The Top 3 Technologies That Will Impact AEC in 2018

The AEC industry can expect immense advancement in 2018, thanks to burgeoning technology. The prevalence of cloud computing and internet of things (IoT), the constant advancements in artificial intelligence, and the emergence of successful virtual reality (VR) software serve as pillars of innovation and growth that will be valuable to the AEC industry moving forward.

Connected BIM

“Connected BIM” is the product of a combination of Building Information Modeling (BIM), cloud computing, and IoT. The ubiquity of cloud and mobile technologies will enable workers to utilize connected BIM and usher in an era of collaboration that the AEC industry hasn’t seen before.

The dilemma with using paper to portray building models is that the drawings immediately become outdated; connected BIM allows mobile technology to manage drawings by updating them continuously in real time and tracking the entire project’s life cycle in the cloud. In addition, connected BIM will positively impact construction projects, managing risk with greater efficiency and much higher quality by capturing data and analyzing it to optimize projects in the future.


IoT and connected BIM go hand-in-hand, as the combination of the two allows project managers to understand where workers are spending their time, how workers are using machines, and the progress on material delivery and installation.This information is captured and recorded in the cloud, and permits the analysis of trend identification and which methodologies are effective or ineffective.

This technology impacts stakeholders’ knowledge of each project tremendously through the different information being logged: the monitoring of temperature, humidity, pressure, dust particulates, VOC levels, excessive noise, smoke; the prevention of damaged property, freezing temperatures, product failures, loss of pressure; the reduction of paperwork, fire outbreaks, claims, water leaks, mold growth; and the documentation of site conditions, problematic events, and sensor data.

Overall, the integration of IoT with connected BIM helps inform maintenance decisions, supports efficient and adaptive operations, and influences future design and process improvements.

The prominent trend of improvements in artificial intelligence has produced a branch of methodology that will heavily impact AEC in 2018: adaptive learning. Adaptive learning modifies content in real time as the “student” attempts to learn and master different skills and concepts.The software can determine if someone is a novice, proficient, or an expert, and also has the ability to recommend specific training programs to enhance the student’s skillsets.
This technology is relevant to AEC professionals who haven’t transitioned from paper to BIM and 3D modeling, or those who have an insufficient understanding of a certain tool or program. With adaptive learning, for example, people learning Revit have access to algorithms that interpret what they need to learn next, what they need improvement in, and what they know the best.

Virtual Reality

The emergence of affordable and high-quality virtual reality software within the past few years will start to trickle down into the AEC industry come 2018. As mentioned earlier, connected BIM will enable more collaboration between AEC workers, but another perk is that it presents opportunities to incorporate VR. VR is a natural extension of connected BIM, and would allow designers and workers to convey any ideas or concepts as a spatial experience in a virtual reality environment. It will allow team members to explain what they want changed in a more concise manner, avoiding any confusion or time wasted explaining over phone calls or email.

VR is a great method to demonstrate how to accomplish a custom and very specific design for a construction drawing; overall it strengthens communication by making things faster, easier, and more efficient. It is the ideal visualization and collaboration tool that accommodates architects’ daily routines, while supporting design review, critique, consultation, and task sharing.

As ClearEdge 3D’s VP of product management Kelly Cone said: “Now anybody can build a 3D model, slap on a VR headset, occupy that space, and understand those spatial relationships in a way that’s extremely high fidelity compared to what it will really feel like.” VR can undoubtedly impact the AEC industry in the most beneficial of ways heading into 2018.

Connected BIM, IoT, and virtual reality will be at the forefront of impacting BIM in 2018. Companies and owners who are willing to embrace these technologies can anticipate more efficient and effective methods of completing their work, and thrive in the AEC space.