BIM (building information modeling) provides a lot of information for construction and maintenance of structures. Computer aided design or CAD has been a major tool in “loading” a BIM project’s database. Now, other tools are being integrated with BIM for increased digital transformation of the industry.

Cameras are being used in a myriad of ways in construction. Monitoring work progress on the jobsite and flying high over a tract to survey a new project are just a few. Fleet owners, with both truck and heavy equipment, are adopting cameras to survey the operation of the equipment and monitor operator behavior to prevent accidents and provide evidence in case of accidents.

It’s not only construction companies that can be liable for operator error and incidents caused by others. Companies across the commercial transportation industry, from long-haul trucking to field services to passenger transit, are at risk for high-cost incidents on the road, such as sideswiping and back-up collisions.

Construction companies have become aware of and concerned about the potential attacks—digital, physical, and natural—on infrastructure, especially utilities, both while they are under construction and while operating. If you are responsible for the security of the site before, during or after construction, that can weigh heavily on your decisions.

As early as 1900, Sears was selling Modern Homes kits by mail order. Kit houses were popping up throughout the states after World War II when returning veterans demanded homes for their families and had GI Bill benefits to use. Those early “prefabs” evolved into today’s modular buildings.

Modular buildings are becoming both popular and affordable, quicker to erect than similar floorplans are to construct onsite, and readily available in most markets. However, they have usually been cast as single-family residents, one or two stories in elevation. That image is changing rapidly as innovative companies are creating multi-family, high-rise buildings using off-site fabricated panels just as the more common single story residential building are.

“Some assembly required” is a scary phrase when you buy a toy for a kid at the holidays. IKEA has made a reputation from “assemble it yourself.” That approach is even growing in popularity among builders as modular buildings, composed of off-site fabricated panels that can be assembled into affordable housing, are being considered as part of the expansion program in many cities and towns.

While modular construction has been successful for single-family residential, multifamily builds are found in fewer locations. Now, Modulous, a U.K.-developed scalable platform for housing development—combining design software, a proprietary kit of parts, and a world-class supplier network to reduce the risks and time required to build high-quality, multifamily housing—is establishing a facility in the Seattle area.

At its basic level, real estate transactions involve seller, buyer, and brokers or agents for each. In the case of new houses, there might be a developer acting as seller or a builder selling a custom home. To bring the seller and buyer together, advertising, open houses, and even word-of-mouth augments the agent’s network listings.

In the Internet age, all parties might be in touch via technology, possibly not coming face-to-face until the final documents are signed—if then. This is a far cry from the “traditional” sales technique but, over the past COVID-19 months, much more common. That factor increases the desirability of having the right technology platform to create positive customer relations.

In the early days of consumer computing, once the monster was let out of the academic cage and allowed to roam free in homes, offices, and factories, there was a flurry of companies that became known as the TLA group: three letter acronyms. IBM and DEC were the leaders but SUN (actually Sun Microsystems, but usually known as just SUN) was also part of the club.

Today, TLA most often stands for two letter acronyms: AI, (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), AR (augmented reality), VR, (virtual reality), and several others. Shorthand for some of the more advanced technologies, these TLAs are growing together into a coalition of confusion. What are they? How do they interact?

The AI (artificial intelligence) market has been growing in value across industries as software developers find ways to incorporate it into their offerings. What AI can do to benefit construction has been a concern for decades and one answer is now available: automating estimating and takeoffs.

A startup in Florida, Togal.ai, has applied AI to estimating and recently concluded beta testing among several general contractors. In reports on the tests, a contractor explained that Togal.ai found a way to automate take-offs in a way that will allow teams to focus on scoping, pricing and value engineering.

What was science fiction in the 1980s is everyday technology today, it seems. Even the construction jobsite, long a refuge from high tech applications, is succumbing to the trends. Cameras and smart phone apps, IoT (Internet of Things) and WiFi, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence are providing benefits to contractors and employees.

Triax Technologies’ Spot-r Mesh has been found on a growing number of sites during the past two years. Workers are now able to use the entry and exit timestamps in the Spot-r Mesh dashboard to connect to EarthCam’s high-resolution video cameras and provide realtime, independent visual verification of the check-in/check-out process. This latest integration makes the user experience quicker and more efficient, eliminating the need to log into both the Spot-r and the EarthCam dashboards to see all their data.

Although PoE (power over ethernet)) has been a part of building network infrastructure for decades, PoE—IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standard 802.3af—has only established a reputation as a niche protocol due to its weak value proposition compared with wireless or other wired connections. In 1999, both the IEEE and the Ethernet Alliance started working to standardize PoE to ensure interoperability across a broader range of connected powered devices and power sourcing equipment.

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