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Industry Experts Identify Technology Trends and Best Practices for AEC in 2017 and Beyond
We talked to several infrastructure consultants to get their outlook on the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry in 2017 and beyond.

Ed Martin, AEC & Manufacturing Convergence Practice Director, CIMdata cited acceptance and more use of cloud-based software as a major trend for the new year.

We also spoke to Dan Chapek, manager of Reality Capture Solutions, IMAGINiT and members of the Microdesk team including principal Michael DeLacey; Content Project Manager Angela Doyle; and Architecture/Engineering Solutions Specialist Jeff Shloesser.

Chapek said we’ll see more adoption of high definition laser scanning, along with more affordable scanning options like Leica’s new BLK360 laser scanner.

Microdesk suspects more technologies, such as virtual reality, generative design and the Internet of Things (IoT), will be utilized for BIM modeling and management. They also think firms will invest more in education, and that repairing infrastructure will be a key goal of the government.

Rita Stange
What do we think?

We’re definitely seeing more of a presence of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology in the AEC space. AR and VR headsets were all the buzz at Autodesk University (AU) 2016, which featured AR tech from companies like DAQRI and VIATecnik, and VR tech from companies ImmersaCAD and IrisVR.

AEC firms like AECOM and Gensler are starting to use AR tools like Microsoft’s HoloLens, which places holographic images in a physical environment, which could potentially help with efficiency, keeping projects on budget and schedule.

We think AEC firms will continue to play with AR/VR tech, but whether they’ll be able to fully utilize it in their workflows may take some time.

AR has also surfaced in the manufacturing industry with software offerings by companies like PTC so we’ll be watching this space as well.

The use of laser scanning and photogrammetry to produce a 3D model is another tech trend that has become more prevalent in the AEC over the last few years and will increase going forward. There are more drones on the market and Autodesk and Bentley Systems both offer reality capture/modeling software. Autodesk reality capture offerings include Autodesk ReCap and Autodesk ReMake (formerly Project Memento). Bentley prefers the term reality modeling for their line of tools, which includes ContextCapture.

The IoT is another area we agree will continue to grow. Buildings are going to get smarter with the IoT, which can provide greater access to data, which can improve operations, and deliver greater performance for building owners.

In fact, this leads to another trend of building owners having more access to building data. The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) just released the National BIM Guide for Owners (NBGO), a program that aims to give building owners an approach to create and fulfill BIM requirements for a project.

Read the interview below to learn more about what our sources had to say about emerging tech trends, what’s overrated and the future of the AEC.
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Published 2017-01-16 00:00:00