industry.
2. Digital Twins
Digital twins are virtual representations of construction sites.
- The virtual site replicas connect digital tools and data to solve real-world issues and revolutionize construction planning.
- Providing a real-time 360-degree view of job sites increases efficiency in project monitoring, productivity, and troubleshooting.
- The use of digital twins reduces site visits and risk.
3. Building Information Modeling
Building information modeling (BIM) and BIM coordination provide additional digital planning tools.
- These 3D digital models help create building design and structure.
- The use of virtual twins provides a live view of construction processes.
- These two virtual site replicas work together to uncover potential problems and cost-saving solutions during the construction process.
- BIM also improves collaboration and decision-making between architectural and engineering teams.
4. Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of digitally interconnected devices that provides reliable remote data capture. This can be used to automate and streamline utility mapping and other essential construction processes.
- Data can be used to solve challenges and create opportunities for project and resource management.
- The data need to be accurate, timely, and free of errors.
- The IoT applications deliver automated data capture and storage.
- Analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning provide additional capabilities.
- IoT-enabled sensors can be used to monitor people and equipment on location.
- These sensors can help improve resource management, uncover maintenance needs, and reduce safety risks.
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