Processes involved in the AEC industry are necessarily complex, as these workflows must handle vast projects overseeing the near-term creation and long-term management of physical structures comprising enormous sophistication. At the same time, economic and social pressures are pushing AEC firms to utilize ever faster, less costly, and more sustainable materials and methodologies to remain relevant and competitive in the marketplace.
With these factors influencing the direction of the AEC industry, new paradigms have emerged to cope with the increased challenges and burdens, including the leveraging of innovative information technologies to better use the AEC industry’s Building Information Modeling (BIM) standards.
Cloud-based applications are naturally optimal for modern AEC workflows. AEC teams are often geographically spread far apart, often internationally, with construction teams at different physical sites, and management teams located at various office buildings. Cloud applications can easily be accessed by multiple users at distributed locations, during varying times, with everyone on the same project working seamlessly with the same AEC datasets. Digital Twin technology, for example, provides virtual replicas of buildings, on Cloud platforms, with unprecedented levels of detail and accuracy, enabling architects and engineers to better coordinate, reduce site visits, simulate processes, troubleshoot, and reduce costs. Cloud-based Object Storage also delivers an easier and faster alternative to handling of the AEC industry’s enormous and complex BIM data and other files, empowering teams to more efficiently collaborate. Another advantage is in Disaster Recovery, where Cloud services help AEC firms quickly recover from catastrophic interruptions (whether from natural disasters, human error, criminals, or other reasons), minimizing costly delays to construction projects.
A high performance, highly available network infrastructure is vital for supporting innovative AEC cloud applications, in addition to serving traditional ICT resources including storage, databases, teleconferencing, and others. Yet the implementation and management of such large enterprise networks can be very complicated. To save time and money, AEC companies ought to consider outsourcing the design of networks optimized for cloud-based workflows, as opposed to self-managing a comparable solution using traditional bare-metal servers. For this reason, managed network solutions from service providers are optimal, and AEC companies can focus on their core business tasks instead of tackling technical overhead.
Because all project information, documentation and sensitive data are handled electronically, including Digital Twin streaming data, and even heating and air conditioning controls and security systems, a modern AEC infrastructure must also be strongly protected with comprehensive network security solutions. To mitigate vulnerabilities from cyberattacks and other potential interruptions and data losses, it is important for AEC firms to seek out and implement effective information security measures that sufficiently protect their networks and data assets.
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