Technology reaches a tipping point in this time of crisis, explains Roy Danon, CEO and Co-Founder of Buildots, which is revolutionising construction management through the use of artificial intelligence
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought remote-working into sharp focus – and demonstrated clearly how when it comes to construction management, the latest technology can not only make it possible for many to work from home, but simple and efficient as well.
Until recently, the industry has lacked the technological solutions it has needed to evolve in the same way as, for example, publishing or finance. However, the unique use of wearable technology by the Buildots platform, combined with the need to keep as many people as possible working from home to beat the virus, is helping to kick-start a technological revolution that will produce measurable benefits long after the present difficult circumstances are a memory.
The Buildots system works using 360-degree hardhat-mounted cameras that capture images of the construction site during routine site-walks. These are overlaid with the 3D model and analysed by artificial intelligence (AI) to provide continuously updated, accurate information about progress. Before the pandemic, this information was being used to improve efficiency and accuracy on site – but as we are entering the “new normal”, the need to maintain social distancing means that the fewer unnecessary site visits the better.
By using Buildots, not all members of the management team need to be on site themselves, constantly checking on the build – they can let AI do it for them, in a far more efficient and thorough way than a single, hurried walk across site could possibly achieve. The information gathered by Buildots enables accurate predictions about when materials need to be delivered, cutting down delivery waiting time on site, as well as giving all the evidence to allow commercial teams to approve payments to subcontractors in minutes, helping avoid delays in a time of financial uncertainty. It can help planners to monitor construction from afar, and builds up a detailed profile of the building for maintenance use after hand-over.
In the short term, using Buildots to limit the number of people visiting a site is a measure that will keep people safer; but in the longer term it is another, very welcome, step towards the 21st century concept of a connected jobsite, where wearable sensors, AI and big data all work together to revolutionise construction and turn it into a truly digitised environment.
In fact, we are likely to look back on these days and see a tipping point in the use of technology. Just as business people the world over have found that the epidemic has helped them to understand that face-to-face meetings can be accomplished without jet lag and a massive carbon footprint, construction too will realise that technology is not just something new and tricky that takes too long to master and delivers little benefit – it can truly be a real game-changer for solving the pain points in the industry.