Last edited 23 Jun 2020

5G is Paving the Way for AI and Big Data Technologies in Construction

Though Covid-19 has slowed construction, contractors located in Beijing have taken advantage of the recession to employ 5G, paving the way for AI and Big data technologies.

Introduction:

Covid-19 has caused undeniable economic damage to the manufacturing sector, though construction’s essential nature has shielded it from immediate recession, the global impact of manufacturing cannot be forgotten. According to S&P Global Ratings, global economy growth is down by 1-1.5%. With a shortage of contactors and raw materials, supply chains have begun to lull in production, hitting construction hard and accruing a 20% revenue reduction.

The Status Quo:

The construction industry is the least digitized sector in the world. And, according to MGI’s digitization index, construction remains one of the least advanced sectors in the world.

With limitations set out by the CDC, conventional daily operations become significantly more challenging.

Javier Parada, a partner in the Construction and Infrastructure industry group of the Audit & Assurance Division of Deloitte, writes in his analysis,

Construction leaders will be defined by what they do along the three dimensions of managing a crisis: Respond, Recover and Thrive. Some key steps include:

Prepare for increased liquidation and renegotiation of contracts.

Work on restructuring to weather the storm.

Adjust your strategy to the new normal of much smaller markets in some countries.

Consider if the crisis can be used as a catalyst to rethink how work is done and to accelerate adoption of digital capabilities.”

A more granular approach will now be taken with respect to the last of Parada’s steps the acceleration of adoption of digital capabilities. Covid-19 may be a catalyst for expanded 5G adoption and integration.

New technological Developments:

A total of 40 contractors located in Beijing have begun utilizing 5G base stations for construction. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology expects more than 600,000 5G base stations nationwide by the end of the year. With the new technology of 5G comes increased speed and digitization. 5G boasts possible speeds of 10 gigabytes per second and nearly absent latency. With faster data speeds come a safer, more reliable connection.

The integration of 5G has already begun to cultivate results, as construction operations have been employing AI Glasses that allow stream-lined communication between overseers and workers. AI could see further development in the construction sector. The new technology opens the door to upcoming innovation, including robotics, real-time monitoring, and blockchain. According to Zheng Yu, chief data scientist of Jingdong Digital Technology Group,

"We must connect 5G, big data, etc. with the digital economy, build a city-level data center, and realize the digitization of various industries."

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