Many trends that you come across as a consumer can also influence the work of installers, modelers and advisors. But how will this look like? Nothing is certain, but these are the trends we can expect in 2017.
Virtual Reality (VR) is at the verge of making a breakthrough at a professional level. An interesting variation of this is Mixed Reality. Take the Microsoft Hololens for example: glasses which merge one's real surroundings with virtual images, holograms. This allows you to experience virtual reality in your own living room, at your desk, at work or outside at the construction site. During the SUM (Stabicad User Meeting) we demonstrated a number of possible applications in order to see what could be viable in the installation sector. We showed, for example, a 3D-model of a plant room, a 3D-model of a Remeha-cascade setup, generated from real product data, and we revealed how this technology could be of use with a product in operation. As holograms can be scaled to size and are full of information, they provide tremendous insights into various scenarios.
Another trend is prefab. Construction sites are becoming ever smaller, well-trained workers scarcer and safety requirements stricter. Prefab increases the predictability, consistency and repeatability, and helps installers to work more efficiently. Installers can code prefab sets according to personal wishes and benefit from the fact that increasingly more processes are being automated, such as the generation of prefab sheets and the placing of tags. What's more, thanks to good BIM libraries such as MEPcontent, engineers can rest assured that the content is always checked by the manufacturer and that it contains all the up-to-date information necessary for the (ordering) process, such as article numbers and prices. This ensures for a smooth flow of information, from design and ordering to assembly at the workshop.
Shrinking budgets mean that BIM engineers have to design in a smart and efficient manner. Good software is necessary for this. But different projects require different functionalities in your software, and flexibility is becoming ever more important here as well. The ‘on-demand’ model such as the system we use at home for Netflix will increasingly penetrate the world of design software. Software, updates and support are included in a monthly payment, and consequently can be adjusted precisely to meet your needs. Specific design tools, available as ‘apps’, will appear evermore frequently. The functionality that you need at that moment, and quickly installed within your project. Advantage: you pay only when you need the app and not for all sorts of packages. In this way, installers are able to deliver the flexibility required of the market, without incurring excessive costs.
4. Internet of Things
In the installation sector we hear more and more about IoT (Internet of Things): everyday objects that are connected to the Internet. IoT is a highly promising technology for the installation sector as sensors are already present in many systems. The next logical step is to connect all these sensors to the Internet. As soon as the data is online it can be stored in databases and monitored by applications. A good example is the new start-up Augury. The Augury system makes use of data from vibration and ultrasonic sensors in HVAC equipment. It compares real-time data with previous data from the same device, as well as data collected from similar machines. The platform can detect the smallest of changes and provides a warning in the event of failures. This analysis occurs in real-time, and the results are sent to your smartphone within a matter of a few seconds.
Architects, installers and advisors often use different platforms that do not always synchronise well with one another. The result of this is that there is no single source that provides an integrated, real-time picture of design, costs and materials. The result: disappointing performance. 5D-BIM incorporates the costs and necessary materials in your design. 5D-BIM is a five-dimensional display of the physical and functional properties of a project. It adds two properties to 3D-BIM: costs and materials. In addition to the standard design parameters, details such as geometrics, aesthetics and thermal and acoustic properties are now incorporated in a project. This allows engineers in an early stage to see how a decision affects the costs of a design.
Data is king
The combination of these trends offers many possibilities for the entire construction chain. There is one major 'but': all chain partners will have to embrace BIM technologies in order to benefit from the advantages provided by BIM. What's more, from design to implementation use will have to be made of correct, uniform data and standards. One thing is clear from these trends: in 2017 data is king.