C+S March 2023 Vol. 9 Issue 3 (web)

New technology is revolutionizing architectural design as well as engi- neering services. To remain competitive, A&E firms need to evaluate and embrace these applicable technology developments. According to a study by Deltek , “only 25 percent of architecture and engineering firms consider their firms digitally advanced today, but 76 percent expect to be there in five years.” Here are the eight most impactful technologies impacting architecture and engineering firms: 1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) 2. Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) 3. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) 8 Technologies Impacting Architecture & Engineering Firms By Kevin Johns As supply chain disruptions and labor shortages continue to contribute to higher inflation , businesses are looking for ways to future-proof their oper- ations by becoming as efficient as possible. One solution that can provide efficiency—and cost-savings—is artificial intelligence (AI). Architecture and engineering firms are using AI to analyze vast datasets with speed and accuracy that human operators are simply incapable of matching. The use of AI for repetitive tasks has reduced dependency on labor during the ongoing labor shortage and has uniquely positioned the A&E industry to withstand the 13.6 percent increase in employee turnover. A recent survey found 46 percent of projects were rescheduled due to rising costs while another 32 percent of respondents reported their projects were delayed indefinitely with no plan to reschedule them. The major cause of delays and concern has been the labor shortage, but AI can help perform redundant or repetitive tasks that are time-consuming for human operators which reduces reliance on a human workforce. There is significant room for growth given that 76 percent of surveyed firms are completely or moderately reliant on manual data entry for administrative functions. 4. 3D Modeling 5. Cybersecurity 6. Laser Scanning 7. Drones 8. Green Technology 1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) AI also has the power to process massive amounts of data, optimize staffing levels, manage inventory efficiently, and minimize potential inefficiencies. A recent McKinsey survey revealed that 79 percent of all industries and activities reported cost decreases as a direct result of AI adoption and 66 percent of respondents even saw revenue increases. 2. Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) Virtual reality makes it possible to perform a safety walk-through in

a completely controlled and safe environment. This kind of solution comes with no risk, reduces costs associated with worker injuries, and may soon become the default for assessing hazardous situations on the job site, especially for training purposes. As much as VR/AR can seem intimidating or cost-prohibitive, 56 percent of surveyed firms have the same concerns preventing their adoption of the technology, but 34 percent of firms still expressed interest in investing in VR or AR for project execution. Wearables supported by VR/AR technology are becoming increasingly common because they allow clients to explore rendered designs be - fore they are built. This technology enables more informed decisions based on visuals that reduce expensive redesigns after construction has begun. Reworking designs after construction has already started can account for up to 2-20 percent of a project’s total contract amount. VR/ AR technology also allows management or stakeholders to monitor the work site remotely and reduces the need to travel for on-site visits which is more cost-effective while also reducing their carbon footprint. VR/AR helps promote collaboration by allowing diverse teams to work remotely and increases productivity by reducing the need to travel on site for inspections or order change approvals. Most importantly, VR and AR technology improves safety on the job by reducing the situa - tions where human operators need to physically be present at the most hazardous job sites. Improving job safety also reduces the number of worker injury claims, which can also save costs. 3. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Robotic Process Automation technology is expected to grow at a rate of 16.2 percent annually to reach a value of $47.19 billion by 2029 according to a 2022 RPA market report. While it is still relatively new to the market, RPA is experiencing rapid adoption since it provides a supplement to manual labor during the ongoing labor shortage—much like AI. RPA can help minimize tedious tasks for the remaining human workforce, leading to increased job satisfaction and employee reten- tion . Architecture and engineering firms that use RPA can also benefit from increased productivity and reduced costs. Gartner predicted 85 percent of large organizations will have adopted RPA in some form by the end of 2022, but it is on its way to more main - stream adoption as a growing number of organizations look to cut costs amid inflation. This movement to include middle-market companies in the adoption of RPA is driven by a drop in the average price of RPA. 4. 3D Modeling 3D modeling enables architects to explore their dream designs with the ability to provide limitless project solutions and prototype models for customers. When powered by AI, 3D generative design technol - ogy can be optimized to offer materials that will meet budgeting and scheduling requirements. The ability to offer clients digital twins with visually dynamic 3D models has become an important offering in the market around the globe. Helsinki and London have even agreed to share their 3D modeling best practices in a “City to City Digital Declaration.” Using 3D models for city planning, it is possible to present a constellation of data regarding surrounding trans-


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