The pace of technological development continues to astound even the most ardent innovation champions. The BD+C editorial team is on a mission to track and evaluate the latest tech tools and trends that show promise for widespread AEC adoption. Here are three compelling developments that we will be watching closely in 2019:
- The rise (finally!) of 5G. Years of hype and buzz around the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications has led to more apathy than enthusiasm over 5G networks. But 2019 promises to be the year in which 5G finally gets off the ground. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are all working on 2019-20 launches for 5G network offerings in parts or all of the U.S. It promises new levels of connectivity and unprecedented speeds. (Latency—the time delay required for information to travel across a network—is expected to drop from 100 milliseconds with today’s 4G networks, to just one millisecond with 5G.) This will lead to breakthrough wireless applications that rely on “real-time” communication of data. Think IoT, edge computing, smart buildings, and wearable tech applications.
- Cheaper, smarter, multifunctional sensors. Wireless sensor technologies like MEMS ultrasonic sensors—combined with more sophisticated analytics platforms—show promise for widespread adoption of smart building operations and advanced project team operations and collaboration. Next-gen sensor technologies can collect multiple pieces of data (CO2, light, temperature, etc.) while supporting a critical role in a building’s operations (e.g., occupancy sensor). They are cheaper, longer lasting, more accurate, more robust, and faster than the previous generations of sensors.
- “Anything as a service.” We’ve all heard of “software as a service.” But did you know there are firms that offer “analytics as a service,” “artificial intelligence as a service,” “cybersecurity as a service”? These companies are part of the cloud computing boom, and they are disrupting traditional business models by providing digital tools, services, and expertise on a subscription basis. These platforms allow AEC firms to “tinker” with advanced tools and methods—and also consult with some of the industry’s brightest minds—while minimizing risk and resources.