Outlining the acceleration and disruption of technology, Sunny Ghataurah, President of AES Engineering, offered a compelling presentation at NAIOP’s October breakfast meeting. With the belief that “If you don’t understand technology, you will be replaced by it,'' Ghataurah shared impressive tech-related advancements in a variety of industries. Below is a brief recap of the key messages from Ghataurah’s presentation including the speed of growth in tech, industry-specific tech advancements, and the tech advancements specific to building and infrastructure.
The Pace of Tech
Technology, previously thought to double every two years (a feature known as Moore’s Law), is as it exists today considered to be the 4th industrial revolution. Using timely examples, while explaining the differences between linear and exponential growth, Ghataurah shared that the current tech growth estimates say the industry doubles every six months, and, in some cases, doubling in only a matter of weeks. Where linear growth is predictable, exponential growth seems predictable, but then, without notice, industries are radically revolutionized overnight.
As an example, Ghataurah shared how Uber previously known for upsetting the ground transportation industry, is quickly (and perhaps unpredictably) going head-to-head with companies like GM in the driverless car space. Additionally, Uber announced in early January its plan to provide an on-demand aerial taxi service known as Uber Air. Now, Uber is racing head-to-head with Boeing in an effort to launch the first-ever flying cars.
Touching on only a few of the endless revolutionary developments, Ghataurah explained how tech is impacting industries like health care, agriculture, and retail. Healthcare, as an example, is just beginning to see the emergence of nanotechnology, a process that uses nanoparticles to deliver, detect and treat specific cells. Agriculture, as another example, is quickly embracing vertical growth, providing opportunities in challenging climates, and requiring (in some cases) only one-tenth of the space previously necessary. In retail, Amazon is beginning to toy with anticipatory shipping, where they’ll ship an item anticipating, in advance, you’re likely to purchase it.
Technology for Building and Infrastructure
Allowing builders to see their projects before they exist, or offering the ability to document every step of the construction process are only some of the ways new software platforms aim to increase efficiency while providing real-time problem-solving opportunities. HoloBuilder, a technology and software platform, aims to document construction site progress. Working to reduce photo documentation time, eliminate the need for regular site visits, and ultimately reducing labour costs, Holobuilder provides 360-degree photo capture covering every phase of a project’s life cycle. Microsoft’s HoloLens, on the other hand, places holographic images in a user’s physical environment. The software provides construction teams and architects with the chance to explore design flaws before they exist in real life.
The Bottom Line
Though Ghataurah acknowledges likely job loss, he also sees an inverse correlation between labour hours and required manpower. Where, historically, fewer people were required to complete a task with more time, now, (and moving forward) more people will be required but for less time. Moving forward, Ghataurah feels, “it’s crucial to understand what work is changing and what jobs are changing.”