portation infrastructure, flood or shadow modeling, and how solar panel or bridge installation would impact their surrounding areas. 3D models can be most effective when they are digitally augmented in one-to-one scaled virtual environments that are fully immersive and real- istic. The real-time remote access to digital 3D models and the ability to visualize variations in cost because of change orders for varied materials or other modifications also supports congruency between project man - agement and the stakeholders throughout the entire project. Like AR/ VR, these complex 3D visualizations during the planning and design phase can reduce the need to make changes after construction begins. 5. Cybersecurity As more companies transition to adopting innovative technology, they can be particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks if the proper cybersecu- rity measures are not taken. Cybersecurity infrastructure is critically important to avoid expensive ransomware attacks which can cost an average of $4.24 million . While the A&E industry has been historically slow to adopt technol - ogy compared to others, the pace of adoption has recently increased out of necessity following the pandemic shutdown. The risk of cyberattacks has increased as well. A&E industry professionals are more than twice as likely to be the target of ransomware than other industries using the same digital services because they lack familiar- ity with basic cybersecurity measures. To change this negative impact, A&E firms will need to update their best practices for digital security by teaching employees how to recog- nize potential threats and investing in advanced cybersecurity tools to help detect or prevent attacks altogether. It is especially important to self-audit current IT management practices and educate employees on cybersecurity protocols as companies roll out recent technologies that can become a target for hackers. 6. Laser Scanning The A&E industry has been incorporating laser scanning technology for years and with teams preferring to continue to work remotely, they rely on laser scanning services now more than ever. This service helps capture high-quality scans of work sites to measure and survey the area with incredible accuracy that is virtually unlimited in size. Not only are laser scans more convenient than traditional methods of manual data collection, but they are also faster and safer than physically traveling to the work site. Laser scans can support 3D model creation for as-built models, which provides crucial information on the existing conditions of a facility or job site prior to starting any work. Laser scanning can also be used for calculating the volume of building materials that will be needed to guar- antee required materials will be ordered on time and help reduce project waste. VR/AR technologies can also be used in coordination with laser scans to view all angles of these immersive, 360-degree depictions. 7. Drones Drones can be used for project monitoring to track job safety as well as cost and schedule data. Most commonly, drones are used to capture site
images and aerial survey data throughout the life of the project. This data can be used to create other 3D models, monitor material waste, track progress, and inspect the site for maintenance follow-up even after the job is completed, especially for structures in hazardous condi - tions. Using drones for these surveillance tasks saves building projects both time and money with their ability to safely collect real-time data. Since drones are so small, they can access hard-to-reach places and can map projects accurately in a fraction of the time that it would take a hu- man operator. Drones are much more precise and can capture 4k video in real-time compared to the previous method of using satellite imag- ery to remotely capture worksite visuals that would often be months old and therefore unreliable. Not only that, but drones can zoom in to see details that can drastically reduce costly revisions and mistakes. Improving project data at the source will improve the analysis, insight, and decisions based on that information. Drones currently exist in a legislative gray area, but the United States has taken aim at updating Federal Aviation Administration guidelines to adapt to allowing drones in commercial and consumer sectors. A&E firms have been able to apply for permits to use drones on a case-by- case basis in the meantime. 8. Green Technology Climate change has created the need for sustainable practices that are eco-conscious across every industry—including A&E which accounts for 36 percent of global final energy use. AI technology can be used for green initiatives by optimizing sustainable energy solutions that reduce emissions and material waste. Companies using AI have reported a 15 percent reduction in waste over the last couple years alongside an 11 percent improvement in power efficiency. Using VR, AR, Cloud data management powered by AI, and drone technologies promotes remote work which can also support sustain- able initiatives since they reduce the need for teams or clients to travel to sites to monitor progress in person—thereby reducing their carbon footprint. Sustainability has become a trend among ESG (Environmen - tal, Social, and Governance) investors that is worth $2.7 trillion as of 2021 which means doing the right thing can pay off too. Client demand and increasing environmental regulations are also driving the need for creating additional green buildings. Final Takeaway The adoption of new technology relies heavily on stakeholder percep- tion and justifying the costs of adopting new systems. Showing inves - tors how technology can improve cost and performance is essential to convincing them of their long-term value in the A&E space. Continue the Conversation To learn more about how we can help you unlock the potential for your business, reach out today . Clayton & McKervey advises architecture and engineering firms with tailored industry knowledge to help design opti- mal strategies for managing a variety of evolving workflow demands. KEVIN JOHNS is Shareholder, Architecture & Engineering, Clayton & McKervey. Kevin leads the firm’s architecture & engineering group, helping entrepreneurial owners build a better blueprint for growth.
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