Construction, Infrastructure, Mining – all industries that have traditionally been synonymous with antiquated process and innate conservatism. But disrupt them with tech? ‘Highly unlikely’, we hear you say.
But you’d be wrong.
In a study conducted by KPMG in 2016, the writing was on the wall when it comes to adopting new technology to improve productivity, efficiency, quality.
Just the same as many other industries that have actively embraced technological develop, innovation within the construction world is becoming a hot potato – and we share 5 of our favourite innovators who are throwing the towel in when it comes to doing things the old way.
From remote monitoring, to AI, drone monitoring to information modelling, the need to access and use data in a way that will improve the way our construction industry develops has become paramount – and the leaders in the sector are sitting up and taking notice.
We share 5 of our favourite construction disruptors.
The rise of Artificial Intelligence in the construction sector: Fixmart
“According to the Arcadis Talent Scale, in order for the government to meet its housing targets, the UK needs to recruit up to 400,000 people each year till 2021 with London and the South-East needing to recruit 110,000 people alone. That works out to approximately one worker every 77 seconds“. So says Carl Ghinn, Managing Director at Fixmart. The construction industry faces a major skills shortage, which is why companies like Fixmart are looking for other cost effective ways to save time, and reduce the need for additional resources. One of the ways they do that is by offering their clients a pre-assembly option where products are part-built in the warehouse before delivery. Carl mentions one such example being their walkways range which has been designed to help construction workers save time when it comes to assembly on site.
The reality about the rise of AI in the construction world is that it is having serious productivity impact on the planning phases, the administration of the project through the back-office system, the construction phase itself, and post-project phase – as was the case when the Wyn hotel group saw an Amazon Echo installed in each of the rooms in its Las Vega hotel to be able to allow guests to control the lighting, temperature and audio-visual equipment in the room itself.
Robotics – building tomorrow’s buildings: Fastbrick Robotics
“The construction industry is one of the least automated industries that feature manual-intensive labor as a primary source of productivity” (Robotics Online). A little while ago, we featured FastBrick Robotics in our Focus on Friday blog, where we looked at the change from a 9-5 construction industry to a 24/7 one – through the use of robotics. Through creating the world’s first Digital Construction System, The Hadrian X, Fastbrick Robotics is able to build without stopping – reducing construction time dramatically.
Although the construction environment may be the primary obstacle to robotic automation, organisations are quickly overcoming restrictions which would allow them to adapt to real-time variability with little to no reprogramming. From robotic arms to simply move things from one position to another, to 3D printing and complete build, it’s happening all over.
Using Drones to report back: Skycatch
A great US startup called Skycatch has started to introduce the concept of using drones to view and capture critical visual data which otherwise may be difficult to come by. Using drones on some high-profile building projects, they are given a bird’s-eye view of a site to provide progress reports, speed up the logistics of construction by monitoring deliveries and offering real-time updates on any changes or improvements that may need to be made. Komatsu, on the other hand, is going one step further. Using the Skycatch drones, they are able to send 3D models of a building site to a computer which then feeds the information to unmanned machinery to plot their course and activity on site itself; two disruptors working together to create a more efficient, productive construction environment.
And Skycatch isn’t just limited to construction – they’re helping other traditional industries like mining, oil & gas and more to do the same.
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