Velocity Recruitment is closely monitoring the effects of coronavirus on the construction industry and will continue to do so, but this week however we wanted to look ahead. With a view towards the technology that will be shaping the industry for years to come.
Virtual reality (VR)
VR has been making huge strides in both business and consumer spaces, but how does this technology translate to construction? At the first stage 3D modelling, a previously time consuming and complex task that required materials and space. Going digital with 3D modelling addressed this issue before it made the jump to full on VR. Using VR coupled with 3D modelling, a “walk through” can be created, letting teams assess a model and examine details in real-time. Now real-time is the key phrase here, no matter where you are in the world you can join your team, invite stakeholders onto the virtual site and continuously streamline the process.
Augmented reality (AR)
Similar to VR, AR requires the use of a headset or mobile phone to see digital information. The difference is that AR overlays this information onto the real-world in front of you. One example would be the 3D virtual model mentioned earlier, this model would be placed over the physical space. Granting insight to those onsite and providing incredibly accurate measurement information. Another element of AR is actually for those construction workers doing the work, granting the ability to see through walls. Now, we aren’t talking X-Men superpowers here, but take underground construction for example, the worker utilising AR could see hidden cables or gas lines as they work. Making the job and site much safer.
Predictive analytics combines machine learning with techniques like data mining to analyse information and make future predictions. This is still in the early stages of deployment across construction but is already providing insight to project managers. Going beyond budget information or re-ordering of parts, predictive analytics can actually identify safety concerns through the cameras onsite. An example would be a worker without the correct harness or a tool on their belt that isn’t secured properly. The analytics would feed this data to the manager who can make an actionable change.
As the three previous technologies mature within the sector, what could we see on the site further down the line? Feeding information to the predictive analytics, autonomous equipment will enter the site. Drones will be used to inspect a jobsite, still needing a technician, the drone would save time and reduce safety risks with no one needed to climb scaffolding. Drones can actually capture information and create a 3D model, feeding back to the VR technology mentioned earlier.
This was a brief look at some of the technology shaping the construction industry in the years to come, with a goal of saving time and increasing safety.