Price, Bid, Win

Construction companies hard hit by the COVID-19 economic slowdown depend on winning contracts with sustainable and profitable pricing. Losing money is all too easy when prices fluctuate dramatically and your bids can’t keep up. Software companies are working hard to adjust their products to keep pace with market changes to give contractors an edge.

InEight, Inc., a construction project management software developer, has released an update to its project cost management solution that significantly improves the quote workflow for contractors while boosting their confidence to choose the right quotes. By providing the ability to view and edit all quotes directly in the user interface, the update allows users to quickly arrive at the best selections available while knowing how any quote group will impact the estimate.


COVID Conferencing

With the growth of remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, teleconferencing and videoconferencing have blossomed as the default methods of keeping in touch with the office staff. Zoom and Skype have become household—and office—words. But the stay-at-home rules are changing, and people are returning, slowly, to their workplaces. Will that put an end to the growth of online conferencing?

According to Gartner, global end-user spending on cloud-based web conferencing solutions will grow 24.3% in 2020.  Workplace restrictions spurred by the coronavirus pandemic will expand the cloud conferencing user base throughout 2020, but growth will taper off in 2021 as the lasting effects of a remote workforce render conferencing services commonplace.


Viewing Safety in All Directions

Safety on the jobsite requires more than hot vests and steel toed boots. Vehicle traffic, both delivering and working trucks and equipment, needs to be respected. Drivers must have visual contact with any obstacle and every person in range when moving their vehicle. Since every vehicle has blind spots, adopting technology to give the driver a clear view makes sense.

SmartDrive Systems, a company focused on video-based safety and what they call “transportation intelligence,” provided The Silvi Group  with a video-based safety program across its fleet after Silvi evaluated two other programs. The program includes fully managed service and proactive coaching.


IoT and Digital Twins

The growth of Digital Twin technology parallels the growth of the IoT—Internet of Things. Many research firms are tracking both the IoT and Digital Twin markets, but not all use the same definitions.

Juniper Research in the UK, for example, defines a Digital Twin as a virtual model representation of a connected physical product, process, or service, across its whole lifecycle (design, build, operate). The virtual replica uses operational realtime data and other sources of information to enable detection of issues, advance both learning and understanding, as well as test and simulate scenarios in the physical model counterpart.


Collected And Connected

Companies buy insurance to protect their bottomline in case of accident or delays; insurance companies create systems to protect their bottomline from too many claims. By helping their clients, insurance firms help themselves as well.

The Construction insurance business of AXA XL takes this idea to heart. AXA XL is the property, casualty, and specialty risk division of AXA, providing insurance and risk management products and services for mid-sized and larger companies. By creating the Construction Ecosystem, an integrated digital platform that employs construction technologies to monitor and aggregate data, AXA XL provides contractor clients with insights and benchmarks to help manage risks on their jobsites and across their organizations.


AI and Traffic Engineering

Accidents at intersections typically involve two or more vehicles contesting a space designed for one. All too often, however, a pedestrian is also involved, either with multiple vehicles or with one vehicle. Either way, it is usually the pedestrian who suffers the most.

The City of Denver has received a federal grant to deploy technology to address traffic congestion along with vehicle and  pedestrian safety.


Satellite Accuracy for Equipment Positioning

In 1957, the first orbiting artificial satellite, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik, was launched. Since then, more than 8,300 satellites have been sent to space, and there are about 5,000 still in orbit around the Earth. Some of those are part of the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), a group that sends position and timing data from high orbits; the satellites used for GPS are a subset of the GNSS.

While many companies offer GPS and GNSS positioning devices, Trimble’s RTX technology utilizes data from a global reference station network to compute high-accuracy positions based on satellite orbit and clock information. Trimble RTX supports realtime correction services delivering a range of accuracies from better than two centimeters to sub-meter performance in as fast as one minute. Positioning services are available via satellite delivery or IP/cellular communication, providing users with flexible options to obtain high-accuracy positions in nearly any work environment.


Cameras Everywhere

With remote work the norm for many functions since the coronavirus pandemic, it is natural for remote observation of jobsites to be a trend. Why risk exposure to the virus by touring an active site when you can do much the same surveillance from the office—or from home?

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) advises that the best way to prevent illness and prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus by way of physical distancing (also known as social distancing). New camera technology, using AI (artificial intelligence), can be used to determine when two or more people are standing or working too close to each other. The technology, from construction camera specialists OxBlue, has the potential to increase awareness and improve safety and is available to those looking for alternative ways to create social distancing awareness.


IoT for Smart Construction

The IoT (Internet of Things) connects smart appliances in the home and smart devices outside the home. Often the intermediary, the connector, is cloud-based. Data up, data down, data everywhere. Some construction related tools and equipment are smart enough to be monitored via a cloud app and more companies are searching for ways to make IoT and the cloud a part of construction.

A partnership of PCL Construction with AOMS Technologies, a specialist in IoT technologies for smart buildings and construction sites, is intended to make IoT enabled "Smart Construction" a new reality. The relationship will further enhance Job Site Insights, PCL's cloud-based construction platform, to provide a single view into all aspects of work at a jobsite. With additional sensor technology integrated into the platform, including concrete maturity and strength, gases, sound, vibration, air quality, and energy consumption among others, PCL has taken steps to enhance the smart construction space.


Advancing the 3D Building Lifecycle

Here at Constructech, we have reported on the value of being able to move data through the construction lifecycle of a project—from design, to construction, and ultimately maintenance and management of a facility. Ideally, BIM (building information modeling) data is generated and shared with everyone throughout the entire project. Now, a new cooperation will help enable a 3D building lifecycle.

Pointfuse and Leica Geosystems, a Hexagon company, announced an agreement to streamline the use of reality capture data. The streamlined workflow provides a solution to capture and convert point clouds into deliverables that drive every stage of the building lifecyle, from design to construction, operations, and maintenance.