One way industry leading AEC industry firms maintain their hard-won business edge is through the periodic assessment of upcoming industry technologies. Your firm is probably well acquainted with this process. MG AEC Technology Partners, through our consulting work across a broad swath of the AEC industry, has spotted three technology trends moving into the mainstream of AEC workflows. Over the next 1 to 3 years MG predicts these trends will grow our client’s operations – coming front and center playing a decisive role in how projects are won, executed, and successfully delivered.
1. Reality Capture – Both Drone + Terrestrial Base
Reality Capture is moving solidly into mainstream workflow practices with a growing number of AEC firms. The rich amount of project data as built information and more, delivered quickly and accurately, is making scanning data highly desirable throughout most AEC project workflows.
Firms incorporating reality capture data have two options for collecting information. The first is hiring one of a growing number of quality service providers on an as-needed basis. The second is purchasing the equipment needed and hiring or training team members with the necessary knowledge and certifications.
There are a variety of other factors to consider such as a firm’s industry segment – civil, architecture, structural and MEP engineering, contractor, and owners. Another key consideration is the type of data desired – aerial, terrestrial, interiors, and equipment (just to name a few). A third consideration is building the skill set to use reality capture data effectively as part of the project workflow.
This may sound daunting, but the questions are easily navigated, and the results are game-changing.
2. GIS (Geographic Information Systems), BIM-to-GIS, Spatial Intelligence + Analysis
AEC projects are influenced by the environment they inhabit. This may seem like stating the obvious, but until recently, a great deal of the information was only anecdotally referenced because it was difficult to incorporate into the project format overall. This is no longer the case, due largely to the partnership between Autodesk and Esri, the leading developers of design technologies and Geographic Information System technologies, respectively.
Civil Engineering firms are benefiting from bi-directional linking and data transfer in project designs and a host of geotechnical data and spatial analytics. General contractors are managing project site logistics, drone captured data, materials, equipment and personnel and project hand-off with excellent insight and fluidity. Architectural and planning firms are seamlessly incorporating project designs into the full context of the project site, then actively using spatial analysis for everything from regulatory tracking, to sustainability studies in the overall fabric of the project.
Digital twin development, the idea of a fully functioning digital version of a physical project is gaining tremendous ground. Everyone from facility operators, commercial real estate and large campus agencies and even entire cities are seeing the value of the BIM (Building Information Modeling) and GIS integration via the digital twin.
The addition of GIS spatial intelligence to any AEC project environment is a highly effective way to design, build and manage intelligent, responsible AEC projects.
3. Data + Process Automation
In a recent report from Deloitte covering the 2021 industry outlook, shows there is an emphasis on enterprise-wide technology investments to address business level initiatives versus project level issues. The report states this will be critical in addressing long-term business and operational growth.
AEC Industry technologies meeting this growing arena of interest center around data acquisition and management with tools like Power BI, Autodesk Forge, Esri Spatial Analysis, Site Scan and Field Maps, and Leica’s Cyclone tools to name a few.
Process automation technologies trimming repetitive tasks and procedures on an enterprise and ecosystem level include Autodesk Dynamo, Forge and BIM 360 along with Rhino/Grasshopper and others in this vein.
Artificial intelligence is quickly developing as a factor in this conversation as well. There have been powerful developments in computational and generative design tools, as well as image and process recognition technologies that optimize AEC project operations on many levels.
In closing, the trends that we have heard for last several years are still in full swing and have already fundamentally changed our industry including BIM, the cloud, mobile and digital technologies, etc. Most firms that have not stayed current are likely already experiencing the pressure and consequences. The three trends mentioned in this report will quickly align with these existing operations, making the future bright for those who can adapt and adopt.
Other trends that did not make this report but deserve to be mentioned:AR, VR, MR
The MG team is here to assist you in crafting powerful AEC solutions, training, and implementation. Feel free to contact:
Business Development – Specialized Services Team
720 215 3809
New Business Development Executive
720 215 3802
Stan Hennigh is MG’s Esri Partnership Manager as well as Business Development Manager for Esri, Scanning and Specialized Services. Stan’s recent project work has centered around BIM-to-GIS projects, smart FM projects, Sustainability, Reality Capture and Autodesk Forge development as it relates to BIM-to-GIS strategies.
Eric Shaffer is a New Business Development Executive at MG AEC Technology Partners. He assists AEC firms and professionals in strengthening what they already have implemented or in launching key initiatives that will transform their business. Eric is a member of the Associated General Contractors and is an Associates Council Member.