Virtual reality has finally made its way out of the gaming industry fully into the real world. While constructing major projects like an airport hotel or entertainment complex or a zoo parking 4D virtual reality is used in winter construction fulfilling owners and stakeholders requirement by viewing the imaginary construction during the planning and design stages.
While virtual reality has previously been the domain only of the most cutting-edge organizations, it is becoming increasingly mainstream, and increasingly in demand from owners. To plan every aspect of the construction project, improving everything from safety to efficiency and delivering a more faithful and quality product, 4D environments are ideal for construction companies.
While virtual reality allows users to “walk” through 3D and 4D model environments without actually moving their feet, augmented reality allows users to walk through real 3D environments, with their feet, while gathering and/or viewing additional real-time information about that environment.
For instance, a new iOS app called Measure Kit allows users to point their phone or iPad at an object or building segment, and combine with that part through the screen in three beneficial forms: Measure, level, and place objects.
We predict that many new augmented reality forms will arrive in 2018 and that some of the existing applications will become mainstream, such as the ability that BIM 360 Glue provides for subcontractors to point a device at a component and get information from the 3D models laid against the image that is framed in the device.
The construction site has never been safer than it is today, and we think it’s only going to get safer with the introduction and mainstreaming of wearable technology. Companies like Triax offer wearables that track where workers are on the job site. It helps to alert them in real time about potential hazards. It can also help to identify if someone has slipped, tripped, or fallen, so that help can be sent immediately.
We think there will be more and more products like Triax available, and that companies who take advantage of them will become more and more in demand, especially industry like construction for safety that becomes part of the bid process.
While we’re on the topic of safety, take a look at some of the past year’s innovations in machine learning, and their implications for the new year. Smart videos, for example, aggregate visual data from the job site and intelligently analyze it for a variety of purposes including safety, quality, progress tracking, and marketing.
Smartvid.io is has developed one such product that constantly analyzes photos, videos, and other visual data coming from the job site. It looks for safety violations, as well as tagging items by room and associating them with plan data.
This allows finding visual information about the site without having pieces of data and its help in finding visual data for marketing purpose.
We firmly believe that technologies like Smartvid.io are going to transform the way companies do business in 2018. By making the existing data more accessible and easier to use it can improve everything from safety and marketing to quality and timeliness.
Prefabrication is hardly a new discovery in itself. The construction industry has been using prefabrication in various forms for decades. However, new technologies are making the benefits of prefabrication natural to access and change the way the construction industry combines building into the process.
For example, manufacture provides a mobile technology that provides full visibility into the prefabrication method, so that anyone involved in the project can see what is being manufactured, where it is the process, and when it will be delivered. A new combination of BIM 360 Docs will make it possible to view that information in one workflow from beginning to end of the design and build process.
We firmly believe that companies who take advantage of these technologies to streamline and increase their use of prefabrication will certainly gain a competitive advantage in 2018.
Often, the difference between a struggling construction and successful construction company lies in your risk management. Predictive analytics is about to make risk management much easier.
Project IQ analyzes data from subcontractors, materials suppliers, design plans, and the site itself. It analyzes risk factors involved based on historical data. It provides a dashboard where GCs can identify which elements of their project are the highest risk and need attention and allows them to drill down to see the reasons for the risk assessment. Project IQ derives results both from past data and from how the GC interacts with the information it provides, in order to continuously provide better and more accurate risk assessments.
We expect Project IQ to roll out to the wider industry in 2018, and we predict it’s going to massively improve how its users manage their risk.
Connected Job Sites
Communication delays between the job site, design office, trailer yard, and engineering can turn out to be a costly affair and aggravating. In short, a disconnected job site can quickly burn up your profits.
Luckily, job site connectivity is catching up to becoming easier and easier to achieve. With a connected job site, everyone on the site has access to up-to-the-minute drawings and documents and holds the ability to file RFIs and issues in the palms of their hands. Likewise, everyone in the trailer and design and engineering has direct access to everything that is happening on the job site.
Information around RFIs and problems is reduced from days or weeks to mere hours or minutes. Errors due to miscommunication are nearly killed. And change orders and rework are significantly reduced. We think very few construction companies will thrive in 2018 without moving toward the connected job site.