Long long ago…….in a galaxy not so far away, years before Star Wars there was THX1138. A vision of an apocalyptic future where the public spend on a human life was 10,000 dollars…brought to you by a much younger George Lucas. Workers were bred, genetically selected and housed in compounds…breeding was controlled. It’s funny how a lot of Sci-Fi films don’t predict a happy future for the human race, but i guess Nirvana wouldn’t sell as well at the box office!
I’ve always loved science fiction…comics…geeky weird stuff…remember the original Star Trek and Thunderbirds? The former having a forerunner of the iPad, this was the 60’s and the latter having the 60’s equivalent of the google watch or similar for instance.
For decades, centuries even, people have dreamed way ahead of scientific achievement, Jules Verne, HG Wells, Asimov, Bear, and so on.
But now its a little different.
The technological curve has caught up, and now if you can think of something, there is a good chance that someone somewhere in the world is already doing it. Strange but true?
Which brings us to the construction industry. At this point we’re back to earth with a thud!
The industry has always had a love hate relationship with change and innovation. It is like we’re a rocket trying to reach escape velocity from gravity……lots and lots of power required to achieve breakthrough…..to what?
A digitally enabled and connected smarter industry that’s always on, enabling the transformation of the places where we live and work.
The UK BIM programme is now well embedded, and for most who are actually doing this stuff, then there is an air of inevitably about transformation across the industry. Now it is more a question of when.
For quite a while I’ve continued to challenge about the length of the curvy tail we’re dealing with. Two years on now and we have to question the depth of penetration of this stuff into an industry of 2 million people, nearer 3 on an economic upturn. The recent discussion about the #UKBIMCREW hashtag provoked a lively debate, and a little bit of heart searching – we all want the same thing…
Undoubtedly we will get there, the 2016 target will be reached, depending how you look at it and the #BIMelite will argue over how the targets are defined sounding more like Cameron and Milliband at PMQTs!
However I now wonder whether there will be a game changer that jogs us along a bit.
Google’s entry into the AEC industry should make people sit up. I think Microsoft might be involved with one of the TSB consortia?
What we’re seeing is simply the digitisation of an industry. We are the last in the long line including petrochem, manufacturing, music, visual arts, gaming, aerospace, and so on.
Indeed our whole lives are going digital. Just walk down any street, on the tube , on the train, in the car, anywhere, how many people are peering into little screens or jogging along with their headphones on? I often do a head count around me and usually there are more involved in a digital transaction than not. We’re becoming more mobile, more connected, more digital everyday. Just check out your own footprint. Soon you won’t need to leave your armchair!
So in the face of all this, why would the construction industry be the last bastion of reactionary Luddites? We know who you are! There is a digital tidal wave coming right your way, just for you!
Extinction or survival
The entry of information specialists into our territory ought to make you think.
Firstly its all about the data baby! Construction is no different. Secondly they’re not afraid to innovate, take the risk, ride the roller coaster of exploration. They know it yields untold benefits. In addition, perhaps most importantly they don’t carry our cultural baggage, they ‘re just not interested – period. So they will bring new ways of working, new efficiencies, new ways of looking at life in the AEC environment.
Mene mene tekel upharsin
The writing is indeed on the wall, and maybe somebody like Google could spice things up a bit. If you’re not on the #BIMtrain yet, then I have a feeling the train may have just left the station…
a difgital future – apocalyptyc……..