Human society is essentially a collection of people living and collaborating together. For this to happen, structures are needed for living and working. Now, as 5G technology rolls out across the world, it is radically transforming the design and construction of the structures people use, especially within the context of next-generation Smart Cities.
One of the key enabling factors 5G offers to the architecture and construction industry is the unprecedented new ways for diverse teams to collaborate in real-time, alongside other connected resources such as IoT devices.
5G’s ultra-low latency and high bandwidth capacity means building design information can be easily shared among teams, whether they are in the architect studio, or at the construction site. Prior to 5G, access to off-site data was not always reliable or speedy, even if customized Wi-Fi equipment was deployed on-site. In fact, construction workers would need to spend many hours for design plans to be downloaded and synchronized whenever there are changes. Designers in the back office would also not easily gain access to the latest on-the-ground situation at the construction site. These delays and potentials for miscommunication greatly impacted the productivity of everyone working on a particular development project, and sometimes teams even avoided communication because it was so troublesome.
With 5G capabilities, the ability to optimize Building Information Modeling (BIM) performance opens up new paradigms for architectural design. Now, architects can utilize powerful computing platforms, including cloud services, to render building designs in Virtual Reality (VR) and observe the structures using VR headsets. These can also be easily shared with construction workers, so everyone can provide feedback in a much more timely, convenient, and accurate manner.
While VR can be used during the design phase, Augmented Reality (AR) headsets supported by 5G can assist construction crew to accurately visualize design details at the construction site, providing important technical details in a heads-up format projected into the real world. Such AR headsets also help off-site experts, such as the studio designers, to view the construction site environment and more efficiently collaborate to resolve issues as the construction project proceeds. These are the same benefits offered by CITIC Telecom CPC’s award-winning DataHOUSE™ AR Remote Hand. The AR-based data center operations and maintenance solution enables field engineers across multiple locations to overcome the challenges of multiple languages and skillsets in multi-technology environments; as well as to manage installation and maintenance issues more efficiently and cost-effectively.
In addition to supporting more dynamic and effective collaborative decision-making, 5G also enables new functionality at construction sites. The low network latency will make possible remote control of construction machinery, including “digital twins” of complex machinery controlled by off-site operators.
5G’s high network speed also means devices in the field can be more lightweight, depending on powerful computational hardware at the backend to do the “heavy lifting” while end-user devices at the design studio or construction site can simply access these powerful distributed systems via 5G, over the network and to cloud services.
This Edge Computing paradigm can also support a wide range of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to enhance the construction site, including wearable devices. Smart hardhats and body sensors on construction vests can help management teams more efficiently track the location and condition of construction crew. Device intelligence can alert wearers if they are approaching hazardous areas (such as extreme heat, lack of oxygen, unusual vibration or radiation), or if there are any construction anomalies on the worksite.
Additionally, IoT sensors can be embedded into the construction project itself, to track status. For example, embedded IoT devices can measure whether concrete has been properly poured, even when the concrete has become set and fixed, and whether any unintended movement is occurring. When the entire project has been completed, property management teams can continue to monitor the status of the entire building. This real-time information is crucial to ensure structural integrity, and is not possible without 5G and IoT.
As can be seen, 5G opens up many new opportunities to enhance the entire workflow of the architecture and construction industry, from creating and modifying blueprints, to tracking the progress and even finished results of construction projects. Yet, as with all mission-critical business information, a reliable and responsive network infrastructure must be in place to operate alongside 5G, connecting all the devices, applications, data and cloud platforms. Network security must also sufficiently protect the valuable BIM data, and other crucial digital assets.
CITIC Telecom CPC addresses all these needs with highly scalable tailored ICT solutions, comprising TrueCONNECT™ private network solutions, TrustCSI™ managed information security solutions, DataHOUSE™ cloud data center solutions, and SmartCLOUD™ cloud computing solutions with disaster recovery capabilities, helping every smart industry accelerate digital transformation in the 5G+ era. Contact us to learn more.
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