Predictions that 2016 would be the year of robotics and drones were not off base, but they did not go nearly far enough to encompass the broader picture of technology’s advances into the world of construction.
In 2016 ENR wrote about advances in data analytics. We wrote about diverse process- and product-integrations via the Cloud that are leading to improvements in interoperability, finally. And we wrote about steady improvements in augmented, mixed and virtual reality software and devices that are definitely changing the ecosystem of construction.
We also wrote about the growing use of 4D construction scheduling to perform “digital rehearsals” of complex tasks with project teams, so sequences can be fine-tuned and fully understood before committing to the field, and we wrote about practical implementations of BIM, in general, for construction planning and management.
What’s next for big changes ahead? Start with machine learning and artificial intelligence, increased data mobility and invisible technology—meaning technology that serves real needs but is so unobtrusive you hardly know it is there.
Technology advancements are like water rising at the shore. There rarely is a sudden shift you can point to, but every time you look, the water is closer to the reference points marked earlier—if they aren’t already submerged.
ENR’s technology coverage during 2016 remarked on many reference points where technology trending could be seen. Our editors, guest columnists, and the presenters at the annual ENR FutureTech conference described innovative practices and trials and reported results from construction technology’s leading edge.
In 2017 ENR will continue tracking technology’s rising tide—with your help. Please share your stories by letting us know about significant innovations you are driving—or simply seeing—and please share your experiments and insights with ENR’s readers by giving us tips about stories, submitting ideas for First Read columns in this space, or by submitting proposals to present at ENR’s annual FutureTech Conference, next to be held in San Francisco on May 31-June 1.
The conference is accepting proposals for presentations now. The industry is hungry for insight into what’s next. Those of you who are on the front lines of innovation know what’s happening. Lets talk!