Experts discuss AR and other technologies changing the industry.
Keith Boyer

Keith Boyer

Managing Partner
KMRD Partners Inc.

Pairing two of the most exciting technology-forward trends in construction—augmented reality (AR) and wearables—brings innumerable benefits and some risk. Wearable technology can monitor physical status and environmental conditions, issuing alerts when conditions become dangerous. It can also increase worker productivity and work quality by generating task and situational awareness. However, management must understand the privacy implications of AR through wearable technology. For starters, employees will be concerned about surveillance by Big Brother. Management should be sure to relay the many benefits attributable to wearables to help counter privacy concerns. Captured health data could be stolen by hackers, blocking an employee’s path to job advancement or possibly even leading to termination. A communications initiative and fastidious IT program will help to address this concern. AR is the next big thing in construction. However, hackers who infiltrate through AR wearables could wreak havoc on a construction site. Your insurance broker can guide you through how wearable technology could potentially lower your risk profile, while also informing you on risk transference through insurance products.

James Benham

James Benham

Chief Executive Officer
JBKnowledge Inc.

The next big thing in construction technology is fully integrated model viewing and editing in mixed reality (MR)—both holographic AR and virtual reality (VR). In my opinion, Microsoft has presented us with the most achievable vision of this integration with its HoloLens to Microsoft MR and VR systems that allow users to collaborate between desktops, VR and AR, all through the Microsoft ecosystem. This level of integration and visualization will dramatically change how people consume and edit two- and three-dimensional data. It will also really transform what we call a “computer” into anything that you can wear, hold or work with that has computing and visualization capacity. This will liberate people from their desktops, allowing field workers to get their office work done on their feet instead of having to march all the way back to a jobsite trailer or office. It’s going to be a significant transformation in data capture as well since most augmented and mixed-reality devices have forms of 3D scanners and reality-capture systems on board for positioning that can be used for constant, continuous reality capture of the spaces they are working within.

Grant Hagen

Grant Hagen, EIT

Virtual Design & Construction Manager
The Beck Group

As documentation continues to be a critical component of the construction process, innovation in this area continues to follow suit. An under-the-radar technology that is only going to get better in the industry is 360-degree (or spherical) media capture. Laser scanning and costly reality-capture equipment has been aiding our industry for quite some time, but the low cost, 360-degree camera technology will soon become a standard camera and documentation tool. While not replacing these reality-capture solutions, spherical camera documentation will be an impactful supplement to these proven technologies. With change happening in every direction on a jobsite, the need to quickly, accurately and simply capture those changes will continue. Missing the mark on just the right perspective or angle of capture can negatively affect a project. Fortunately, 360-degree camera technology will soon make those pains and missteps obsolete. It’s not a technology that is going to shatter headlines or garner all the attention, but it wouldn’t surprise me if, in a few years, we start to wonder why and how we ever settled for capturing media in just one direction, when it was possible to do so in all directions.