Industry 4.0 in Construction: 4 Technologies Driving the Paradigm Shift
Last month we spoke to you about the key theories behind the Industry 4.0 automation trend, and this month we will take a closer look at the technologies making it happen in construction. The advanced platforms offered by RIB utilise the following technologies, all of which we anticipate will play important roles in the future of our industry.
GPU Accelerated Computing
The advent of powerful Graphics Processing Units was an important step in the growth of iTWO and will continue to be influential in the development of Industry 4.0.
GPUs date back to 1999 when computing company Nvidia released GeForce 256, a specialised electronic circuit that could accelerate image creation in a frame buffer for output. Since then, virtualised GPUs have brought graphics to cloud computing, eventually leading to support for advanced computing programs that are fully cloud-based. We spoke about Moore’s Law of Exponential Growth in last month’s post, which demonstrates the rate at which processing power grows with every passing year. This growth of GPU power will continue to support RIB going forward, allowing us to run our software seamlessly in the cloud and on multiple devices via apps and browsers.
Misconceptions are abound when it comes to AI. Many believe that the technology is only capable of performing repetitive jobs, while others are concerned about the long-term implications of developing AI. In reality, both of these concerns are unfounded.
Artificial Intelligence generally performs better when fed more information, which is one of the reasons why companies today should be viewing data as an invaluable asset. At RIB, we place particular importance on data models and their ability to capture, transact, analyse and farm data within iTWO 4.0 and MTWO. The more diversified this knowledge is, the better. In construction, this means everything from financial data and simulations to actual progress and field data is stored.
Cloud Computing and the Internet of Things
Cloud solutions have been rapidly implemented in construction in recent years, due to the clear efficiency and collaboration benefits. The cloud is a reliable, scalable and cost-effective model for managing, storing and processing data. The Internet of Things can be defined as a network of physical devices that are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators and connectivity. Internet-enabled devices allow us to connect and exchange data like never before, creating a range of opportunities for the construction industry. Contractors and project managers can access repositories of data with ease, allowing them to double-check measurements and costs when on-site. This information can be helpful throughout the construction lifecycle, from visualisation during the planning phase or as a point of reference when inspecting work completed by contractors.
It’s not just on-site that cloud technology is valuable. Engineers, contractors, surveyors, architects and any other important stakeholder can stay connected in real-time thanks to the cloud. New programs that improve information transfer are always hitting the market; managers can control document delivery to ensure that everyone involved in a project only gets the information they need.
Sensor technology has become considerably more affordable in the past decade – combined with AI advances, robotics is now on the rise in construction. We are now even seeing robots with problem solving capabilities deployed as field surveyors.
Due to this price drop, robotics will become a scalable option for the construction industry. We can expect to see autonomous drones for logistics and Androids/3D printers in manufacturing sectors. RIB is heavily involved in the robotics space, having developed software that supports the operation of pre-fabrication factories for concrete and other elements. This software controls the robots and the factory floor, allowing for smart analysis to identify bottlenecks and simulate constant optimisations.
Experience Industry 4.0 with RIB
All of the above elements play an important role in MTWO, our subscription-based joint-offering with Microsoft. MTWO deploys our core iTWO product with advanced Microsoft Azure infrastructure. iTWO 4.0 is offered for private cloud customers and is often utilised by major companies who have their own data centres and complex ERP structures.
To learn more about either platform, don’t hesitate to contact our team online. Australian customers can reach us on 1300 653 420, while New Zealand customers can call 0800 003 265.