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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Top AEC Predictions for 2013 — AECCafe Voice

January 14th, 2013 by Susan Smith

At the beginning of each year, AECCafe looks at what the current trends are and predictions for the coming year. 2012 has been an exciting year, with the acceptance of the Cloud in many facets of business, and some new areas of interest spawned from the possibilities the cloud opens up. The Cloud is still on our bucket list for 2013 because there are many uses for it that have not yet been realized. Other areas are coming forward, fueled by the urgency of the failing infrastructure and climate change that threatens existing infrastructure as well as food sources.

The Cloud – The Cloud allows users to connect to tens of thousands of powerful computers, rather than having all your data on one server in an office. Google is one of the first applications to use the Cloud. The storage possibilities are huge, as well as the opportunity to be able to view your data on various devices as with the iPad, the iMac and the iPhone. Usage of the Cloud will grow exponentially with the growth of mobile devices and the demand for more people to view more data.

Teresa Payton, Former White House CIO, Cybersecurity Authority and Identity Theft Expert, said that by 2013 the enterprise will turn to hybrid Clouds for services, and will look to private Clouds for B2B interaction management and governance strategies. By 2014 the Cloud will be the primary operating model for enterprise IT organizations. By 2015 economies of scale and cloud security assurances will drive more enterprises to adopt Cloud services. Personal computers and devices will get replaced more and more by the Cloud.

Video – All video is a function of the Cloud. Video information is very dense. The scope of video is already huge: YouTube sends out 4 billion videos a day. They are uploading 48 hours of video every minute. And this is just a fraction of what data is going into the Cloud.

Construction – The construction industry is embracing building information modeling, and is coming into its own. Field BIM has brought information modeling into the field and we are seeing a convergence of mobile and construction in this space.  IT spending is still very low in construction but tools such as Civil 3D are experiencing huge growth. The ability for more users to access construction information through technology is growing fast. The use of tablet computers has increased in this area and will continue to increase, hopefully helping to address the state of the U.S. infrastructure.

Infrastructure – In the U.S. there is $53 billion worth of infrastructure that needs to be repaired or retrofitted. In order to meet this challenge, the methodology for delivering infrastructure projects must change. This is a challenge that is not fully understood by the government but that should be acknowledged as more companies embrace technology to solve problems of infrastructure.

3D cities – In envisioning the future and survival, 3D cities and planning will take a larger role. Newly designed cities and older cities are already taking advantage of this technology to create better environments for citizens. Materials that do not use as much carbon in manufacture, planning so that citizens don’t have to travel so far for grocery shopping, daycare, work, and other basic needs are all part of designing the future city.

Consumerization – This term was heard often this year, once Greg Bentley said that mobile was “consumerizing” the AEC market. This term really refers to bringing technology that was once the province of only AEC professionals, now to those who are not in that industry, but need access to the information. Mobile is a common currency in most countries (75% of the world population now have cell phones) and ultimately we will begin to see more people using mobile devices to access all kinds of information.

An interesting session at AU showed several different approaches to providing healthcare, none of which had anything to do with building buildings, but rather, they had to do with building networks and using existing buildings or mobile units in order to deliver much-needed services. In addition, cellphones are used for banking, shopping and even healthcare in many parts of the world. If they aren’t, there is the potential to do so as cell phone use is so great elsewhere in the world.

More importantly, Autodesk and Bentley Systems are paying a lot of attention to consumers. Autodesk, for example, now has over 100 million users engaged in design activities, which was unheard of a year ago. Although Autodesk is a design technology company for design professionals, the impact of finding so many people interested in design tools at the elementary level is culture changing and ultimately will help shape the future of design tools.

Maker Community – The addition of the Maker community to AEC is on the horizon and may make a big impact. These creative people are not tied to corporate agendas and are able to make products in their own homes at minimum cost. This population has to be acknowledged as their efforts may revolutionize products, materials and many aspects of infrastructure and economics in the future. Even in architectural firms 3D printers are now resident, helping to build models and parts of building designs to help visualize a finished product.

Security –  Payton  made some surprising announcements about security at AU: “51% of CIOS cite security as their greatest concern regarding current or planned moves to Cloud computing.”

“According to the FBI, there are two types of companies right now. Those that have been hacked and those that don’t realize they’ve been hacked.”

One thing she said concerns CIOs and CEOs is intellectual property theft. She recommends that organizations build a data map architecture of what should be protected and at what level, as all data are not created equal.

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Categories: AEC, architecture, AutoCAD, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, BIM, building information modeling, Cloud, construction, consumerization, engineering, infrastructure, integrated project delivery, plant design, video

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