As one might expect in a STEM-heavy industry, AEC is full of technology tools designed to make it easier to design, build, and manage the built environment.
So full, in fact, that it can be hard to keep up with the latest solutions on the market. That’s why we asked 10 built world experts to share three technology tools they rely on every day. From the cutting edge to the tried-and-true, comb through this list for expert recommendations to improve your workflow.
1. Barry Clark, Robotics
My laptop is my overall favorite tool. After that, I really like Python which is a fun, easy-to-use prototyping language. Then, Google docs and Google sheets, because the ability to edit the same document asynchronously is incredibly powerful. It sounds simple, but that’s one of the more powerful tools I use.
2. Bill Speleotes, Construction
Right now, Primavera and Constructware for project management. ProCorp for reviewing and redistributing designs and documents.
3. Cliff Moser, Architecture
My camera, for photographing as-built conditions. BlueBeam for grabbing information from files and turning a photo into a PDF. And Google Maps!
4. John Taylor, Network Dynamics
By far, my iPhone. If you could see it, I’ve modified the case with duct tape so it has everything: Credit card, house keys, ID. If I lose this, I’m done for. Dropbox — accessing my files in a pinch from anywhere is really handy. Third, the automation features of my car. For a decade, by choice I had no car. Moving to Atlanta a year ago, I bought one with all the new features, and it’s amazing how helpful it is to have lane change warnings and backup sensors.
5. Eric Hall, Sensors
Nest cameras are ultra sweet. I carry a FLIR infrared camera on my body all the time. With it, you can go into spaces and see shorted wires glow in infrared. It’s teaching me things i never thought of before and it fits in my shirt pocket. Finally, drones, for ease of use and gaining a different point of view. It’s all about perspective.
6. Luther Lampkin, BIM
Mostly BIM tech tools from Revit to ReCap Navisworks. And GoToMeeting because I’m working with a lot of clients so I use GTM to see what they’re doing on their computers for support.
7. Hans Ehrnrooth, Growth Strategy
The smartphone is one I use every day. I use technology in the new cars. And an automatic espresso maker. I’m a big coffee drinker.
8. Steve Hagan, Public Sector
I use SketchUp for 3D modeling. And probably a whole bunch of Google tools: Google drive, the calendar, and Gmail.
9. James Norris, Construction Scheduling
Microsoft Teams for organizing my team and myself — it allows us to collaborate in real-time. An internal project-health dashboard so I can make sure we’re solving the right problems. And Spotify!
10. Randy Deutsch
That’s one of the great ironies. My family members snicker that I found a way to pay my mortgage by becoming one of the world’s foremost experts of digital technologies without actually using them. I’d love to be able to tell you it’s a visual programming tool like Grasshopper, but it isn’t. I am literally using a yellow legal pad, and a pen. Seriously, I can do anything with those two things. Maybe it’s the imagination that’s the actual tool, as opposed to the paper. So: Paper, pen, and my imagination.