Feature: How artificial intelligence supports the construction industry
The construction industry is welcoming a new helping hand: artificial intelligence. As the years go by, more and more advanced forms of technology are making their way into our workplaces, offering a wealth of efficiency and information at the blink of an eye.
Machines are now capable of displaying their own sense of intelligence by gathering data, processing, and concluding based on that data. Such a process is invaluable for construction, as it allows for a degree of prediction based on the information the artificial intelligence provides.
Looking in further detail at how artificial intelligence is improving and supporting the construction sector, Oasys, a provider of retaining wall solutions, investigates:
The four key categories of artificial intelligence in the construction industry are as follows.
Artificial intelligence lends a helping hand to the process of construction plan creation. Autonomous equipment is considered as AI as it is aware of its surroundings and is capable of navigation without human input. In the planning stages, AI machinery can survey a proposed construction site and gather enough information to create 3D maps, blueprints and construction plans.
- Fortive agrees $775mn deal for construction cost data and software firm Gordian
- US Army patents 3D printing solution for military-strength building construction
- Bentley Systems acquires London 4D construction modelling firm Synchro Software
Thanks to artificial intelligence, a process which once took weeks to complete now takes just a day. This helps to save firms both time and money in the form of labour.
Artificial intelligence is also an asset in the office. For example, workers can input sick days, vacancies and sudden departures into a data system and it will adapt the project accordingly. The AI will understand that the task must be moved to another employee and will do so on its own accord.
Thanks to a wealth of information at its beck and call, artificial intelligence can keep engineers up-to-date on the best methods to utilise for projects. For example, if engineers were working on a proposed new bridge, AI systems would be able to advise and present a case for how the bridge should be constructed.
This is based on past projects over the last 50 years, as well as verifying pre-existing blueprints for the design and implementation stages of the project. By having this information to hand, engineers can make crucial decisions based on evidence that they may not have previously had at their disposal.
AI has also boosted the conditions of the worksite: autonomous site machinery allows the driver to stay outside of the vehicle as it works at dangerous heights. Using sensors and GPS, the vehicle can calculate the safest route.
Artificial intelligence is often woven into the building it helps to create and is used even after the project's completion from within the building. In the US alone, $1.5bn was invested in 2016 by companies looking to capitalise on this growing market.
By the end of 2017, for example, Wyn hotels saw an Amazon Echo installed in each of the rooms in its Las Vega hotel. These devices can be used for aspects of the room such as lighting, temperature and any audio-visual equipment contained in the room.
These systems can also be used within domestic settings, allowing homeowners to control aspects of their home through voice commands and systems that control all electronic components from one device.
BIM and VA
BIM (building information modelling) is a fantastic development in artificial intelligence that allows for the construction process, planning, key decisions, and historical data on a building to be recorded all the way up to its demolition.
VA (a virtual assistant) can be used to add a more conversational nature to the information BIM provides. By combining VAs alongside NFC (near-field communication), VAs can be given additional information to the building itself in real-time from various sensors in the building. For example, if there were structural problems with a building, then VAs could inform engineers specifically where the problem was and how it can be fixed.
The integration of VAs and AIs working seamlessly with engineers allows companies to save money and time. AIs can also help to replace redundant labour to allow for the industry to make efficiency savings that weren’t possible before this type of technology existed.
As the future of AI becomes more of a reality within construction, only time will tell how reliant upon intelligent machines we will have to be in order to construct innovative building designs.
Article supplied by Oasys
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”