The evolution of big-data and intelligent tools like BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry has changed the way AEC firms do business and we are seeing a major transformation in the industry. Technology trends are expected to accelerate needed upgrades for national infrastructure, and firms that embrace these trends will see and prepare for the opportunities ahead. We, at IEI see three (3) technologies changing how we approach the delivery of our services:
1. 3D Design and Modeling: This realm has been dominated by BIM and has traditionally been thought of as a tool for architectural vertical building projects or architectural streetscape/plaza projects. However, we are seeing this more and more in transportation and utility projects that require 3D models as part of the design to allow for automated machine guidance in construction and produce more complete as-built deliverables than can be utilized for greater asset management.
- Major state agencies, tollway facilities, counties and utility companies are already implementing this trend.
- IEI has embraced it in some of our recent projects and pursuits.
- 3D modeling will soon no longer be an extra service or specialty, but the norm.
2. Drones: Drones have the capability to significantly improve project delivery – especially for long transportation corridors and/or difficult to access locations. IEI has recently been part of teams that have utilized drones. A few benefits of drone usage for today’s firm include:
- Project pursuits, marketing presentations, planning tools for design information, and construction documentation
- Preliminary inspections, and reducing repeat site visits
- As-built photos and public meeting presentations
3. Big Data and Spatial Databases: IEI and its partners are working with technology developers to better serve its program management clientele by greatly reducing redundant information systems, multiple input needs and eliminating systems that do not communicate. Information and process technology can transform how we provide asset management and program management services. This will change how annual maintenance programs and Capital Improvement Programs (CIPs) can be developed, managed and updated.