As the construction industry moves through 2024, experts are forecasting that we’ll see more prefabrication and modular processes, an increase in the use of machine learning with robotics, augmented reality (AR), drones, and collection and processing of data at an unprecedented rate. In light of these advancements and rapid changes, it’s becoming imperative within companies that one team knows what the other team is doing. When it’s done well, collaboration can supercharge companies.
1. Machine Learning and Robotics
To say technology has been disruptive the past few years is an understatement. In the latest wave, we’re experiencing an almost constant barrage of information about machine learning, as artificial intelligence (AI), in an array of industries and uses.
One of those uses for AI is anticipated to help solve the skilled labor shortage that constrains productivity in the construction industry. Software tools using AI, as well as robotics, are being advocated as obvious solutions. In a recent Construction Dive article, it was suggested that construction companies can use AI for planning, improved safety, workforce development, job training, and working through supply chain issues.
Sometimes referred to as “the rise of the machines,” robotics are increasingly being combined with AI, but to an unpredictable end. However, in its basic form, AI is still an ideal tool to accomplish repetitive tasks and increase accuracy, leaving more time for collaborative activities and resulting in greater efficiency.
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2. AR and Drones
AR can be used by companies for improved collaboration. Using AR, information about projects in the form of 3D BIM models can be taken into the field to conduct walk-throughs and determine clashes and constructability. Tools that integrate AR with communications enable a company to connect its field and office staff for better collaboration on a project. Drones can be used to streamline the process by conducting simulations and site inspections without having to put extra feet on the ground.
3. Data Tracking
The newest pressure to be exerted on companies are sustainability initiatives – especially the need to track carbon footprint, including embodied carbon. To do that, they need to collect information collaboratively and then crunch the numbers, something AI is adept at doing rapidly. Financial performance on a project is another critical focus for data tracking. Data collected by drones can be used for project analytics. Data also helps companies surmount problems caused by an unpredictable supply chain.
4. Prefabrication and Modular
Prefab and the use of modular construction methods have found favor among companies that feel compelled to find low-carbon solutions for their projects, especially projects that are funded by public money. As described in an Autodesk Digital Builder article, sustainability is a driving force behind construction technologies. While companies can be selective through a collaborative process about where and when prefab and modular processes make sense, they will help meet market demands for faster delivery of residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
Throughout 2024, collaboration must be part of the technology outlook to connect teams and supercharge companies in an industry which is being asked to create more structures faster than ever before. Whether it’s prefabrication and modular processes, machine learning and AI with robotics, AR, drones, or data collection and tracking, the rapid changes demand real-time information so everyone in a company is on the same page for every project.
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