The many ways in which technology has changed the approach AEC professionals can take to a given task or project is a theme that we’ve explored, but the people at BIMStorm are tackling the issue in far more complete manner. Their BIMStorm AEC Game Changers series is taking an in-depth look at how various advancements in technology are impacting the Design and Building industry and dramatically altering the way everyone lives and works.
Their upcoming webinar is titled: “BIM for Life: Total Cost of Ownership”. It will be focused on the disruptive changes AEC professionals are dealing with to help them reconsider how they can and should tackle certain problems and issues. To get a sense of what’s going to be shared and showcased during the webinar, we caught up with Kimon Onuma, creator of BIMStorm and the ONUMA System. We talked about some of the technologies that have created disruption, how professionals can ensure they’re not being negatively disrupted by new technology and plenty more.
You can sign up for the webinar here.
Jeremiah Karpowicz: Have the technology changes that are disputing the AEC industry made more of an impact on a technical level or on a conceptual one? That is to say, are these disruptions more about using a new/updated tool, or are they about needing to adopt a completely new approach?
Kimon Onuma: A better hammer is still just a hunk of steel until it is placed in the hands of a person ready to do work with it. Implementing technology is always going to be about adopting new approaches because ultimately the tools do not work alone, but need to be used by people. The users need to understand how to properly apply the new tools to improve their everyday workflows. BIMStorm brings the people and tools together to challenge and create faster disruptions for AEC.
Can you give us an example of a new technology that changed a methodology which had been in place for decades?
One of the starkest examples we have been talking about in BIMStorm is the rise of the smartphone. The smartphone is actually a confluence of numerous technologies that place a tremendous amount of information and capabilities in the palm of your hand. But from those technologies, it has changed the way we can communicate, work and interact with each other because it is successful at taking industry data standards, and making the entire universe of information available at your disposal. The next disruption is to bring smartphone type of functionality to the AEC industry.
What kind of challenges have you seen professionals run into when the wrong decisions are made early in the planning process? How can they impact the entire project?
We talk about this a lot in BIMStorm. This is the difference between an “Agile” process or a “Waterfall” process. Traditionally, many organizations use the waterfall approach. That is, they try to plan out and solve all anticipated problems and issues before they start a project. When new issues crop up, as they always do, they start all over again from the beginning. The newer, agile approach assumes not all will be known at the start of a project to even define completely the problem statement. Through a series of develop “sprints”, the team is in a constant cycle of developing and evaluating where they are. This mitigates the challenge of running into unexpected wrong decisions at any point in the process and course correct as efficiently as possible.
Is there a certain approach or mindset that professionals should consider in order to ensure they’re not being negatively disrupted by these kinds of changes to the technology?
Many highly trained and intelligent professionals seem susceptible to the notion, “oh that will never happen…” attitude when it comes to new processes and workflows. It is not too long ago (20 years or so) if someone said we are going to organize all of the world’s information and make it useable, people would not even understand what that meant. Today, people Google for information many times a day without really even considering the amount of planning this took. If those same dubious people were asked if it is possible to have a “magic” search box in a computer to search for info, they probably would say this would never happen.
Most of these issues are going to be more fully explored in your upcoming webinar. What else are you looking to explore during the event, and what sort of person is going to get the most out of attending it?
We have found in our BIMStorms, many people who say “I have always run into a similar problem, but I thought I was the only one…” It seems industry problems can become so entrenched that people just accept it as a given, even though in the back of their minds they wonder if there isn’t a better way to work. For any of those people, BIMStorm would be worth looking into. There are also some very forward looking scenarios that are bringing together game changing innovations in where the AEC industry is going. We do not limit who can participate. The main thing is to jump in. The best way to learn how to ride a bike… is jump on a bike, a BIMStorm bike in this case.
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