“Hey Siri, Google ‘Artificial Intelligence,’” I say as I begin to write this article. Here’s what she found on Wikipedia for me: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals.”
When you really think about it, artificial intelligence is something that is used in almost everyone’s day-to-day lives. Every time you ask Siri or Alexa to say or do something, you’re using it. Because AI is machine-based, it can capture more data than any human could and can analyze it for patterns and trends.
So why are we talking about this on a construction blog? Because artificial intelligence in the construction industry is on the rise and we want you to stay out ahead of it.
With the help of cloud-based applications and mobile devices, jobsite activity can be captured and stored with ease – photos, materials, labor hours, budgets, bidding, etc. AI can analyze that data and provide you with insights that will help you move forward in your company; insights that no human could feasibly put together.
Here are some examples of how it’s used today and what we can expect to see from construction artificial intelligence in the future.
- Wearable safety sensors: There are sensors that your workers can wear that will send an alert in the case of an accident. The AI is intelligent enough to detect a slip or fall and can cut the reaction time in half with the speed of information getting passed to a project manager.
- Real-time alerts: On-the-go field reporting technology allows foremen to enter in job activity or concerns. Many of these types of systems are built to capture certain words – like “safety” or “delay” – and send them back to the project manager to keep them informed. This reduces communication breakdowns and offers all key stakeholders real-time updates.
- Drones: Though expensive, drones may be the next big thing at your construction company. They serve many purposes. The first offering you a completely different perspective prior to starting a job. An aerial view can help identify potential causes for concern early on. Plus, drones make landscape surveying and mapping much quicker and easier.
- OCR Technology: Also known as Optical Character Recognition, OCR technology is a game changer. These applications allow you to scan images or PDFs and then go back and search for or edit them later. Imagine how much time this would save you! You can stop searching through filed documents in the office and literally take your project notes with you on the go in one little device.
- Building robots: As the labor shortage continues, having an option for an artificial builder may not be a bad idea. Though only in the development stage, there is a brick-building robot out there that could feasibly brick a residential home in 2 days. These plans will likely expand into a full-fledged robotic construction worker that could help solve some of the industry’s labor issues.
Keep this in mind: Despite how incredible this technology is, it does not exist to replace the skilled laborers doing all the work on construction jobsites. No brick-building robot or data-analyzing drone will ever have the necessary experience or finesse to do that. Artificial Intelligence exists to aid in the construction workers day and make certain things, – like data gathering, document storing, and project updating – more streamlined.
As your construction company grows, we hope you will keep these new technologies in mind and consider adopting them in the future. It’ll be worth it!