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The Pillars of Connected Construction


Achieving successful digital transformation across the Architecture, Engineering and Construction Sector.  

New technologies are transforming every aspect of how projects are brought from conception to completion across the AEC sector. As a result, numerous leaders across the sector are accelerating their digital transformation plans, embracing the Cloud, AI, big data, and IoT in order to both overcome their immediate challenges and bring their long-term business goals closer.

However, while progress has been made, AEC's overall digital maturity is relatively lacking compared to other sectors. While firms have identified digital transformation as a key priority, a recent survey revealed that their confidence in their ability to achieve these goals has dropped compared to previous years1.

The question then is how firms can work closely with their technology partners to develop infrastructure that supports the new workflows that carried the sector through the challenges of COVID-19 and continue to drive innovation across the sector.

With that in mind, let us look at the critical areas that any successful digital transformation project will encompass, and how each of these elements informs the concept of 'connected construction'.

The convergence of physical and digital infrastructure

The increasing presence of smart technology, such as digital twinning and IoT sensors, across the AEC ecosystem and associated supply chains means that the physical and the digital are increasingly converging. The implications here are huge, as multiple areas of physical infrastructure can now be monitored in the same way as IT ecosystems. This can mean everything from the availability, location, and condition of materials and machinery, to conditions such as temperature and water levels.

Holistic, real-time visibility, driving a dynamic working model

When we also consider the growing sophistication of 3D building models, the deployment of on-site smart devices allows for a far more flexible, dynamic approach to bringing even the most complex AEC projects to life, while simultaneously reducing operating costs, engineering hours, and decommissioning time.

For example:

  • Managers, schedulers, and operators can identify and implement service optimisations, prevent obstructions, and manage potential safety issues.

  • Monitoring of assets and supply chains ensures the time required for repairs and maintenance can be accurately calculated and factored into project plans, while supporting more effective scheduling for future projects.
  • All data can be made available to back-office staff through fully centralised platforms, allowing them to offer support whenever and wherever it is needed.

  • Any design changes can be automatically communicated to the appropriate teams, having been tested via 3D modelling, minimising the potential disruption to the project timeline and ensuring they are implemented correctly.

  • Security and access control systems and processes can be streamlined and automated, where appropriate, to ensure safer working conditions

Connected solutions deliver true connected construction

As we have seen, more data is generated and transmitted between sites throughout AEC projects than ever before. With infrastructure in place to support the seamless and secure transfer of this data, along with long-term storage to fulfil compliance obligations, AEC firms will have a strong foundation on which to implement next-generation data analytics platforms to translate these data lakes into actionable insights at both the micro and macro levels.

This, then, is the final stage of connected construction, where physical and digital assets operate as a unified whole, and the secure flow of data empowers staff at all levels to focus on bringing the most complex, innovative projects to life. As this model establishes itself, it will result in new standards of best practice and new drivers for innovation, ensuring the sector's ongoing growth.

To take the next step of your own journey towards connected construction, contact us and our team will work with you to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be in terms of your digital maturity.

There's no doubt that cyber security will remain an ongoing challenge for the AEC sector, but by integrating these solutions, based on firms' individual requirements, will help maintain optimal cyber security, without affecting the ability to offer hybrid working and cross-site collaboration.

To find out more about Exponential-e's work with leading firms across the AEC sector and the role our cyber security ecosystem has to play, view our AEC brochure - Innovate and Transform.

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