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.


Construction, AI and COVID-19

Business as it has been may not be the norm as nations around the world are still impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Governments at every level are searching for ways to aid their constituents, keep them safe and still reopen businesses that have been shuttered as a precaution against unnecessary spread of the virus. The implementation of lockdowns has resulted in stoppage or delays of construction projects and disruption of supply chains in the sector.

To tackle the impact of COVID-19, governments worldwide are expected to take significant steps and implement schemes for promoting construction projects once the pandemic is under control. A research report on the Global AI in Construction Market by Research Dive presents the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the present and future market growth.


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.


Sustainability and Infrastructure

Bridges, roads, dams, and other infrastructure elements are intended to last for generations. Roman aqueducts still stand thousands of years after they were built; American roads look like moon craters and bridges literally fall apart in some parts of the country. Why the difference? What can be done to make infrastructure more sustainable?

In certain ways, technology can make a difference. The ISI (Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure) develops and manages Envision, a framework that encourages systemic changes in the planning, design, and delivery of sustainable and resilient infrastructure through education, training, and third-party project verification. As an example, AIT Bridges, (a division of AIT (advanced infrastructure technologies), has gained accreditation for its employees and projects by becoming a member of ISI. For the last decade, AIT Bridges and ISI have both advocated for more sustainable practices in the infrastructure industry and this collaboration should help drive sustainability and resiliency.


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.