Rapid developments across the digital landscape, whilst occasionally overwhelming in terms of staying abreast with advancements, continue to fascinate and stimulate countless minds. Ultimately augmenting ways of working and achieving greater efficiency. At the forefront this is driven by pioneering and intelligent industry professionals who are the very backbone in delivering projects successfully and advancing society into the next digital age.
In creating structured, accurate and information rich 3D model representations of buildings and infrastructure, these can be further extended to link basic datasets with the powerful Geographical Information System (GIS) functionalities that support spatial analysis. As we move further into the realm of the Internet of Things (IoT), objects can be collected and exchange data from embedded sensors that can be linked with a variety of Smart City applications. The level of development and connectivity between platforms and technologies continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. This is all supported with overarching frameworks including; planning, testing, new processes, dedicated systems and specialist people to deliver leading edge solutions. But where is this all heading?
My thoughts visualised on the present and future…
The digital technologies of today are certainly advanced enough and capable of being tailored to meet the basic requirements of end users and stakeholders through design, construction and operation. Recent studies include BIM Academy’s own Smart Connected Building Project which clearly demonstrates how the amalgamation of occupant feedback, design models and sensors can be used to create intelligent systems that provide actionable advice to stakeholders.
Separately, Cisco is pushing the boundaries with Smart City Solution offerings and current testing in Newcastle appears to have developed constructive outputs with more to come. Microsoft is another provider also working extensively in the Smart Cities domain with success stories spanning continents which demonstrate how overwhelming quantities of data can be managed in smarter ways via IoT, sensors, databases and even GIS.
The advent and use of GIS have always been an ambiguous area for some, especially when it comes to understanding the relationship with BIM. For a simple perspective, I have always viewed BIM and GIS as being complimentary, where in some instances one is better suited for a certain use eg BIM for detailed 3D design coordination and GIS for checking attribute data and performing analysis across large geographical areas. In other cases, data / geometry exported between the two can support specific activities and informed decision making dependent on project needs.
The recent formation of strategic alliances is also very positive, particularly in the case of Autodesk and ESRI joining forces to integrate GIS and BIM more seamlessly. This is likely to be a huge benefit for teams managing live projects where previously lack of integration has limited possibilities to manage design and construction projects more effectively. Otherwise for IoT solutions, provider ESRI demonstrates practical applications and possibilities using GIS.
Overall this is fascinating development and progress enabling offerings from solution providers and whole cities to be visualised, managed and monitored in digital real time solutions. As well as enabling data to be captured and used to support informed decision making enhancing the environment in which people live, study and work.
The Human Factor
The current industry trends demonstrate positive advancement in pursuit of some of the world’s most revolutionary digital solutions that are better connected across platforms / devices and provide practical value. Based on past experiences, it is important to highlight that it is sometimes possible to overlook the essentials for implementing digital solutions successfully to achieve their full value. Ultimately, this requires experienced industry professionals.
Every client and team deliver projects in dynamic and dissimilar geographical environments / constraints / organisation structures and political landscapes. Whilst there are some basic standardisation principles that can apply to technology and process, the manner of delivery and thinking varies. For the successful delivery of any digital solution it is critical to have a skilled, adaptable and open minded team of professionals. Technology alone will not determine successful project delivery. Generally, having a more diversely experienced team will better enable varying useful insights, such as understanding of the local environment, critical stakeholder objectives and system capabilities to ensure the final product is viable.
This is one of the key differentiators at BIM Academy, where the breadth of our global team expertise spans across disciplines, projects and worldwide practical experiences including industry and academia. This not only provides us with a uniquely efficient capability to deliver projects but also guarantees that the end solution provides the best possible value to clients. The power of such a diverse and multi skilled team should never be undervalued, especially in such a competitive and ever changing marketplace.
So, what happens when every piece of digital information exists in one form or another and can be intelligently connected and analysed? Or even successfully used for the basis of live monitoring and decision making without any failings. What happens when we think solutions have all the bells and whistles that will blow minds away for centuries to come. What is our next mission…
Interestingly, our overall pursuit of excellence does not have a fixed destination or milestone for completion. It is a continuing journey where we learn, advance and continue to deliver better value in digitally diverse and competitive landscapes across the world. Where expectations are ever changing, novel ideas bring greater challenges and innovations open the pathway to new worlds.
The positivity, passion and leading visionaries in our industry will continue to relentlessly pursue innovations for the benefit of society. Along the way we will come across amazing feats of digital engineering …we can only let our imaginations run wild and collectively be part of the ongoing journey.