The Construction Sector (B2B) | I.O.T. Powering The Digital Economy



IOT powering the digital economy brought to you by Schneider Electric the places we live work and entertain ourselves all share a common link and that is we first have to imagine then design and then build them and here at Microsoft future decoded event in London they're working out how we can do that not just now but well into the future and the construction sector is one which is really right for revolution using these new digital approaches and pathways to completely reimagine how we build the world around us new technology and materials seem to promise a future of safer and more affordable buildings that are greener and more sustainable but just how rosy is the future of construction digital innovation is putting more and more powerful tools into the hands of designers and builders so in this program we're looking at how the big companies in the sector are adapting to this new digital age and what about the companies which were born into this new environment how are they developing new approaches to help companies thrive in this volatile sector I'll also be talking to an industry regulations expert to find out how the construction companies are held to account and I'll find out how the sector plans to provide us with the buildings of the future Microsoft is one of the world's most powerful companies arguably actually one of our first digital innovators it's software is used in computers in every single country in the world perhaps less well known though is the effect the company is having on developments in the construction industry with devices being tried out for these chats it's called the hololens it's an augmented reality device that merges the digital objects of our imagination or even our avatars into a real world environment the wearers of the hololens headsets can communicate with each other no matter where they are and handle computer-generated objects environmental and safety regulations are a critical part of making first line workers jobs safe and secure Lorraine Bardeen is Microsoft's general manager of Windows and hololens experiences her keynote speech to the digital savvy crowd here in London went down well and so it should she's previously been in charge of Microsoft strategy on the Internet of Things in Europe the Middle East and Africa so there's no doubt she's an expert on tech and its potential impact can you give me some examples of how industries are using this technology let's say the construction industry with construction it's one of the best industries to talk about because the process of construction is lighting up scenarios that really are transformed by Hollins and mixed reality across the whole process so as you can imagine designing 3d buildings in 2d behind a 2d screen has limitations there are experts in doing that making that cognitive switching but most people for most of us seen something laid out in 3d makes all the difference being able to understand either our kitchen renovation or a massive construction project in 3d and iterate on the design that way that's been a real breakthrough for designers for architects at the beginning of the construction process and then in actually creating the building itself you're able to take Hollins to the job site with the plans fully loaded and then lay them out against maybe blank walls or no walls at all and understand how is this construction site going to come together and that's again where you can collaborate across all the different people who need to be on site and make tough decisions maybe about the wiring or maybe about moving a door from one place to another we're really seeing scenarios across construction and it's one of the fastest moving spaces from externality except I have to say I'm more skeptical that so early on in the development of this product it's only really been out a year or so yes a net that you're saying it's transformed the ability of construction businesses to do work they couldn't do before I mean genuinely I don't believe that to be the case I'm not here to convince people that it's that it's going to transform the construction industry what I'm doing is listening to what we're hearing from our customers like like Trimble who support construction process they've already extended their applications and services to Hall lines because it's that important in their business we're hearing the same thing from customers like oh you know ghee which is a Japanese construction firm which is using Holland's in the development of complex malls and systems these are companies they're moving into this space and they're investing their time and money and energy and what is a relatively complex change management processes this whole digital transformation thing and for them to take on that extra time and effort means that they're seeing a meaningful return one of the biggest recent digital breakthroughs in construction that hololens is tapping into is Building Information modelling or BIM for short door muscle muscle and you can I mean hey you've written stuff on it can you write stuff on there is great stuff for this different sector like it's a way of centralizing all the data on a given building project into one accessible point and 3d visualisation is just one element in this complex new centralization of data for some established companies rolling out the new changes in practices can be a double-edged sword so how are the established players adapting to the shifting digital landscape Balfour Beatty is an international tier one construction company which has written many changes since its formation in 1909 have come to their Birmingham headquarters to find out more about the challenges and opportunities posed to their business dean banks his managing director for Balfour Beatty z– UK construction services prior to joining the company he worked for manufacturing giants Dunlop aviation and Massey Ferguson amongst others how important is the growth of digital technology to transforming this industry technology and innovation is growing and growing three fronts was really that new Balfour Beatty needs to operate smarter moving forward to help our productivity secondly we need to put covenants of control in place that allows us to make informed decisions of our data and thirdly to attract new entrants into the market with the skills that we need for the future one of the defining characteristics of your industry is how it has to collaborate between lots of different suppliers and companies operating in the same space do you think technology helps in that way or makes life harder certainly in terms of information sharing is going to be better you know there are to be an element of trust and transparency and information that's shared balanced with you know the data protection regulations are making sure that we are sensitive to how we handle that data but I think if you just look at decision making you know we can today share openly our information in terms of the building somebody can make a decision visually from off site whereas before everything was done with you know drawings that took time to update people having often having to come visit the site one of the biggest changes we've seen is this move from 2d to 3d visualization how significant is that for your industry massive change for the industry so first of all you've got to remember that perhaps in the past the person was walking around with a drawing they would get wet on the site and also when you wanted to make a change you were to go back to the designer in the cabin and make sure the change was made and then reissued today you know first of all we're operating with you know iPads you know where there's dynamic change of data but then when you talk about things like microsoft hololens there's two things for me that fundamentally stand out first of all it's a bit of fun and you know if you can work Smart's really can be a bit of fun then people tend to adopt you secondly it gives you the ability to see so much more so that transition from 2d to 3d brings to life the building and gives you the ability to understand the finished article and how you'll operate in that space and that the building modeling that we've seen today you think that's still very much in its infancy or is it already quite a mature technology well if you look at public procurement they've insisted at least 50% of projects now are done to BIM level to that said I think as clients start to become more informed about it they use it for different things so you can look at you know the logistics that I've talked about you can you look at the health and safety benefits you can look at simply how parts of the building interact with each of them you're in the NOAA scene earlier and I've had some of the clients there sitting in one side of the hall look at the view through their window from their death saying what will I be able to see and equally where they've got areas that they want to be closed off a research and development making sure that other people can't see in so the concept of modeling I think well grow as we move forward of course all of this is based on power isn't it I mean this demand and need for a constant and secure power supply how much of a key issue is that for you I think the reality is that as we start to put more demand on the cloud and technology then visit there's a requirement for greater power which means the stability of the power is fundamental because you have very little backup in terms of having that information available so as we move forward the stability of the power that's available is going to become fundamental to the success of the use of innovation it's no surprise that new technologies are having a big effect on the way we construct new buildings and infrastructure but those technologies are also providing some huge challenges not just for the companies but for the regulator's who have to keep businesses on the right side of the rules so after the break I'll be finding out how those companies and regulators are keeping ahead with those challenges the construction industry is incredibly diverse from private housing to public utilities from commercial buildings to large infrastructure projects the industry is very reliant on business-to-business cooperation but it's also having to cope with an amazing amount of new regulations so how is it navigating its way through that new landscape and working with regulators in this evermore joined-up world I've come to the institution of civil engineers in London where Paul Wilkinson is Deputy Chair of the Information Systems panel he's also a member of the management team at construction opportunities for mobile IT and an authority on the use of construction collaboration technology it is interesting we're sitting in one of the grandest buildings I've ever been in really you know marble columns wood paneling surrounding us now and yet we're talking about an industry really which is trying to tackle with a whole different sort of infrastructure how ready is it you think to accept that new technology and those opportunities the levels of preparedness vary there are certain larger organisations almost household names in terms of contractors and designers who are well down that road the government in the UK on when it put its bim program forward set a mandate a target date of April 2016 by which most of its centrally PQ livered using BIM so for those firms which were heavily involved in public sector projects that set them a target most of them have achieved that but that still leaves a large number of other projects which sit outside centrally procure projects for whom small companies are often engaged and they're still at the very start of their bim journey one of the other great things I think of this new digital age is that we've been used to thinking as nations this is what you do in the UK do you have a view really on how globally with me this new challenge the BIM mandate that we saw in the UK in 2016 there was a similar one in Denmark in 2013 so the Nordic countries were pushing forward with their digital adoption and we're seeing digital adoption digital transformation beginning to take place in other markets in Australasia in the Middle East across Europe North America and so on how consistent to those international regulations I think we're seeing a more consistency happening simply because we've got multinationals working around the world they don't want to work and have data about their built assets stored in different formats subject to different legislation so we're seeing more and more portability of data one of the organizations involved in industry is a is a body called building smart and they're talking about data dictionaries so that we've got consistent ways in which we define the data define the technologies and define the terms that we use to to relate the data and systems to each other what about Health and Safety construction is still a dangerous job it's a dangerous industry I think in the UK there were some 35 deaths in 2014 2015 do you think this new approach to digital data will help reduce the danger of this industry the development of British standards now include what we call pass 11 92 part 6 passes publicly available specification it's the building block of an international standard covering the use of structured data covering health and safety so identifying risks early on and then mitigating or eliminating no risks as far as possible so that the not only kind of building be safely constructed but also it can be safely maintained and operated and ultimately perhaps but safe also safely dismantled and recycled for global companies like Balfour Beatty meeting international regulations is a vital part of their operations isn't there an inherent tension in your business that on the one hand you want to have a system that runs across not just this country runs it internationally and yet all the regulations in the different markets you work in will be completely different and demand different things from you and those two things just cannot be reconciled I think we're quite fortunate of the Balfour Beatty over the last couple of years as consolidated operations so fundamentally now we operate in the UK the US and Hongkong and I think from that perspective if you look at those three countries the legislation is priced similar so in many ways what we trial of prey in Balfour Beatty is we look at what is the optimum operating model across those countries and apply that consistently because having a standard operating procedure is much better for the organization so in other words you meet the highest standard even where it's not needed because that's good for people it's good for the business systems I think it is simplest terms the answer is yes do you therefore see regulation as a hindrance to technological development is it something you've just got to get over what is it perhaps help technological development from a balfour beatty perspective we probably not the instigators of technology he's often brought to us and by the time that he's brought to us people have already thought about the impact of regulations so our challenge really is how do we take the new innovation and execute it as quickly as possible so we get the return on investment and we get the benefit in the organization the construction industry is very highly regulated it's got lots of safety laws and they're different in different parts of the world how does a product like this fit in with that microsoft hololens is is a Windows 10 computer which means that everywhere that Windows is certified for use in environment Holland's also is let's take the construction sector as an example it's a dirty environment work it's dangerous there's lots of heavy equipment a lot of guys with big thumbs which aren't particularly delicate and yet yours is a sort of rather sculptured white piece of technology might not be a great environment if on another space that has really surprised us and we've we've tried to react to and help with as quickly as we can which is a lot of these scenarios are coming up for first-line workers who do work in relatively unpredictable environments maybe dusty dirty they need to be using their hands all the time and they're wearing gloves they're holding tools and so we've received feedback and we heard a lot we want to use hololens but we need to wear protective eyewear and we need to wear hard hats what we've done in the past few months is we've achieved certification for Hollande's to be used as protective eyewear for impact safety in both North American and European markets so what this means now is that these companies can enable their first line workers to wear Hollande's not need to wear separate protective eyewear the same goes for IP 50 certification for dust environments and then we're also currently in production on hardhat accessories so that workers can use hardhat along with Holland's go about their work the construction sector already provides regulators with a wide range of challenges and digital transformation is really just part of that but it's already changing the way we think design and indeed build some of our major constructions after the break we'll be looking at some of the new innovations on the horizon the construction sector is undergoing a radical digital transformation with disruptive technologies affecting every aspect of the business the centralization of project data called Building Information modelling is a recent development and new methods of 3d visualisation like microsoft's hololens are helping forge the wear head this is early days and the development of this technology but have you already seen surprising changes in what it's able to do and what people want from it so one great example is this this remote assistance functionality so early on we we did this demo internally at Microsoft is showing how look you can use this to change a light switch you can use this to learn electrical wiring we pause and thought that's interesting like but that scenario doesn't come up that often you know we've been completely blown away by how pervasive this scenario is of remote expert assistance anytime someone is out in the field doing something challenging they're fixing they're repairing they're dealing with a complex piece of machinery they can call an expert the expert can look through their eyes using the Holland's and they can see exactly what they're working on and then they can draw into their real world from any screen anywhere in the world because the Holland's understands what's in front of it and then is it's an expert's drawing on the screen say hey no no no don't change that wire select that one it appears in the field serviceworkers real world right on the real object they're working with and so they're able to solve problems in minutes that would have taken hours or even days to resolve and this is coming up across every industry construction manufacturing repair field service work across all industries and across all countries for international companies like Balfour Beatty dealing with the future impacted on new technologies requires strategic long-term planning we've set a couple of goals for ourselves as an organization so we have an aspiration of 25% reduction in labor on sites in terms of productivity by 2025 and that's through digital technologies largely digital technology so he's doing things smarter it's starting to think about right at the outset of a build how you plan it so using BIM to drive the build the logistics looking at what the client actually wants is a finish point so you understand in the outset so there's less variation and then also starting to look at the total cost of the actual model of operating the building after we've completed it Val for BT are naturally keen to keep pace with changes to chart the uncertain waters ahead Loraine Bardeen of Microsoft sees the technology on offer as revolutionary technology companies have a vested interest in hyping up the latest products you do that as every other technology company does that what evidence do you think there is that this truly will transform not just the way we work but the way we interact with people our lives our society to me the the clearest evidence is every single time we figure out a way to make computing more personal that's going to be a step up in the transformative potential of technology this is the first time that a computer looks at the world from your point of view and that is going to be another huge leap in what computing can do to transform people's real lives if we got together ten years time we talked about this do you think we would look back on on this conversation on and these years as really some of the most instrumental in the modern digital revolution yes I think that is an answer which speaks volumes I'm not sitting here today saying that balfour beatty can clearly see to the future we recently they put a paper out that talks about how we see innovation in 2050 in our arena and I think infrastructure is going to fundamentally change the way you see a project today you know is quite labor-intensive people still see you know muddy boots and hard hats in the future we think that robotics will play a big part we see drones making decisions we think information modeling will be in place 3d printing and people will be more operating the building site from a control center elsewhere that is quite a massive change but don't you think that technology was it offers lots of opportunities it can actually make people at your job harder with more information available you've got to decide which information is fundamental to help you make the right decisions so it is very much about getting the core information forward and for different clients that'll mean different things they'll have very different objectives for us one of our core tenants of Technology is making sure people are safe and you know we can use technology to a great degree to make sure that the safety on our sides is better people wearing you know a uniform that tells us about their well-being but also tells us about their fatigue during the day on on a work site there's lots of opportunities I think for us to use the technology in different ways some of these are quite early in the infancy but I do see them growing and growing as we move forward for Paul Wilkinson the future of the construction industry raises concerns not just about building but also society at large you know we need to be investing in the digital skills of the future the end the construction engineer the construction worker of the future we need to be thinking a much more joined-up way about the end use of the assets it's not just about delivering a building it's about how it's going to be operated and maintained for maybe 30 40 50 a hundred years more or more beyond that some of our bigger built infrastructure they're being designed for a hundred and fifty year operating periods and you know we need to be anticipating what the future needs of transport users for educationists doctors all of the welfare services that use infrastructure that we need to be thinking about that those areas and investing in the skills and investing in the technologies to support the use of data the use of technology the modern construction industry has sometimes been rather slow at introducing new methods and work practices but keeping pace with digital technology has become key to the industry of thinking the hope is that new technologies will cut the cost of major construction projects and enable them to be completed faster and more safely and for the design and construction companies turning that hope into an economic reality will remain a huge but fascinating challenge for years to come IOT powering the digital economy brought to you by Schneider Electric

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