Technology vectors in the changing landscape of disruptive technologies.


Technology vectors in the changing landscape of disruptive technologies

Organisations today face unprecedented levels of change. Businesses must grapple with enormous amounts of data, manage an influx of new technologies and negotiate increasingly complex operating environments. It takes time, focus and considerable resources – so, where do you even start?

This guide covers 120 key technologies across the architecture, engineering and construction industry. Categorised into six clusters, technology is put into context by exploring its global maturity and the scale of which it has been applied.

About this guide

All change has a rate and a direction. To make informed decisions, organisations need to understand how fast change is coming, and from what direction. Only then can businesses act appropriately.

One of the biggest drivers of change in any human system is that of technology. Understanding technology, how to use it and when to adopt the next emerging variant is critical to the success of organisations across all sectors and industries.

New technologies and applications emerge every day, and usage is incredibly varied. What is commonplace within one industry may be a new concept in another, and as a technology matures the ways it is used may change.

So how can we distinguish between hype and utility? Every week there are new flashy announcements about the latest breakthrough, or a new type of artificial intelligence. What is really vital is to identify which technology matters in a certain context, and then wrap the right process around it to ensure it delivers on the promised benefits.

This report describes a range of technologies that are relevant to the AEC sector. It explores a wide range of technologies, from the commonly used, through to scientific concepts and opportunities that are just beginning to scale. It presents a new framework viewed through Delta Maps, designed to understand and navigate technology trends.

We hope this approach helps you make more informed decisions about how and when to respond to technologies as they become relevant to designing, building and managing the built environment and infrastructure.

Using this guide

This guide cuts through the time taken to identify and understand key disruptive technologies and provides a means of clearly positioning them in the landscape.

The term “positioning” here is key.

We anticipate there will be those who challenge our selection and placement. This we encourage.

Fundamentally, we hope this publication helps you and your colleagues to have informed, more realistic conversations about technologies and their place in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.

The framework: Aurecon’s Delta Map

Delta Maps allow us to understand the position of each technology in the digital landscape, to identify blind spots and to anticipate change. They provide a viewpoint through which technology can be considered according to its current and anticipated use and value.

To make Delta Maps, we consider and organise technologies according to two dimensions:

  • The Evolution characteristics of a technology. This dimension captures the effort, risk and capital required to use the technology globally.
  • The Application of a technology to an industry. This dimension explores the depth that the technology has been applied to an industry at scale.

Moving an opportunity across the map relies on both a shift in Evolution, and a change in Application. These components together denote the individual direction and magnitude of the dynamic trend which we label as the Technology Vector.

Layering strategic frameworks on Aurecon’s Delta Maps allows us to diagnose if and how a technology can be implemented, breaking down the noise and hype that often surrounds new trends, innovations and developments.

Technology Vector Graph

Exploring key technology clusters

The report applies Delta Maps to each of these six technology clusters, and identifies the key trends within each.

The first group explores data, and its pathways from generation through to understanding. Included are technologies necessary for capturing quality data, those involved in data management and communication, and finally technologies required for interpretation and viewing of resulting insights:

  • Data Capture and Monitoring
  • Information Management and Communication
  • Task Automation, Computation and Analytics

The second group looks at the opportunities unearthed by streamlined data pathways. It includes the new technologies that allow us to perform tasks in novel and exciting ways, those that facilitate better insights and analytics, technologies that drive autonomous systems, explore new materials and open up manufacturing methods, as well as technologies that allow us to create better practice for sustainable energy and resource use:

  • Mobility and Autonomous Technologies
  • Materials and Manufacturing
  • Energy and Resource Management

Exploration and Opportunities

Exploration and Opportunities

Five drivers of change for technology

When assessing technologies for their impacts, potential and progress, it is often too easy to just examine the hardware and software in isolation. Consequently, we advocate that it is increasingly important to consider the system and context, within which that technology exists.

We have identified five key drivers of change that when decisions are made on technology should be considered:

  • Climate change and decarbonisation
  • Environment and a circular economy
  • Equity and social outcomes
  • Ethics of technology use and development
  • Global contextual consideration of technology

Technology does not exist without context. While itself a key driver of change, it interacts with, is influenced by, and influences other drivers of change on a macro scale. These interactions are changing how technologies are being created and diffused through economies and societies.

How Aurecon can help you navigate your digital future?

In a world that is increasingly complex, interconnected, and fast-paced, intersecting trends such as the rapid advances in technology, shifts in societal values and the growing imperative to protect our world through decarbonisation and sustainable approaches mean that organisations are operating in highly dynamic and uncertain environments. Industry boundaries are blurring, traditional definitions of organisations are changing and time-honoured theories of business are being challenged.

Aurecon’s Innovation team work to ensure that us, our clients, and our partners can better navigate uncertainty, anticipate change and take well-consider action.

Learn more about us

About the Authors

Aaron Belbasis is Aurecon's Futures Technology Lead focusing on two main areas: the development of technology strategies for Aurecon's markets and service lines, and the development of R&D partnerships and programs. An internationally recognised innovator in both Engineering Research and Design, Aaron joined Aurecon in early 2017, bringing with him a diverse multi-disciplinary background with experience in computational design, aerospace engineering and biomedical product design.

Noriko Wynn leads Futures Research in Aurecon’s Digital Futures Team, focusing on systematically and methodically understanding patterns of change and uncertainty to identify opportunities for new innovation, products and services. Noriko is a strategic foresight specialist and experienced facilitator with a background in economic development, digital strategy and public policy.

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