The words digital, innovation, technology, and now AI is beginning to appear within the language of the many engineering and construction companies. Certainly, there's an aspiration to be more forward-looking, also as future-gazing—this is strictly how we should always be behaving like an industry. However, we are still considered at the embryonic stage, and this new path is fraught with dead ends, troughs of disillusionment, and dare I say it, failures. We have a bent to still have learned to celebrate failure, and intrinsically overlook the learnings and opportunities they carry.
As an industry that likes the comfort of tried and tested, we forget that we've innovated over the years, still as having adopted and adapted new technologies over the decades. One might call it evolution, but we do ourselves a disservice—we have developed new materials, applied new engineering processes, improved efficiencies while reducing waste and rising safety—themes that are still very relevant today. Though our industry rarely makes original mistakes, we do learn, which we are ready to build incredible structures, safely dig huge tunnels under cities among a myriad of obstacles with millimeter accuracy. Can we innovate? In fact, we do—we simply don't quote it or understand we do it!
However, as an industry, our maturity remains either very siloed or behind once introducing these sorts of technologies to the trade. to mention that we are tech-shy may be a name. As an industry, we have got modified considerably over the years, and still do so. Most engineering corporations are currently well entrenched in digital technology.
To name some examples:
• laser scanning also as a measuring instrument
• using mobile computing for red-lining, snags, and reporting has become more and more traditional
• The adoption and introduction of BIM and its standards
• Digital authoring tools, now with the combined opportunities that UAVs and satellite data can bring
• AI and machinery are permitting exaggerated efficiency or lowering personnel risk.