Over the last 2 years, the engineering and construction industry has experienced a new wave of innovation and digitization, enabling organizations to creatively utilize new technologies to solve traditional problems. For instance, the pandemic drove firms to adopt tools that enabled in-person workers to stay safe on the jobsite, and office workers to use back-office cloud solutions to work remotely.
There has never been more pressure for the industry to continue these digitization efforts as it confronts the continued disruptions of COVID-19, shifting project types, increased competition, and a retiring labor force. These challenges have the industry rethinking every aspect of project delivery and the role technology can play to improve outcomes while driving down risk and costs. Here are the technologies we think will lead the pack:
1. “CONSTRUCTION MONEYBALL” WILL BE A HIT
C&E executives and operators are realizing that they must standardize, digitalize, and automate their processes to differentiate themselves in the market. Organizations will begin to take a “Construction Moneyball” approach where they will analyze everything meaningful that can be measured.
After determining the data or metrics they need to capture and monitor, organizations will be able to standardize, digitalize, and automate their processes to capture and analyze this data in real time. The results may be surprising on what really holds the keys to success. For construction firms, maybe one overlooked setback could be the lynchpin factor that routinely can throw off an entire project.
With standardized business processes, constantly pulling and analyzing data, firms will be able to drive productivity and efficiencies to better compete, differentiate themselves, and stay ahead. This quick data intelligence can also help identity and resolve data security issues faster. This alone will become a growing competitive advantage in the coming years as customers will want reassurance that their data will be kept safe.
2. INTELLIGENT CONSTRUCTION PLATFORMS WILL TRANSFORM THE INDUSTRY
As noted, Engineering and Construction organizations will look to improve how data is managed—and how it is used to inform decision-making. With hundreds of decisions all happening at once on a project, organizations will utilize construction technology platforms to better keep everyone synchronized, and provide the project team the visibility, tracking, and reporting they need to keep on track.
As organizations increasingly move towards more digital workflows, a new breed of intelligent technology platforms, powered by an AI and ML “data backbone,” will emerge. These platforms will help organizations liberate their data and convert it into the intelligence needed to accelerate performance. They will also provide highly secure information management, reporting, and workflow automation to drive efficiency, visibility, and control across project processes. These cloud-based intelligent construction platforms will support a new era of construction performance needed to compete in an increasingly competitive market.
3. PREDICTIVE AI WILL HELP ORGANIZATION LOOK AHEAD
To date, business intelligence technologies have generally provided only a backward-looking view into project data, i.e., what has happened on projects. While these insights are valuable, organizations will look to construction technology platforms that utilize AI that can predict what is likely to happen throughout the construction process, improving chances of delivering a project on time and on budget.
New developments in AI have unlocked another level of project intelligence, enabling predictive insights to drive better decision-making to improve project outcomes. This can yields a dynamic view into such variables as:
- The factors which might delay a project
- The probability of delay on a project
- Amount of predicted delay
- Likelihood (and severity) of a cost overrun
- Hidden risks around safety, design, rework, and litigation
AI will help organizations succeed in the present, by learning from the past, to improve the future. It will yield predictive insights that add value to nearly every aspect of construction project management, including critical areas such as schedule, cost/budget, quality, safety, risk, and collaboration.
4. 5G WILL POWER THE TRULY CONNECTED WORKSITE
Greater mobility and the advancements in connectivity brought about by 5G will further accentuate the industry’s ability to utilize insights provided through common data environments (CDE), the sensorization of jobsites and materials, augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). These technologies will provide greater connectivity, capacity, and democratization of technology.
Eventually, worksites will be able to sensorize virtually anything on a jobsite, allowing companies to collect data from tools and materials. For example, workers could put sensors in concrete to assess drying time. Capturing such information from IoT sensors will make 5G a critical component of a jobsite.
Additionally, 5G will further heighten the focus on visualization and enable experts to provide real-time guidance to new technicians connected via headsets, glasses, or other visualization technologies. As 5G becomes more accessible, it will open up new capabilities for oilrigs, pipeline monitoring, laser scanning, BIM modeling, and more.
About the Author:
TroyMark Webster is senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Construction and Engineering. For more, visit www.oracle.com/industries/construction-engineering.
Modern Contractor Solutions, June 2022
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