Decisions in construction are historically based on subjective experiences instead of hard data. However, as the industry increasingly adapts to new technologies that drive productivity, boost safety, identify and address problems, automate low-level tasks and compile fact-based best practices this precedent is beginning to shift. But, only when this information is turned into actionable insights. Managing the data AEC professionals generate over the course of a construction project is a monumental task – a task that is becoming increasingly insurmountable as drones, robots, smart tags and intelligent devices communicating via the Internet of Things (IoT) add to the deluge.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are essential to extracting actionable information from this swelling ocean of data. AECOM is developing an AI-powered web-and-mobile platform, called Capture, that brings 100-percent accuracy to conventionally cumbersome, time consuming and subjective project management processes. Along with the technology platform, Capture includes a systematic process to capture and analyze construction progress over the entire course of the project.
Giving project teams a more accurate and automated method of gathering project metrics for key decision making leads to savings in management time, increased productivity by installers, and the retention of relevant project data that allows future project teams to improve the delivery of construction projects.
Capture brings 100% accuracy to conventionally cumbersome, time consuming and subjective project management processes
One of the first steps in the development of Capture is to institute a method for identifying individual materials, components and equipment on a construction site, which can be done through a combination of unique electronic tags, photo recognition software and machine learning. Once identified, these elements are automatically monitored and tracked at every stage — upon delivery to a project site, at distribution to the intended floor and at installation into the final location.
As the elements come together — to build a wall, for example — a 3D model representing the status of construction could be generated at any time, automatically identifying work in place and work yet to be installed.
The data generated by construction assets could also be used to automatically validate the work of contractors and process the associated payments, to derive productivity levels and forecast completion dates, and to promptly detect schedule risks. Over time, data collected from multiple projects could be utilized to increase accuracy of schedules, estimates and rough order of magnitudes (ROMs) for future projects.
Another step in the development of Capture is the integration of data from other specialized construction industry platforms. With these integrations, Capture will become a dashboard that gives project managers unparalleled visibility into the construction process and the ability to make adjustments in real-time.
AECOM has developed the conceptual framework for Capture and would provide the site conditions for beta-testing and development. Without question, tomorrow’s technology will be transformative.