As the U.S. looks for ways to rebuild and improve weakening infrastructure, technology solutions offer a means to complete the work more efficiently. That’s one of the predictions from a recent report on the nation’s infrastructure, which also says public engagement is important to rebuilding efforts.
A report conducted by Microdesk, www.microdesk.com, Nashua, N.H., revealed three predictions for the architecture, engineering, construction, and operations industry. Together, the three factors will help to boost the improvement of U.S. infrastructure, says Microdesk.
Overall, Microdesk predicts 2014 will be a “pivotal year” for the industry. The technological tools are available, and now it’s up to the industry to put them into practice, says the report. In a previous survey, Microdesk found 90% of Americans agree technology plays an integral role in improving U.S. infrastructure. During the past year, many of these advanced technologies were used for infrastructure, such as mobile devices for design, construction and facilities management, and cloud computing for collaboration and improved workflows.
Microdesk says companies that do not adopt these technologies in 2014 are putting themselves at a disadvantage. They could lose bids and will not be ready to adopt even more advanced technology that could be securely in place by 2020, such as driverless vehicles and 3D printing.
The report also predicts the public will become savvier about infrastructure and technology. As infrastructure degrades, it puts the country at greater risk from disasters. Microdesk says people will learn to become more aware of the buildings they live in and the roads on which they drive. With a greater awareness could come a greater understanding of how technology can help.
Finally, Microdesk’s report says the industry will see a further adoption of standards. One example is BIM (building information modeling), which the report says has shown high adoption rates. The report predicts that if the government does not mandate use of such standard practices, owners will drive the use of BIM to “streamline construction and facilities management.”
Microdesk sees 2014 as a year in which great strides could be made, if the industry remains committed to benefits that can come with technology. But with advances such as driverless cars on the horizon, improving the nation’s infrastructure will be vital in order to take full advantage of the technologies of the future.