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Digital Technology Connects Building: Advance Intelligence

Huawei Connect 2019 attracts elites from the globe with its theme “Advance Intelligence”. They discuss how to follow the trend and grasp new opportunities to create the intelligent future. At the conference, Glodon Co., Ltd., the representative of Internet high-tech enterprises signs a cooperative partner agreement on platform components with Huawei Horizon Digital Platform.

The editorial department of New Construction Periodical picks and sorts the opinions of the big names in the industry about digital transform of construction.

Digital technology advances in construction

Each of us is familiar with construction. 93 % of human life is spent in buildings on average. They accompany the development of humans. Humans never stop their pursuit of good life during different times in various places. The construction industry has enormous potential and a positive prospect as buildings are the best carrier of human pursuit. The application of digital technology in construction has an infinite potential. The transition from traditional buildings to digital building is a revolution instead of subversion.

The transform towards digitization is a challenge as well as opportunity. The digital transform of construction enterprises is coming with digital technology matures gradually instead of being driven by national strategies alone and the construction industry requires transform while others gain experience from their successful transform. Digital technology is a strong impetus for the industry transform and upgrades. Digital building will help the industry to build a brand new ecological system by enabling every construction project to succeed. Precision in construction should reach industrial grades. Construction materials, crafts and procedures, production factors, management process and related parties will appear in the form of digital twins. In the end of a project, two buildings are delivered: the physical and cyber ones. The new digitized production line will be established through digital building for the whole industry, changing and expanding each stage in construction projects throughout the whole life cycle of buildings. A virtual and digital construction process will develop as a derivative of the physical construction. The operation and maintenance of physical buildings will contain both virtual and physical processes. The digitized construction will bring about fundamental changes whose essence is the change of productivity and production relations. New production relations will appear because digital building twins create new connecting interfaces, nodes and collaborative relations between all related parties and their cooperative partners along the industry chain. Interactive methods for work, transactions and construction are no longer limited by physical space and time. Increased connecting interfaces and nodes create new production relations and biosphere.

Invaluable digitization in construction

With the complementary cooperation between Glodon and Huawei Horizon, Huawei has deepened its development in construction. Huawei Cloud provides brand new digital basis for Smart Construction Site, i.e. the governance, computation and modeling according to data and a series of smart apps taking strength of AI for different scenarios so that we can improve efficiency of works and the ability of making decisions. With the solid foundation laid by data, construction should aim at improving procedures, decision making and competence. The two parties cooperate in the digitized management of construction for five aspects, labor, equipment, materials, methods and environment.

First, digitization of labor means the digitization of employee management, such as the real-name system for construction workers introduced around China since last March. The system registers the basic information of workers, records their attendance on construction sites and payrolls and so on. With the data, enterprises can make sure that the staff on site can work more efficiently and safely and avoid holdups or malicious demands for extra salaries. Second, equipment will be managed in a digital way. Most of equipment on construction sites can be managed digitally by being connected to IoT devices. For instance, the devices can monitor how many times tower times cranes are used and the load weight at each time. The equipment management can be carried out by taking consideration of the actual progress on construction sites. Such camera surveillance will be a key application scenario for visual analytics technologies. It will also become an important source of data because all info about construction sites can be obtained from images and streaming media. The third part is the digitized management of materials. The cost of materials takes up approximately 50% of that for a whole building. Therefore the more precisely materials are managed, the less costs will incur in construction works. For example, through floor scales, active infrared detectors, camera surveillance, automatic identification of vehicle registration plates, scanners, exclusion of invalid invoices and intelligent surveillance of cheating behaviors, a digital system for material management can eliminate human errors, monitor and warn of risks and patch up flaws in management. Materials will be managed and controlled thoroughly when they are transported into and out of construction sites. Such a system can save at least 10 million RMB for construction enterprises for each project on average. The forth part is the management of crafts and methods. They are the unique experience and precious wealth of the construction industry. Most of them are only stored in the brains of the old generation of crafters. By the digital means, they can be saved to guide young workers on site. For instance, they can scan QR codes to watch videos that show methods for complex nodes with 3D models. The values of the crafts and methods can be maximized. The last aspect is the management of the environment for construction. Users can connect all types of hard devices on site into the platform of Smart Construction Site via IoT to apply technology intelligently such as automatic data collection and remote hardware control. For example, sprayers will be opened automatically to remove dust in the air if the platform senses that the air pollutants exceeds the limiting values on site. The construction site will be intelligent in all aspects with more and more hardware connected.

By managing all elements digitally on construction sites, we can manage precisely from three perspectives, i.e. manage the quality and progress of each worker, device and task in real time.

Blockchains guarantees data security of buildings

Information islands are likely to form during the informatization of construction enterprises. Firstly, without the unified planning, technologies such as informatization, BIM and Smart Construction Site are just introduced in the business departments instead of blended with them. Secondly, the management does not pay enough attention to data and still makes decisions based on their previous experience and subjective experience. Lastly, some construction enterprises are shortsighted for every investment on informatization because they consider it as a cost instead of investment and expect to make returns on money invested quickly. Therefore, the investment on informatization by the whole industry is quite limited.  

Because a lot of work in construction is related to humans and the judicial system, construction companies have to prove themselves innocent in their management of some business for related authorities. We need to make sure that it is safe and reliable to store data from all systems. We use consortium-blockchain-based Huawei Blockchain Service (BCS), so we need to connect to various types of blockchains. For instance, our connection with public blockchains ensures the reliability of evidence from the IT system. Being vital infrastructure among IT devices in future, the key feature of blockchains is decentralization. Decentralization cannot be done by a single company or individual. To run such a platform for informatization, each person from the sector with interest for that is needed.

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