How the construction industry got “smart” and cleaned up its impact

Construction accounts for 11% of the world’s carbon emissions — meaning it contributes almost as much to climate change as the world’s cars and trucks.

Meanwhile, inefficient legacy practices and human error lead to construction project delays and increased emissions, and with construction activity only set to pick up from here, this spells continued trouble for our environment.

Fortunately, companies are fielding new digital “smart” construction technologies that leverage artificial intelligence and data analytics — and these technologies promise to change the way the construction industry works, making it cleaner, greener, and more climate-friendly.

Smart construction solutions are taking the media spotlight

These smart construction innovators include the US-based Skycatch, a company that developed enterprise-grade technology that captures, processes, and analyses high accuracy 3D drone data. This data gives construction companies a “cheat code” to accurately plan and track their projects in ways they couldn’t before.

Skycatch founder and CEO Christian Sanz appeared last month on “Climatic,” a YouTube series from the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) venture arm ADB Ventures that focuses on the entrepreneurs working to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and make the Asia Pacific region more resilient to climate change.

Sanz introduced Skycatch’s core technologies, including the “vision engine” that collects raw 2D images and photos from drones and turns them into highly precise and automated 3D digital terrain models of construction sites, as well as Skycatch’s analytics engine that compiles and processes data for clients.

Also read: AWS Activate power boosts startups through agile and efficient cloud infrastructure — and free credits

These 3D models and data insights allow clients to complete construction and mining operations more quickly, resulting in decreased emissions.

“I was completely shocked when I first started getting involved in construction in the early days of Skycatch, in 2013, and realised how much of a construction project is doing a redesign of something that was done poorly or done the wrong way,” Sanz said, referencing projects derailed by costly human errors.

“If we can reduce [even] one day of construction,” Sanz added, “not only does it make an impact in the environment and reduce CO2, but it also makes the whole process more efficient.”

Daniel Hersson, Senior Fund Manager of ADB Ventures, which made an equity investment in Skycatch in March 2021, was also a guest on Climatic. Hersson said ADB Ventures was especially interested in the transition towards digitalising infrastructure, as well as the ability to capture the real world in a very detailed digital model. “That in itself can significantly improve how we develop construction sites and reduce inefficiencies in group activities.”

The game-changing efficiencies drone technologies bring to construction projects

Thomas Abell, Chief of Digital Technology for Development at the Asian Development Bank, described the ADB’s use of Skycatch tech last year to construct a new port for the Pacific island of Nauru.

“Skycatch basically brings the data right into our hands on our computer so any ADB staff can go into the database on any day of the construction and look at what’s happening,” Abell said. “They can compare stockpiles of materials, they can look at where construction components are being laid down compared to the design, and they can look at the progress compared to the timeline.”

Also read: ASEAN’s first smart shopping cart technology is transforming the offline shopping experience

Ricky Togashi is Head of Innovation at Japanese construction giant Komatsu, which has gone all-in on smart construction technologies. Togashi said his company has created project visualisation and optimisation tools to alleviate worker on-site safety issues and make up for labour shortages, which he said are two “huge problems” now facing the construction industry.

Komatsu partnered with Skycatch in 2018 and deployed its drone solutions on construction sites around the world. Skycatch’s aerial survey capabilities, as Togashi told it, had unlocked seemingly exponential efficiencies for construction projects.

One “just has to push a button,” Togashi explained, to send up a drone to complete a highly accurate 3D survey of construction in “ten to fifteen minutes.” By contrast, Togashi said that it could take human survey teams “three days or one week” to perform a tedious manual survey of the same area, and their survey would likely include errors.

But there’s more to smart construction than AI-powered drones

Still other construction startups are offering technologies that reimagine all phases of the construction process.

The Finnish company Caidio appeared on an episode of Climatic called “Startup Showdown” and pitched its AI-powered “concrete intelligence” solution to a panel of judges. . the

Two other startups pitched on the show: viAct, a startup from Hong Kong, demonstrated a computer vision solution that increases safety and reduces delays on construction sites, and WaveScan, a Singapore-based deep-tech company that built a see-through scanner technology used for high-resolution structural inspections on construction sites.

Daniel Hersson of ADB Ventures was also a panellist on the Showdown and remarked that “these are three really exciting companies… trying to transform a very conservative industry and one that has a very significant climatic impact.”

The startups’ solutions yielded praise from other panellists, including Hara Wang Head of Investments and Fund Partnerships at Third Derivative who highlighted Caidio’s efforts to reduce emissions on construction operations in its initial market of China. Meanwhile, Juan Nieto of CEMEX Ventures said he would work with “no other” company than viAct to optimise CEMEX’s Philippines operations.

APAC VCs are betting big on a “smart” future for construction

Smart construction companies like Skycatch are getting more than publicity — they’re also attracting abundant financing on their mission to clean up their industry’s dirty impact.

According to a McKinsey report, investments in construction tech have continued to grow briskly, with VC activity rising to several billion dollars at the end of 2019 from lower levels a decade ago. And the pandemic has sped the proliferation of these solutions, which can provide workarounds to lockdown-induced labour shortages.

Daniel Hersson spoke to e27 about his fund’s investments in smart construction solutions: “We realised that these modern tech solutions backed by powerful entrepreneurs if applied at scale in a region like Asia could not only help expedite growth in the construction industry but would also help the environment.”

Also read: AppWorks partners with e27 to help startups build investor network

And Hara Wang said she believes now is the time to invest in technology that can decarbonise the Asia Pacific.

“The construction sector, just like any traditional sector is going through, really, a period of digital transformation right now, Wang said, “I think there’s a really big opportunity here for startups to innovate and help the building and construction sector to better understand and monitor the performance of the construction and infrastructure projects, particularly under the increasing heat, humidity, and flood risk that comes with climate change.”

Wang added that she was also “excited to explore the potentials of achieving net-zero through a combination of prefabricated components, 3D printing and recycled building materials.”

Continued VC support of the industry is a crucial step toward reducing construction’s carbon footprint – and it could very well completely change the way our buildings and infrastructure are built.

Watch the Climatic “Smart Construction” Talk Show here.

– –

Photo by Mikael Blomkvist from Pexels

– –

This article is produced by the e27 team, sponsored by ADB Ventures

We can share your story at e27, too. Engage the Southeast Asian tech ecosystem by bringing your story to the world. Visit us at e27.co/advertise to get started.

The post How the construction industry got “smart” and cleaned up its impact appeared first on e27.

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Construction accounts for 11% of the world’s carbon emissions — meaning it contributes almost as much to climate change as the world’s cars and trucks.

Meanwhile, inefficient legacy practices and human error lead to construction project delays and increased emissions, and with construction activity only set to pick up from here, this spells continued trouble for our environment.

Fortunately, companies are fielding new digital “smart” construction technologies that leverage artificial intelligence and data analytics — and these technologies promise to change the way the construction industry works, making it cleaner, greener, and more climate-friendly.

Smart construction solutions are taking the media spotlight

These smart construction innovators include the US-based Skycatch, a company that developed enterprise-grade technology that captures, processes, and analyses high accuracy 3D drone data. This data gives construction companies a “cheat code” to accurately plan and track their projects in ways they couldn’t before.

Skycatch founder and CEO Christian Sanz appeared last month on “Climatic,” a YouTube series from the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) venture arm ADB Ventures that focuses on the entrepreneurs working to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and make the Asia Pacific region more resilient to climate change.

Sanz introduced Skycatch’s core technologies, including the “vision engine” that collects raw 2D images and photos from drones and turns them into highly precise and automated 3D digital terrain models of construction sites, as well as Skycatch’s analytics engine that compiles and processes data for clients.

Also read: AWS Activate power boosts startups through agile and efficient cloud infrastructure — and free credits

These 3D models and data insights allow clients to complete construction and mining operations more quickly, resulting in decreased emissions.

“I was completely shocked when I first started getting involved in construction in the early days of Skycatch, in 2013, and realised how much of a construction project is doing a redesign of something that was done poorly or done the wrong way,” Sanz said, referencing projects derailed by costly human errors.

“If we can reduce [even] one day of construction,” Sanz added, “not only does it make an impact in the environment and reduce CO2, but it also makes the whole process more efficient.”

Daniel Hersson, Senior Fund Manager of ADB Ventures, which made an equity investment in Skycatch in March 2021, was also a guest on Climatic. Hersson said ADB Ventures was especially interested in the transition towards digitalising infrastructure, as well as the ability to capture the real world in a very detailed digital model. “That in itself can significantly improve how we develop construction sites and reduce inefficiencies in group activities.”

The game-changing efficiencies drone technologies bring to construction projects

Thomas Abell, Chief of Digital Technology for Development at the Asian Development Bank, described the ADB’s use of Skycatch tech last year to construct a new port for the Pacific island of Nauru.

“Skycatch basically brings the data right into our hands on our computer so any ADB staff can go into the database on any day of the construction and look at what’s happening,” Abell said. “They can compare stockpiles of materials, they can look at where construction components are being laid down compared to the design, and they can look at the progress compared to the timeline.”

Also read: ASEAN’s first smart shopping cart technology is transforming the offline shopping experience

Ricky Togashi is Head of Innovation at Japanese construction giant Komatsu, which has gone all-in on smart construction technologies. Togashi said his company has created project visualisation and optimisation tools to alleviate worker on-site safety issues and make up for labour shortages, which he said are two “huge problems” now facing the construction industry.

Komatsu partnered with Skycatch in 2018 and deployed its drone solutions on construction sites around the world. Skycatch’s aerial survey capabilities, as Togashi told it, had unlocked seemingly exponential efficiencies for construction projects.

One “just has to push a button,” Togashi explained, to send up a drone to complete a highly accurate 3D survey of construction in “ten to fifteen minutes.” By contrast, Togashi said that it could take human survey teams “three days or one week” to perform a tedious manual survey of the same area, and their survey would likely include errors.

But there’s more to smart construction than AI-powered drones

Still other construction startups are offering technologies that reimagine all phases of the construction process.

The Finnish company Caidio appeared on an episode of Climatic called “Startup Showdown” and pitched its AI-powered “concrete intelligence” solution to a panel of judges. . the

Two other startups pitched on the show: viAct, a startup from Hong Kong, demonstrated a computer vision solution that increases safety and reduces delays on construction sites, and WaveScan, a Singapore-based deep-tech company that built a see-through scanner technology used for high-resolution structural inspections on construction sites.

Daniel Hersson of ADB Ventures was also a panellist on the Showdown and remarked that “these are three really exciting companies… trying to transform a very conservative industry and one that has a very significant climatic impact.”

The startups’ solutions yielded praise from other panellists, including Hara Wang Head of Investments and Fund Partnerships at Third Derivative who highlighted Caidio’s efforts to reduce emissions on construction operations in its initial market of China. Meanwhile, Juan Nieto of CEMEX Ventures said he would work with “no other” company than viAct to optimise CEMEX’s Philippines operations.

APAC VCs are betting big on a “smart” future for construction

Smart construction companies like Skycatch are getting more than publicity — they’re also attracting abundant financing on their mission to clean up their industry’s dirty impact.

According to a McKinsey report, investments in construction tech have continued to grow briskly, with VC activity rising to several billion dollars at the end of 2019 from lower levels a decade ago. And the pandemic has sped the proliferation of these solutions, which can provide workarounds to lockdown-induced labour shortages.

Daniel Hersson spoke to e27 about his fund’s investments in smart construction solutions: “We realised that these modern tech solutions backed by powerful entrepreneurs if applied at scale in a region like Asia could not only help expedite growth in the construction industry but would also help the environment.”

Also read: AppWorks partners with e27 to help startups build investor network

And Hara Wang said she believes now is the time to invest in technology that can decarbonise the Asia Pacific.

“The construction sector, just like any traditional sector is going through, really, a period of digital transformation right now, Wang said, “I think there’s a really big opportunity here for startups to innovate and help the building and construction sector to better understand and monitor the performance of the construction and infrastructure projects, particularly under the increasing heat, humidity, and flood risk that comes with climate change.”

Wang added that she was also “excited to explore the potentials of achieving net-zero through a combination of prefabricated components, 3D printing and recycled building materials.”

Continued VC support of the industry is a crucial step toward reducing construction’s carbon footprint – and it could very well completely change the way our buildings and infrastructure are built.

Watch the Climatic “Smart Construction” Talk Show here.

– –

Photo by Mikael Blomkvist from Pexels

– –

This article is produced by the e27 team, sponsored by ADB Ventures

We can share your story at e27, too. Engage the Southeast Asian tech ecosystem by bringing your story to the world. Visit us at e27.co/advertise to get started.

The post How the construction industry got “smart” and cleaned up its impact appeared first on e27.

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