5 Ways the Architecture and Engineering Industry Leverages Technology


 5 Ways the Architecture and Engineering Industry Leverages Technology

Bill Kloster, CIO, SEH Inc.

Architecture and engineering firms leverage technology to generate business as their marketplace transforms. Population growth is driving an increasing trend of individuals migrating to megacities. The creation of megacities requires more efficient, cost effective and sustainable infrastructure. Higher standards for sustainable living will increase consumption of renewable energy and clean water. This will drive a higher demand for waste water treatment and sustainable infrastructure. The design expertise to build smart cities requires firms of all sizes to leverage technology the following 5 technology trends as a means to improve employee productivity and increase client value.

Big Data Storage designed to enable collaboration

All project team members are rarely in the same office at the same time. The need to share large amount of data with project team members every day is growing. The projected growth rate in global data is 40% annually. Architects and engineers rely on large amounts of data in the form of graphics files. The emergence of 3D images and videos used to share information is driving the demand for increased network and storage capacity. These large files can take a long time to load without a large network pipe and a method of to cache or compress large data files. Firms are moving to virtual desktop infrastructure, virtual application deployment, and data compression solutions to improve the ability to access and share large amounts of data across multiple locations.

Mobile Technology for anytime, anywhere access to information

Architects and engineers spend the majority of their time away from the office. They visit project sites to collect specific geographic information about the location and they visit clients to discuss requirements, present designs and manage expectations on a daily basis. The days of using paper are numbered with the emergence of mobile forms and mobile applications. Cisco CloudLock saw a growth of third party applications grow from 129,00 in January 2016 to 220,000 in December 2016. The integration of mobile applications with enterprise data creates enhanced near real-time process improvements and collaboration opportunities from almost anywhere.

3D Scanning and 3D Images

Creating an as-built model of a structure within minutes is a reality with 3D scanning. This new technology improves the estimating, modeling, surveying and project management processes. Images are a powerful sales tool. The use of 3D images in video presentations helps present a more realistic view of the finished product. The emerging trend of virtual reality continues to expand with the improvement in virtual reality applications and ever improvement of graphics, memory and processor computing capabilities. The architecture and engineering industry should thank the video game industry for driving vast improvement in compute capacity and performance over the past three years. Clients that see themselves inside the design are more likely to sign the contract. Are you ready to virtually walk through your new facility, before the actual construction is complete?

Understanding the value of IT as a business partner

The realization that technology enables business value through partnership in decision making on corporate strategy and product selection is critical to the success of all organizations. Architects and engineers are problem solvers by nature. They know technology can make them more effective and efficient. They work with IT peers to select products that benefit the entire firm. The increase in Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer roles on corporate leadership teams emphasizes the understanding that information technology plays an important role in the success of a company. IT leaders need to know how to leverage technology to keep the lights on tomorrow to maintain operations and to grow the business for long-term company success.

Information Security

The ability to secure sensitive client information, employee information and intellectual property is critical to the success of all companies. IBM estimates that every business experiences a cyber attack 46 times every single day and that an average of 1.7 per week are successful. 95% of those successful attacks are caused by an individual responding to a malicious e-mail or visiting a malicious website. Cisco found that spam accounted for 65% of all email traffic in 2016. Companies need to follow an industry standard information security framework, such as National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with solid security awareness training, effective patch management routines, and reliable backup/restore procedures are paramount in the fight against cyber crime. Executive leadership teams rely heavily on information technology to ensure success of their company brand.
The growth of our global population creates demand and opportunity for the architecture and engineering industry. Cities look to architects and engineers to design and build solutions for renewable energy, clean water, and infrastructure sustainability. Architecture and engineering firms provide client value through the industry expertise of their employees. Those employees leverage technology to access vast amounts of accurate secure data and graphical images for near real-time collaboration from any work location.

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