The term “cloud” has become commonplace in today’s highly technology-oriented economy. What is it? According to Microsoft, “The cloud is not a physical entity, but instead is a vast network of remote servers around the globe which are hooked together and meant to operate as a single ecosystem. These servers are designed to either store and manage data, run applications, or deliver content or a service such as streaming videos, web mail, office productivity software, or social media.” A subset of the cloud concept is the use of those remote servers and computing power to do analytics, including forensics and fraud detection.
Data is information in disguise. Artificial intelligence can be used to convert data into usable information and AI (artificial intelligence) can also be used to protect that data from being converted by others for illegal use. According to Gartner, Inc., a research and advisory company, more than 40% of privacy compliance technology will rely on AI by 2023, up from 5% today. Privacy laws, such as the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), present a compelling business case for privacy compliance and you can be sure many other jurisdictions worldwide will follow. In fact, more than 60 jurisdictions around the world have already proposed or are drafting privacy and data protection laws as a result.
There are officials who are worried about a lack of hospital beds for the potential COVID-19/Coronavirus patients as the pandemic and number of people testing positive grows. Hospital capacity in some cities is limited by aged and underfunded facilities or lack of adequate building expansion potential. In China, a massive effort by the government along with building contractors and workers built two 1,300 bed hospitals in slightly more than a week. These were in the Wuhan area where the coronavirus first appeared in strength.
Governments, at every level, are responding to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, some in measured and carefully thought out ways, others in near panic. One of the first steps was to suggest—and in many areas, require—that employers allow their employees to work from home. Obviously, that can’t be an option for construction companies that need to have boots on the ground (or ladders) and hands on the tools needed to build structures of all types.
Vehicle safety is a dynamic influenced by many variables, some under the control of the driver, others dependent on the design and manufacturing of the vehicle. Heavy equipment and trucks are used daily in construction and they have been the focus of several initiatives lately, both from OEM (original-equipment manufacturer) and aftermarket suppliers. WHO (World Health Organization) claims road traffic accidents as the eighth leading cause of death globally, claiming more than 1.35 million lives each year and causing up to 50-million injuries.
Venture capital is the life blood of technology startups and Silicon Valley, the area from San Francisco south through San Jose, is—or has been—the prime spot for those startups. But that may be changing, partially due to the rising cost of housing in this area. Venture capital or VC wants to see a quick multiplier effect to its investments, leading to an IPO that makes everyone rich. Some of those investors are getting leery of the Valley and decisions on investments are becoming more cautious. The result may impact all technology segments and the industries that depend on new, advanced technology to sustain their growth, including construction and real estate.
Architects, engineers, and contractors have adopted BIM (building information modeling) technology to advance their capabilities. Now the M&O (management and operations) segment is being pitched by vendors and owners alike to get on the BIM bandwagon. Verdantix, an independent research firm in the United Kingdom, did a survey finding BIM systems bring considerable value in building M&Os those benefits are proving hard to access. BIM, from firms such as Autodesk and Trimble, is gaining major traction in the design and pre-construction phases of a building and the next issue is how to get and prove value in the M&O phase of the lifecycle.
The world is getting smaller when it comes to equipment companies. In 2012, Dressta, a Polish construction equipment company, was acquired by LiuGong Machinery, a Chinese concern, and renamed LiuGong Dressta Machinery. Their newest dozer, the TD-16N, has one of the most user-centric cabs in the industry. It features a mid-cab design over a mid-mounted automatic, dual path hydrostatic drive train with a standard 6-way angle blade compatible with 2D and 3D grade control systems.
No matter what heavy equipment you are operating, the Spicer division of Dana Incorporated probably makes an axle or drive train for it. At the ConExpo show, Dana showed some of its newest products. A new series of eight Spicer Torque-Hub drives for crawler cranes and other large tracked vehicles has torque ratings from 80,000 N-m up to 450,000 N-m, and offers flexible packaging and gear ratios. In addition, they have two new Spicer axle models for medium-to-large diesel-powered telehandlers with lifting capacities from 35,000 to 55,000 lbs.
We’re all familiar with the idea of collaboration making the job easier and more fruitful. Construction teams are urged to collaborate across trades and from design through handover. In the supplier area, collaboration is also a way to better products and services for the end user. In Europe, AGC Glass and Citrine Informatics are collaborating to use AI (artificial intelligence) to accelerate the development of next-generation glass. Citrine Informatics is a technology platform that uses the power of AI to bring new materials to market faster, and capture materials-enabled value.