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April 16, 2020

Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Jobsite

AIBlogArtificial intelligence has become a major buzzword in the technology field, and rapidly deployed in industries that have minimal physical labor requirements. For instance, AI is behind many of the popular internet search engines to drive more accurate search results, and the finance industry is deploying it to assist with charting trends and behaviors in investment markets.

It was only natural that at some point, other industries begin looking at AI, and not just for tasks without a physical labor component. Obviously, it’s begun to enter consumers’ lives on a broad scale as some new cars incorporate AI-driven features that allow the vehicle to control itself for limited spells. But again, this didn’t necessarily impact industries with a high level of manual labor.

As you can deduct, the construction industry is one such environment where AI-enabled technology could pay major dividends. Automation in general is seen as increasingly useful in construction on the project management side, especially as new cloud-enabled software has helped project teams automate key responsibilities on the jobsite, such as processing invoices and digital record keeping. With the resulting gains in productivity and accuracy, automation has been a win-win for project teams and clients alike.

And now, as start-up companies and other innovators begin to influence the construction industry with cutting-edge solutions that leverage AI to a higher degree, it’s of little surprise to see fully autonomous solutions deployed on a much larger scale. Let’s take a look at the AI technologies that are already delivering a big impact on the modern jobsite.

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

AI guidance systems have begun to take hold in the field, with applications already in deployment that can control heavy-duty construction machinery like bulldozers. The goal is to allow these machines to operate autonomously, similar to how self-driving cars rely on sensors to drive without direct human intervention. However, as opposed to a feature reserved for luxury car buyers, the use of AI in construction is being utilized to address the worker shortfalls affecting the industry.

By leveraging artificial intelligence, contractors can reduce the dependency on human workers for manual, labor-intensive tasks, thus freeing them up to tackle work that requires more specialized skills. In effect, AI not only addresses the worker shortfall, but also keeps workers functioning at a higher level while cutting the costs associated with performing manual labor.

The use of AI and robotics in tandem is a significant force on the future jobsite, not only on the labor side but also for the productivity gains it promises. For instance, robots can continue to operate when human workers typically end work for the day, such as overnight, and work longer shifts without the same risk to personal and community safety. The advantages posed by AI are obvious, but it doesn’t end with self-driving heavy equipment working the overnight shift.

Think about how many contractors still use equipment that may be several years old. Bulldozers, excavators and the like aren’t typically replaced every time a new model comes out. Many contracting businesses pride themselves on keeping older equipment running well for years after the initial purchase. Cutting-edge artificial intelligence tools can breathe new life into existing fleets by integrating AI technology that turns operator-driven machines into smart, autonomous vehicles capable of mapping the landscape around them. In the same way, cloud-based project management software can transform project teams into data-infused units equipped with the tools to make decisions that yield better results.

Smarter Tools, Today

As technology companies look to bring AI into all layers of the jobsite, it’s important to remember that contractors don’t need to make large-scale investments into emerging technologies to enjoy the benefits that they promise. New cloud-based collaboration tools can extrapolate mountains of data that can inform every decision a project team makes, all while integrating with budgeting, modeling, and estimating software to provide a big-picture view that wasn’t possible just a few years ago.

Contact Us for a Demonstration

AI and autonomous machines will continue to impact the jobsite of the future. But if your teams need smart technologies that can improve project performance in the short term, contact us today for a virtual demonstration of Sage Intacct for Construction.

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