In Canada, the City of Calgary has a data-sharing partnership with Waze, a navigation platform that is structured around a community of app users on and off the road. Designed as a free, two-way data sharing arrangement of publicly available traffic information, Waze for Cities Data creates safer roads for citizens of Calgary along with more than 1,600 other partner locations around the world.

Calgary’s TMC (Traffic Management Centre) can improve traffic flow by gathering road information in realtime and informing its citizens about traffic delays, construction and lane closures, accidents and other important information during the daily commute and all other times. Waze for Cities Data will give traffic managers a look at real-time road activity along with the ability to harness driver input to improve congestion reporting and make better-informed planning decisions.

Collaboration means more than meeting people. Digital collaboration means more than emailing them. A major connecting element in today’s digital collaboration is the ubiquitous cloud, computing’s collection place.

Although construction firms have been accused of being the slowest segment to computerize, that is rapidly changing as factors, such as the cloud, make going digital easier. As COVID-19 unleashed a great acceleration in digital transformation across all sectors, with so much to gain and so much at stake, the speed of transformation among construction companies during the past few months has been impressive.

We are in an era where jobsite safety is paramount—for a number of reasons. We know the National Safety Council says the number of preventable work deaths increased 2% in 2019, totaling 4,572. We also know construction is the industry with the highest number of preventable fatal work injuries, at 1,003 in 2019. We are making progress, but more work needs to be done.

Today, we need compliance more than ever before—and one company is looking to provide digital solutions that are easy to use and provide transparency for construction companies. The birth of the company eCompliance began in the summer of 2010. A tragic workplace accident claimed the lives of two young people in a remote East  Coast community. At the time, Adrian Bartha was on the project developers’ board of directors and felt the weight of the tragedy. Recognizing that fatalities are 100% preventable and knowing that smartphone adoption was on the rise, he decided to build a technology company to protect the frontline workforce.

They may not have been “born” smart, but they are getting smarter by the day. They are adding technology at a fast clip and learning the way to get things done remotely as well as locally. Of course, “they” are houses and homeowners and renters are filling them with the newest, often connected, devices to make lives easier. With more people staying home for longer periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic and state mandated restrictions, implementing a connected home is moving from the “Let’s do it someday” column to the “Let’s do it now” column.

With new smart devices coming on the market daily, consumers are frequently turning to leveraging multiple devices and bundling them into distinct service-based ecosystems, the SHaaS (Smart Home as a Service). This new business model represents a shift from device-based functions to managed services and will provide a new user experience more in-line with customer needs. Ultimately, the speed at which SHaaS emerges will depend on achieving open ecosystems and responding effectively to consumer data privacy and security concerns.

COVID-19’s disruption of the U.S. labor force has had a dramatic impact on how businesses large and medium-sized operate and will continue to shape how and where people work in the months to come. We have become familiar with remote and at-home workers in a variety of industries and positions. Now the companies that can are devoting efforts to create or enlarge their mobile workforce, as well.

The CIO (chief information officer) of companies large and small needs to step up and accept the challenges of COVID-19 and the resulting economic pain. CIOs have increased their organizational credibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are more complex challenges that they must tackle during the recovery to sustain their elevated value, according to Gartner, Inc.

A Gartner managed panel surveyed 58 CIOs in May 2020 and found that 43% said planning for their enterprises’ post-COVID-19 strategy has begun, while 38% were still dealing with the effects, but will turn to recovery soon.  CIOs in many organizations were instrumental in dealing with the initial impact of COVID-19 and in many cases were the guiding lights that allowed the companies to continue during the early stages of the pandemic. Enterprises continued to operate with a strong assist from IT organizations, especially in enabling a newly dispersed workforce to work from home. Consequently, many CIOs have a new opportunity to take a seat at the table when senior leaders decide enterprise strategy and which lines of business to ramp up and which ones to reduce.

Your construction company has been disrupted. Projects were halted. Workers were furloughed. New safety procedures and processes were required. Companies that recognize this are taking proactive steps to determine what’s next—and how to move forward. Central to this is technology. Digital transformation, AI (artificial intelligence), 5G, the IoT (Internet of Things), biometrics, AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), blockchain, robotics, and more have never been more important than they are today.

Beyond the need for technology due to a change in business, the numbers are also pointing us toward digital transformation. CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Assn.) Emerging Technology Community lists the top three technologies today as AI, 5G, and the IoT, while Grand View Research projects the AI market will reach almost $391 billion by 2025, and ResearchAndMarkets predicts AI and IoT devices market will surpass $105 billion in North America alone. Reports also show that the global cellular IoT market is expected to climb 18.54% from the end of 2019 to 2025. Add in the fact that the pandemic is accelerating the need for digital transformation, and the outcome is going to be ramping up for the IoT on the construction jobsite.

Rebuilding the decaying infrastructure should be a priority for government as we start to return to “the new normal” after so much of the country has been in lockdown. Companies with strong ties to infrastructure construction are preparing for the hopeful near future.

One of these is 36-year old Bentley Systems, a global provider of software to engineers, architects, geospatial professionals, contractors, and owner-operators for the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure. Bentley’s MicroStation-based engineering and BIM applications, its digital twin cloud services, and many other solutions are used in public works, utilities, industrial and resources plants, and commercial and institutional facilities.

“Getting the word out,” the act of communications, sound like a reasonable approach to many issues. In times of emergency, not knowing what is happening and what must be done can mean illness, injury or even death. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many businesses to recognize employee communications as a weak spot that needs to be addressed.

CrewMinders, an Atlanta-based technology firm, has a new platform to help organizations improve communications, and CDC compliance, while developing an all-important safety culture. CrewMinders allows companies to communicate with hourly employees through simple and rapidly deployable tools that ensure employees are safe, healthy, and informed.

We use the term “smart” to describe many facets of modern homes. Often, it is a building that is computer controlled or monitored. Heat, air conditioning, appliances, perhaps security are all interconnected via the IoT (Internet of Things) network. Individual homes and complete neighborhoods can be remodeled or developed as smart.

For example, Alabama Power has developed a program called the Smart Neighborhood focused on homes that feature energy-efficient construction, energy-efficient appliances, connected devices, innovative security solutions, and home automation designed to simplify homeowners’ lives and give them more control over their home and energy use.

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