Michael C. Pelletier, MBA, MSCS
Chief Innovation Officer and Partner
Companies have been constructing buildings and other infrastructure for hundreds of years. In fact, the construction industry is probably one of the oldest in existence. While there have been significant advancements in the technologies used in the actual construction of a building, there have historically been fewer within the context of digital transformation.
Digital transformation is when an organization uses data and other digital technologies to transform a way it carries out a certain aspect of their business. One could argue that the transition to products like Autodesk Revit were a revolution compared to the manual blueprint. However, this is very similar to what many organizations saw with respect to the advent of computers where manual ledgers were transitioned to electronic ledgers. Where digital transformation has typically come into play is within the context of data and artificial intelligence.
For example, many organizations today are using machine learning, a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI), to predict customer purchase behavior or which leads a sales professional should follow up on. The construction industry is ripe for the use of AI and other emerging technologies. Here are a few examples to consider.
As with many rules and regulations, building codes can and do change over time. Keeping up to date, ensuring that the building you’ve designed is compliant with all codes can be both a tedious as well as error prone job. Enter UpCodes AI - https://up.codes/ai. UpCodes is a tool that will interrogate a BIM (Building Information Modeling) model and identifies any potential issues via Natural Language Processing (NLP). The NLP is used to read the codes and regulations that a given municipality has in place. It is updated near real-time with data from 26 states and the District of Columbia. It then compares those codes with the data in the BIM model for the building and determines if there are any issues.
Knowing what happens on a job site can be hard enough when you are physically present. With subcontractors coming and going, material deliveries, etc., it can be a challenge to keep up. Imagine trying to do this remotely. This is the challenge that indus.ai, a startup in San Francisco, has set out to accomplish. By mounting 5-20 cameras around a job sites to get a bird’s eye view of activity, it then uses a neural network (a catalog of digital images and data processing) to create a digital representation of the activity at the site so that it’s not just a live video feed. It provides real data insights such as the number of workers currently at the site, what time a delivery occurred or how long a particular task took.
These are just two examples of how general purpose AI technology can be brought to bear on the construction industry. Whether it’s simply leveraging an off-the-shelf solution from a software company or developing your own solutions, the construction industry is ripe for digital transformation. Are you ready?
Michael C. Pelletier, MBA, MSCS, is a partner and chief innovation officer at BlumShapiro, the largest regional business advisory firm based in New England, with offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The firm, with a team of over 500, offers a diversity of services, which include auditing, accounting, tax and business advisory services. Blum serves a wide range of privately held companies, government and non-profit organizations and provides non-audit services for publicly traded companies. To learn more visit us at blumshapiro.com.