An economist recently said that America has not had a technological revolution since the computer.
We at HingePoint were floored. Working as a BIM consultant in architecture, engineering, and construction, we know this is inaccurate.
Not to call him out (you can see what I am referring to here), but he is flat out wrong. Everything we have been seeing suggests we are in the middle of one of the biggest technological revolutions of our time and it is transforming how all of us do our work, especially in the AEC industry
Just listen to Autodesk’s Senior Vice President Amar Hanspal who recently spoke at the Forge Devcon 2016 conference.
“The future is here. We are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution!”
But he’s not the only one saying this.
So what the heck is the fourth?
Well… it’s not just one new technology. It’s a bunch of technology converging that will transform government, business and life as we know it.
“In this fourth revolution, we are facing a range of new technologies that combine the physical, digital and biological worlds. These new technologies will impact all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenge our ideas about what it means to be human.”
Professor Klaus Schwab is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. He published a book The Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He wrote on the World Economic Forum’s blog:
“The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.”
So what will this revolution bring the AEC Industry?
Schwab from the World Economic Forum says that this will dramatically affect the AEC Industry.
“Engineers, designers, and architects are combining computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering, and synthetic biology to pioneer a symbiosis between microorganisms, our bodies, the products we consume, and even the buildings we inhabit.”
Let’s give you a practical example of what Schwab is saying.
Right now we are able to make 3D designs of our buildings. We can look at these designs on our smartphones. It reduces mistakes because construction crews can see how the building should be built instead of guessing based on 2D-paper drawings.
What’s already happening is construction crews and architects are using augmented reality, virtual reality and computer-aided manufacturing.
Think about the Pokémon GO app. If you ever used it… you know that the app uses your camera and then puts a Pokémon GO on your screen.
This is exactly what can be done for the construction industry. But instead of seeing a Pokémon GO you can see your 3D model on a plot of land.
Or—as the picture above shows—it can show you how specific parts of the building should look. In the picture, the construction worker is looking at where a light should go on the ceiling.
With augmented reality he can see it clearly.
Big firms are starting to use virtual reality to show off designs of their buildings. Customers can actually walk through their building and see it in true 3D before ever building it.
This lets them know what it will look like and if they approve.
Computer Aided Manufacturing and the Internet of Things
This is the biggest transformation of this revolution.
We are connecting machines to “talk” to one another. What this means is that my 3D BIM model can “talk” to a manufacturer’s machines. In theory, once information about the project is shared, the manufacture’s machine can automatically start cutting or creating whatever is needed without human interaction.
So a saw can be connected to the Internet and get instruction on what and how to cut based on your model.
The following functions can be used in computer-aided manufacturing: sawing, laser cutting, flame and plasma cutting, bending, gluing and routing and milling. Here’s a good article on CAM.
Now maybe that economist that spoke to NPR didn’t think we were here yet.
Okay… we will let it slide, buddy.
But you cannot miss this next revolution that is starting… now.
Let’s close with a rhetorical question.
Do you remember those companies that said no to the computer, no to email, no to the Internet?
Neither do we. They were left behind.
If you want to take some simple steps to prepare so you are not left behind…. you can download our simple roadmap by signing up to our email list.
It will teach you very simple steps to take to go from paper to a full BIM model.
Download the Roadmap to BIM
Whether you’re working with paper or already using digital files, you can learn necessary steps to launch your company’s processes with new technological capabilities. This road map gives you the fundamental steps you need to take to transform your business.
Here’s an impressive video about Industry 4.0: