From coast to coast and in cities throughout the US, 2017 is seeing a myriad of cool tech moving toward the center of commercial construction. Innovative construction company executives like Eugene Bernshtam, of commercial real estate developer Avalon Holdings, LLC, are on the front lines of this tech push. Here are a few of the industry’s hottest innovations:
Smart Cities are Almost Here!
A smart city integrates multiple information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of things (IoT) solutions in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets including, local departments’ information systems, schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, and other community services. The goal of building a smart city is to improve quality of life by using technology to improve the efficiency of services and meet residents’ needs. Although we are certainly not at the point of building a complete smart city, new technologies are making buildings smarter and more efficient, as they allow owners to track energy consumption, tenant patterns, lifecycle costs and more. The real estate and construction industries are traditionally slow to adopt new technology, but the building sector is starting to capitalize on the benefits of these new innovations.
Virtual and Augmented – Realities are Changing
Visualization technologies will play an important and increasing role, in construction. Virtual Realty (VR) will be used more on the design side by architects and engineers while Augmented Reality (AR), will have a larger presence on the construction site all the way through to sales and rentals of units.
VR will see some use by construction firms in areas like safety training and teaching workers how to properly operate heavy equipment. Better project visualization, enabling and improving real-time collaboration among stakeholders and leading to increased adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) applications are just a few ways the construction industry will benefit.
While brokers have been talking up the impact of virtual reality on sales and showings for quite some time, the impact of augmented reality is just as large. The commercial real estate world is discovering this technological lure makes site visits much more powerful.
These new technologies are coming on fast with industry analysts expecting $2.6 billion in real estate applications by the year 2025.
Drones are Flying High
Earlier this year the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the use of drones in commercial activity. Drones are now being used to do aerial surveying of a site, monitor worker productivity and safety and conduct inspections on bridges and tall buildings. Drones allow builders to view a property from every possible angle without having to see it in person. They can check for any possible defects in the structure that are visible to the naked eye before moving on to a more in-depth inspection, saving time and money in the long run if the drone video exposes a serious flaw.
Picture walking onto a construction site to find a fleet of bulldozers, graders, and excavators doing site prep without any operators behind the controls. The operators might be standing at a safe distance operating the machine remotely or they may be totally autonomous making all of the decisions using on-board computers. Autonomous and semi-autonomous construction equipment are the future and we’ll see it lead to safer jobsites with the work being done more efficiently and accurately than today. Some construction sites around the world already have begun using this type of tech and it will play an even more prominent role in construction going forward.