Five ways concrete is changing – Concrete Technology
If the recent trends in the construction industry are anything to go by, concrete technology is witnessing advancements like never before. It’s expected to help the construction industry in many ways, with some of the most biggest advantages being faster completion of projects and a whole new lot of design options to choose from.
Speeding up the drying process
Moisture-related issues during the drying process of the concrete are gradually becoming a thing of the past. Several new materials now help make the process considerably faster, reducing the chances of excess moisture that tends to lead to delays and losses.
One such material is Aridus, which is believed to be the first ever ready-mix concrete solution. It comes with the ability to prevent floor covering failures that are so commonly caused by moisture-related problems.
Similarly, another highly innovative way being used to speed up driving of concrete is polyaspartic coatings. They actually come with multiple benefits, as beside being versatile enough to be applied in both high-humidity conditions and low temperatures (under 50°F) to speed up the drying, they also make the concrete more durable by protecting it from damaging agents such as ultraviolet light, abrasions and chemical spills.
The use of Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF), too, has turned out to be a major step towards innovation for the construction industry. They form a permanent part of the structure, being at least 2 inches on both sides of the wall.
As far as the types are concerned, the two main basic ones are blocks and planks. They are usually made of polystyrene.
One of the most important way in which they help builders is by allowing them to place concrete on the wall at any time of the year, regardless of the weather. Similarly, they also enhance the overall durability of the structure and makes it more energy efficient.
There’s actually also another similar insulation technique, that allows for a fully insulated structure with the use of thermal insulation systems. The polystyrene foams are added within the walls before placing the concrete. Then, once the concrete is placed and cured, they are removed, leading to full insulation of the structure.
Concrete Made Using Recycled Materials
Another notable innovation when it comes to concrete technology is the use of concrete that’s made using recycled materials. It’s not only environment-friendly, but also suits your budget better.
Furthermore, it’s also believed to come with an improved performance, which means it can certainly be a better option overall, too. As a matter of fact, it was one of the materials used while building the One World Trade Center in New York.
Concrete Made Using Hemp-based Products
While perhaps not as big an innovation as most other ones listed on here, it can definitely turn out to be just as useful for some specific projects. Concrete made using hemp and hemp-based products is lightweight, and comes with many important features such as breathability, better insulation and more.
While the drying times may vary, many suppliers offer it in a pre-dried form too.
Without going into much details for this one, let us simply mention that it’s another innovative type of concrete that comes with thousands of optical fiber strands. They not only give it a design appeal, but also make it a considerably better option for dark sidewalks and subway stations.
Read the December 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine
BT and Microsoft unveil strategic partnership
BT and Microsoft have launched a strategic partnership to accelerate innovation across enterprise voice, cyber security and industry-focused services in sectors from digital manufacturing to health.
BT has already been named one of the first development partners for Microsoft Operator Connect and Operator Connect Conferencing. The renewed agreement will allow BT to build on this relationship and offer its own branded global managed voice services directly through Microsoft Teams, with an approach that further enhances customer experience and creates new opportunities for growth.
The strategic partnership will build on BT’s existing portfolio of cyber security services built on Microsoft technology. It will see the companies push forward with the design and launch of a new generation of managed security services to enable and protect the modern collaborative workplace. BT will work closely with Microsoft to develop distinct security propositions to defend customers’ operations across the cloud as well as its own IT estate.
Sustainability and collaboration on digital skills are integral to the partnership. BT and Microsoft will work together on further enhancing sustainability credentials within their supply chains and join forces on promoting digital skills in the communities.
“BT and Microsoft are at the forefront of innovation in global digital platforms and connectivity that will take technology and communication beyond limits,” said Bas Burger, CEO of Global at BT and executive sponsor of BT’s partnership with Microsoft. “This partnership will ensure all of Microsoft’s solutions work ‘Best on BT’ and support both companies’ commitments to improving digital skills in the community.”
Omar Abbosh, corporate vice president of industry solutions at Microsoft, said: “BT can use Microsoft’s cutting-edge tools to develop new communications services that meet the needs and demands of today’s customers. By aligning our visions for communication, connectivity, security and digital technology, Microsoft and BT will support real growth for businesses across the world.”
Microsoft's vision is to transform construction and built environment businesses with design innovation, a supply chain you can control, and a connected, safer, more productive workforce.
Microsoft recently unveiled strong results for the quarter ending June 30:
- Revenue totalled $46.2 billion, up 21%
- Operating income was $19.1 billion, up 42%
- Net income was $16.5 billion, up 47%
- Diluted earnings per share was $2.17, up 49%
For the year, revenues totalled $168.1 billion (up 18%), operating income hit $69.9 billion (up 32%), net income was $61.3 billion GAAP and $60.7 billion non-GAAP, and increased 38% and 37%, respectively.
“We are innovating across the technology stack to help organizations drive new levels of tech intensity across their business,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Our results show that when we execute well and meet customers’ needs in differentiated ways in large and growing markets, we generate growth, as we’ve seen in our commercial cloud – and in new franchises we’ve built, including gaming, security, and LinkedIn, all of which surpassed $10 billion in annual revenue over the past three years.”
In a trading update last month, BT reported profit after tax £2m, down £446m, due to a "one-off tax charge in the quarter to reflect the remeasurement of deferred tax balances following the enactment of the new UK corporation tax rate of 25% from April 2023".