Look over any modern cityscape, and you'll see one thing in common worldwide, new construction projects are happening on a large scale. Almost any construction worker can tell you how they use technology today that they didn't even a decade ago. It's clear to them that combining modern technology with traditional construction practices is changing how buildings get made, no matter their size or scope. This is important because as the global population rises, cities continue to grow to meet the growing housing and commercial demands of the local populace. But building ever more ambitious architecture takes more than high-quality steel and well-tested concrete.
Embedded systems have been around for decades, but with the improvement of web connectivity and the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), the construction and heavy industry landscape is rapidly changing as embedded AI gets more widely adopted.
There are some clear advantages to using AI in many aspects of life, both professionally and personally. Here are some more straightforward ways AI is improving the construction industry.
There is a reason workers on a construction site are legally required to wear yellow hard hats (in the United States). Construction sites using heavy machinery and high building elevations are dangerous. In 2020, despite the pandemic-led construction slowdown, several thousand construction worker fatalities happened in the USA.
"4,764 workers died on the job in 2020 (3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers). Workers in transportation and material moving occupations and construction and extraction occupations accounted for nearly half of all fatal occupational injuries (47.4 percent), representing 1,282 and 976 workplace deaths, respectively."¹
These figures are only from the United States during a year when severe construction slowdowns and stoppages occurred due to the pandemic. The key takeaway is that despite modernization in many aspects of the construction industry, there is still much work to do in keeping workers safe. Embedded AI leads the way in some key ways that didn't exist just a few years ago.
Using camera systems with embedded AI, construction management can better manage the movement of personnel throughout a construction site. These systems can also track workers and monitor those not wearing proper safety equipment, including wearables. If workers constructing a 35-story building must harness themselves to equipment to stay safe, AI can be trained to observe this. Workers who have not adequately harnessed themselves can be alerted via their wearable or radio signal to attach themselves properly to avoid a fatal fall or severe injury.
In large construction sites where construction supervisors are often on the ground, they cannot watch every worker as they have their own job to do. AI provides never-flinching supervision of worker safety and can alert management or workers themselves if they forget a safety protocol. Since most construction site fatalities were from falls, this is a crucial addition to every construction site.
There are multiple risks facing any construction project, from personnel safety to budgetary cash flow concerns, logistics, supply chain constraints, and project timelines. Calculating and mitigating these risks is incredibly difficult for a person or team, but that is changing with data analytics and AI.
Consider sourcing steel for a city infrastructure project, for example. Manually searching suppliers and material databases will be incredibly time-consuming and costly regarding personnel hours to procure the materials needed to start a project. From the administrative side, AI can speed up the discovery process of all materials, taking into account supply chain constraints, costs, and time frames. This is a huge advantage considering logistics slowdowns cause most construction project delays.
An AI can use current and ever-changing commodity prices to understand where budget constraints will arise. If the cost of steel has increased, but lumber has decreased, and a project needs both, the AI can direct construction management to find the optimal price to continue the project without going over the previously set material budgets. Because budgetary problems are one of the most consistent issues in any construction project, large or small, this is a massive advantage in keeping a project timeline on track and on budget.
Knowing where every piece of equipment and material is on a large construction site isn't something supervisors and workers cannot do by memory. When a foreman asks, "where is the concrete mixer right now?" they shouldn't have to walk the entire ground to find it. Using the Internet of Things (IoT), an embedded system, you can keep tabs on a construction site's machinery, equipment, materials, vehicles, personnel, and other aspects.
Devices receive IoT tags and connectivity, which allow them to be operated and managed from anywhere, even remotely. Operators have more data and a better understanding of what equipment is deployed, what is required, where the assets are, and who to alert to move them to the proper location. Construction goals are more achievable with this variety of asset management.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process of using AI to create generative designs and 3D modeling of a structure across its construction lifecycle. AI uses machine learning (ML) to read and analyze large amounts of data from all project partners to generate a BIM design, including geographic locations, spatial relationships, costs, and building time. Using BIM architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC), professionals gain insight into designing, planning, building, managing, and effectively completing a project.
Because embedded AI does most of the heavy lifting and mathematical calculations, you don't need to be an architect or have a civil engineering degree to take advantage of AI-generated BIM for a construction project. It allows a greater understanding with ML assistance, speeds up the planning process, and provides better insight into project expectations, making it useful for management and personnel.
Land surveys are the first step in starting a construction project outside a board room or blueprint design. Of course, managing a construction site from the ground is essential, but how can project managers better understand what is happening over the entire area simultaneously? Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) combines airborne drone technology with AI to conduct routine aerial surveys of a job site and construction progress. Regularly conducting these surveys with AI drone assistance help in progress reporting and allows for better decision-making regarding asset management, safety, and personnel direction.
Project managers can now regularly receive a birds-eye-view report on the area. If the current timeline states that a project should be up to the 15th floor, regular drone surveillance can deliver status checks. Is the project meeting exceeding or lagging behind the proposed timeline? GeoAI drones help operators better understand where the project stands at any moment.
Wearing AI-embedded tech devices ("wearables") offer many benefits to project managers and workers alike. For project managers, these devices provide insight into worker productivity and safety through data generated by the embedded sensors within the device. One example is a "smart" helmet, which monitors the construction site's workers and site-wide aspects. Some of the types of data monitored include:
Having workers with sensors capturing data from the devices their wearing, like a helmet, provides system operators with more data about various aspects of the construction project. This leads to higher safety standards at a job site and a more trackable workforce in terms of productivity. It's no wonder that construction companies are pushing for this variety of digitization because it improves many aspects of the modern construction industry, including safety and cost efficiency.
The construction industry uniquely sells a product before it is built, but the industry is notorious for delays and exceeding budgets. Embedded systems and AI provide more precise planning and straightforward implementation for every single construction project aspect, helping manage costs. The more delays a project has, the longer it will take to complete, and the higher the cost will be for the construction company. Budgets get set and approved before ground gets broken, so staying within budgetary constraints is essential to the project. We've all seen shells of incomplete buildings due to a lack of funding. AI is helping minimize budgetary waste and streamline the building process so fewer projects get delayed or go unfinished.
Construction companies and personnel require a dynamic platform to operate their embedded AI-enhanced construction projects. Security and functionality are paramount when working with a building's architectural design, security infrastructure, power & water utilities, supplier databases, and personal information. Utilizing cloud technology was sufficient to accomplish most of those goals in the early 2010s, but now the world produces more data and has more vulnerability points for hackers than ever. For this reason, a decentralized system is essential for security reasons, and blockchain technology is ideal for accomplishing this task.
There are limited options for companies to choose from when running an embedded AI system. Installing sensors or upgrading physical equipment is one thing, but how will the underlying data be captured and analyzed, so it gets used how you need it to be? Knowing what you need and training an AI takes technical expertise that isn't common, but working with the right platform can solve these pain points.
IoE Corp's EDEN is designed specifically for this variety of enterprises and allows businesses to answer some important questions:
These are just some questions a CTO and CEO will want to answer before considering a new technology platform. If you're looking to start digitally transforming your business model, knowing if a platform you're considering has answers to these questions is essential.
If you operate a construction company, you have a lot of different pieces to keep balanced. It isn't worth the time to hire, train, and re-train an entire IT department when the right partnership provides the capabilities and value immediately. Becoming an IoE partner will change your technological foundation, and There are a few key reasons why EDEN is different than other platforms when it comes to automation:
The construction industry is one of processes. There is an established process for things like drawing a blueprint, surveying land, laying a building's foundation, testing concrete quality, and more. Let EDEN optimize your processes to maximize your business's potential and meet your customer's demands and time frames. Minimize delays and reduce costs simultaneously with EDEN's complete process automation suite. You'll quickly understand why embedded AI automation is storming the construction industry.
EDEN is open for partnership applications. We'd love to learn more about your business and how we can automate your processes.