Jun 1, 2020

The future of construction and AEC for a post-COVID-19 world

Architecture
Engineering
Construction Technology
recruitment
Dan Weatherley
3 min
The future of construction and AEC for a post-COVID-19 world
We look at some predictions of where the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry will be after the coronavirus pandemic

The construct...

We look at some predictions of where the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry will be after the coronavirus pandemic

The construction industry is set to embrace remote working both in the short term and in the long term in order to help reduce costs in addition to the interest of workers’ health and safety. COVID-19 has highlighted that a lot of the work which is done in the sector can be done remotely with ease. Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have made team meetings much easier. Many engineers, architects, technologists, and project management personnel have been working from home during the duration of the pandemic and it is expected that some will remain working at home for the next 12-18 months. It is definitely something that will stick around in the long term - and this isn’t limited to just the construction industry, either.

Recruitment is also set to change. With many more jobs set to be hosted on professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn and popular job searching sites such as Indeed. It’s very likely that, once COVID-19 passes, many people will be looking for work and the adoption of websites like LinkedIn for job posting will enable a much more efficient recruitment process.

The impact on the AEC industry has taken a massive hit in comparison to some other industries. This is primarily due to the fact that construction is a practical industry and as construction sites across the world have had to close, a much smaller number of employees have remained at work. In addition to this, many employees have been laid off and some companies are having their employees working hourly from home when project work does become available. 

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Challenges in the industry continue to bombard the industry left, right and centre therefore companies continue the fight against the effects on the virus. Furthermore, labour rates have gone up considerably thanks to the implementation of new health and safety procedures to help fight off the virus.

Although on-site work has been stopped or severely reduced due to lockdowns in numerous countries around the world, many functions in the AEC industry such as architecture, engineering and project management can still continue relatively undisturbed. New technologies are also being embraced which is helping limit the impact caused by the current pandemic.

The pandemic could see a brighter future for cutting-edge technology in the industry such as drone tech, communication tools, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), building information modelling (BIM) and much more. These technologies actively encourage health and safety in the industry whilst helping employees meet social distancing requirements. These technologies are set to stay and develop further long after COVID-19 vanishes.

Finally, when looking at the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 on the AEC industry, the current trends such as remote working, adoption of the latest technology and increased health and safety procedures all look like they are here to stay. The construction site of the future is set to be almost fully automated with the use of robots and drones. Furthermore, engineers and architects will be, for the most part, replaced with advanced software that can handle most of the design production.

For more information on the construction industry, including the latest insights from some of the industry’s most respected companies from across the world, read our free magazines.

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Jun 14, 2021

XYZ Reality receives £20m to develop Assisted Reality

AugmentedReality
construction
DigitalTransformation
Technology
Dominic Ellis
3 min
XYZ Reality to use funding led by Octopus Ventures to springboard into USA and automatically report issues through Assisted Reality

XYZ Reality has announced a £20m investment round led by Octopus Ventures.

Founded in 2017, XYZ Reality aims to "revolutionise" the construction sector with its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality (AR) solution, Holosite.

Designed to enable an on time and on budget delivery of construction projects, by eliminating building errors, HoloSite has been available to select customers through an early access programme and has already been used on projects totalling a value of over £1.5bn in the last year. 

With approximately 98% of construction megaprojects facing cost overruns or delays and 7-11% of project costs being spent on correcting errors, XYZ Reality’s purpose-built integrated AR solution directly addresses these issues.

With its safety certified AR hardhat, cloud platform and in-built proprietary software, Holosite accurately positions high fidelity 3D design models on construction sites, enabling teams to build it right, first time. The technology system has been used on complex construction projects including data centres, pharmaceutical facilities and airports.     

This funding will be used to accelerate the company’s ambition of transforming projects by preparing for HoloSite’s commercial launch in the USA and continuing investment in strengthening research and development. The company is also growing its London team to include key hires across technology, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

David Mitchell, Founder and CEO of XYZ Reality, said developing its engineering-Grade AR solution helping construction teams identify errors in real-time is just the start.

"The next phase is Assisted Reality, where our spatial computing technology will have the intelligence to automatically detect and report issues in the field. And ultimately, the goal is builders building from holograms. Our vision of developing world changing products aligns with Octopus Ventures’ mission of investing in companies that are powering the next industrial revolution. We look forward to building history.”

The latest round of funding is led by Octopus Ventures, one of the largest and most active venture investors in Europe, known for its commitment of investing in companies and founders that are changing the world. Octopus Ventures has a strong track record, spanning investment in health, fintech, consumer, B2B software, and deep tech. This includes WaveOptics, one of Octopus Ventures’ early investments in Augmented Reality, which was recently acquired by Snap Inc. 

Rebecca Hunt, early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures, said: "We’ve always invested in entrepreneurs leading industry change and XYZ is doing just that. It's solving a massive problem that costs the construction industry billions every year, using its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality solution to spearhead a shift in the sector’s approach. The founding team of David, Umar and Murray have deep domain and technical expertise, which we believe makes XYZ uniquely placed to drive this transformation.”

XYZ Reality also announces a new partnership with Mace, for the construction of a hyper-scale data centre in Europe. With speed to market being particularly essential for mission critical builds, HoloSite’s AR technology will have a significant role in supporting an accurate and time effective build for Mace, which last week appointed Jon McElroy its new Managing Director for International Technology.  

Mace Technical Director, Stephen Henley, said: “Mace has built a reputation of redefining the boundaries of ambition, always bringing efficiency, innovation and responsibility to our projects. With the implementation of XYZ’s groundbreaking AR system, we continue to be committed to delivering projects faster, safer and better than ever before.” 

Five years ago, Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs Research expected virtual and augmented reality to become an $80 billion market by 2025.

But according to new research by global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, nearly 28 million augmented and mixed reality smart glasses will ship in 2026, while the total global AR/MR market will surpass $175 billion in the same year.

"Major tech players across hardware, software, and services look familiar in the consumer space, contributing to strong and consistent overall growth," says Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director for ABI Research. "Those big tech names, with active investment and product ranging from already available, to announced, to all-but-announced, are creating a consumer AR market that will be dynamic and welcoming rather than struggling and immature."

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