then sent via courier to a facility where the data can be uploaded and manipulated by software into usable information. With a high quality internet connection at site, there is now the possibility of patching the drone’s data directly from the site to Amazon Web Services data storage and application hosting servers (AWS), cutting down the time to generate the report.

Building information modelling and

augmented reality 5-D building information modelling allows for a project to be fully designed in principle, before building work starts. This process provides a platform to analyse the planned design in detail, as well as record and measure any potential changes to the design or scheduling, taking costs and timings into consideration as well as the parameters of the building in three dimensions. Not only does this provide a cost effective and efficient way to measure alterations to the design, it can also predict and show any possible issues with the construction and give attention to areas that need particular focus for safety aspects.

“Construction is an industry that remains profoundly dependent on

paper-based and manual processes that are inherently inefficient and prone to error.”

Augmented Reality (AR) software can also be used to enhance the 5-D model through the use of wearable technology and mobile devices. Through digitally mapping out the environment, content can be pinned and projected through holograms, which can be additionally accessed and updated by use of voice commands. For instance, AR could be used to position holographic markings displaying warnings and awareness of an electrical conduit which is positioned behind a wall, to caution and inform engineers that would be accessing this area of the building in the future.

At the site level, high quality wireless networks are required to provide access to site mobile devices, wearable technology and workstations to gather the mapping data and send it to artificial intelligence resources for analysis and update - in real time. This delivers a highly dynamic, up to date, and efficient planning process, with information all digitised and available for use by multiple internal and external stakeholders.

Enhanced efficiency through collaboration

and mobility Construction is an industry that remains profoundly dependent on paper-based and manual processes that are inherently inefficient and prone to error. Large scale projects in particular, typically take 20% longer to finish and can be up to 80% over budget with traditional methods.

The adoption of digital-collaboration solutions is already significantly improving processes in the industry,

positively impacting supply-chain orders and progress reports. Cloud-based software as a service applications have risen in popularity as a result of the availability of lower cost wireless connectivity and ensures the efficiency and mobility of the construction team.

Collaboration and mobility at construction sites also requires high quality wireless networks, with the ability to separate the traffic from different groups: in-house employees, contractors, and other site visitors.

An interesting example of an end-to-end digital collaboration project is that of a $5bn rail project that was able to save more than $110m and significantly increase productivity by using automated workflows, review and approval. What this demonstrates is that deploying technology throughout the entire construction process is essential. IoT is also a significant component of this shift, which through machine learning is able to enrich data and make rules-based changes in a highly automated way to systems with little supervision, proving a valuable contributor to project efficiency. Examples of this include tracking assets, controlling costs and minimising equipment downtime, thereby unlocking additional productivity.

‘Carpe diem’: the choice facing

construction firms Digitalisation of the global economy and every industry in it is underway but some industries have made more progress than others. In the construction industry, there are promising signs of activity and engagement with digital technology and opportunities to leverage its transformative power and scale to positively impact sites, people and operational processes.

To effectively deploy digitalisation at sites, the basic requirement of high quality, rapidly deployed, portable and reliable internet networks to support applications and collaborative processes is a must, which needs to be taken care of first, not last. Firms should work with an ecosystem of experienced and trusted providers who can supply the connectivity and IoT services required by sites. The potential rewards to firms that ‘seize the digitalisation day’ will be instantaneous. TOMORROW’S FM | 31

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