Artificial Intelligence, or AI as it is known across the globe, serves currently as a tool that assists in day-to-day operations in many an industry. The advancements of the likes of ChatGPT and DALL·E 2 has resulted in the constant questioning of ‘what comes next’?
The built environment is one such industry that will benefit from the evolution of AI. From basic image creation to company learning modules, its immediate future will see it work alongside architects, as opposed to rendering them redundant.
This line of thinking has been adopted at Rothelowman, who have begun to utilise AI programs to reduce the timeframes of painstaking tasks. Nigel Hobart (pictured below), one of the practice’s Managing Principals, began researching the software five years ago, convinced of its inevitability.
“I think that, honestly, I think that every role in society, I can’t think of one where AI can’t eventually play a significant role,” he says.
“The question is really how long it’s going to take. It’s not going to replace architecture and interior designers in the next 24 months. But can architects and interior designers, with a combination of self-confidence and humility, see these things as opportunities to go to the next level with their own thinking, their own processes and their own mindset around design?”
Hobart believes that the ‘protectionism’ of any working fraternity is a natural reaction to new programs, which will stall the initial adoption of the technology, but describes AI as “a natural evolution of society and transition of economies.”
“You can reduce risk in the quality of your work. You can make people’s jobs less boring by getting repetitive things and making them virtually instantaneous by writing scripting around things. We’ve made lots of progress in the way we document buildings in the middle third where you’re getting into regulatory compliance, buildability and coordination.”
Rothelowman’s team members have been on fact-finding missions across the US to witness the technology being harnessed by architects in other studios. Picture-generating AI software has been occasionally utilised by the practice to assist in instantly creating a physical embodiment of a client’s brief. Hobart likens the improvement and understanding of AI in the built environment to the mentoring of a budding graduate.
“I think in time that it will absolutely change everything, and that’s not intended as a scary thought. I started five years ago on this journey and thought ‘it won’t happen in a hurry and it won’t happen to us and you can’t automate creativity.’ Well, that’s just not true. I was completely wrong,” he concedes.
“If you start with an architectural graduate out of university with talent, that person could accelerate into being useful and productive quite quickly in the early years of their career. If you invest in the talent, then the talent will become very effective and very valuable. And the same thing is happening with AI.
“I think what’s gonna happen in the very short to intermediate term is that designers are gonna start using AI as an assistant, as another part of their toolkit.”
Ultimately, the continued reinvigoration of the technologies is consistently making design executives rethink their use of AI in the workplace. Hobart says it will be a long time before it becomes industry standard, and cites the number of players in the market as why.
“Five years ago, when I started researching automation, I did start to panic a little bit, as it was coming fast and I didn’t think we were ready, but I came to realise that our industry is so disparate and so fragmented. There is no strong influence or individual player in the property industry, so these things take time,” he says.
“AI is an opportunity. If others aren’t gonna adopt these things and you find a way to use these things that save time and money. If you can buy time for your team by creating efficiencies within the creation and delivery process of our service, then that’s where the gains are.
If you’re finding ways of using AI to your advantage without compromising risk, quality or client experience and use it to your advantage to buy time, then you’ll provide a better solution than your competitors. It’s as simple as that.”
The combination of new technologies of Robots and all in the Middle East’s oil and gas industry’s growth engine is thought to help energy companies to improve efficiency and, most importantly, accelerate growth at a time of pessimism, fear, and the expectation that economic growth and the hydrocarbon markets will decline in the future.The image above is of IGN
Robots to be oil and gas industry’s growth engine
Robots will be the industry’s growth engine, and the oil and gas sector will greatly benefit from emerging use cases.
Advances in modular and customisable robots is expected to result in growing deployment of robotics in the oil and gas industry, says GlobalData.
GlobalData’s thematic report, ‘Robotics in Oil & Gas’, notes that, while robotics has been a part of the oil and gas industry for several decades, growing digitalisation and integration with artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and Internet of Things (IoT), have helped diversify robot use cases within the industry.
Anson Fernandes, Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “A huge number of robots are now being deployed in oil and gas operations, including terrestrial crawlers, quadrupeds, aerial drones, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).”
Robots have applications across the oil and gas industry in various tasks ranging from surveys, material handling, and construction to inspection, repair, and maintenance. They can be customised for various tasks to ease the work and improve efficiency. During the planning phases of an oil and gas project, robots can be deployed to conduct aerial surveys, or they can be employed to conduct seismic surveys during exploration. Aerial or underwater drones can be adopted depending upon the project location and work requirements.
Fernandes continues: “Robotics is a fast-growing industry. According to GlobalData forecasts, it was worth $52.9 billion in 2021 and will reach $568 billion by 2030, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30%. Robots will be the industry’s growth engine, and the oil and gas sector will greatly benefit from emerging use cases.”
Data analytics and robotics improve insight obtained from surveys and surveillance exercises. This symbiotic relationship between robotics and wider digitalisation technologies is expected to be further evolve through collaborations between technology providers and oil and gas industry players.
Fernandes concludes: “The volume of robotics use cases in the oil and gas industry is expected to grow rapidly, in tow with digitalisation. Industrial robots with analytical support from digital technologies is expected to become the mainstay across the oil and gas industry, especially in the upstream sector, where personnel safety and operational security concerns are heightened.”
E-waste, electronic waste, e-scrap and end-of-life electronics are as per Geneva Environmental Network, terms often used to describe used electronics that are nearing the end of their useful life and are discarded, donated or given to a recycler. The UN defines e-waste as any discarded products with a battery or plug and features toxic and hazardous substances such as mercury, that can pose severe risk to human and environmental health. So why Global e-waste generation is to double by 2030, raising health alarms?
Global e-waste generation to double by 2030 raising health alarms
International organisations and climate advocates have been raising the red flag around e-waste issue forcing businesses and governments to set e-waste policies, standards and recommendations.
Electronic waste or e-waste is a global challenge threatening the health of people and the planet. International organisations and climate advocates have been raising the red flag around this issue forcing businesses and governments to set e-waste policies, standards and recommendations in an effort to improve the situation.
According to the UN, in 2021 each person on the planet will produce on average 7.6 kg of e-waste, meaning that a massive 57.4 million tons will be generated worldwide. As declared by ERI (Electronic Recyclers International), it is expected that worldwide e-waste generation will be at 67 million tons by 2030, which is almost double 2014’s waste.
In the Arab region, the Regional E-waste Monitor for the Arab States 2021 which is the first monitoring effort in the region in relation to e-waste statistics, legislation and e-waste management infrastructure, indicated that e-waste generation in the Arab region increased by 61 per cent from 1.8 Mt (4.9 kg/inh) in 2010 to 2.8 Mt (6.6 kg/inh) in 2019.
With the rise of global health issues and the aggravating challenges of climate change, and given the growth of e-waste generation, it has become urgent to find solutions to a growing problem that affects people’s health and their future on the planet. In fact, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has clearly affirmed that e-waste is one of the largest and most complex waste streams in the world. Today, it has become clear that addressing the environmental risks of e-waste is beyond pressing.
In particular, the Middle East and Africa region is facing deep challenges in e-waste management. In fact, the regional e-waste monitor for the Arab states 2021 has stated that “E-waste management in the Arab States region faces a myriad of challenges, prompted by a complete absence of e-waste-specific policies and legislation, which are key to the development of a proper system and an appropriate response.” Many solutions can improve the situation if tackled properly, such as preventing e-waste generation, adopting adequate legislations, raising awareness, improving collection and treatment of e-waste, among others.
As many businesses are already addressing the challenge part of their commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Resource Group, a regional group of companies with diversified businesses covering the Middle East and Africa, is taking serious steps to tackle the e-waste problem starting by raising awareness among its teams to collect and recycle its e-waste.
The Group has recently signed an agreement with Verdetech, for the collection of all solid and e-waste generated by the Group. This initiative falls under Resource Group’s CSR initiatives in line with its objective to support the SDGs.
“The urgency to limit solid waste and particularly e-waste has been on the rise in the world. Therefore, it is important for us to adopt eco-friendly practices at our premises to limit our environmental footprint and specifically contribute to limiting the e-waste in Lebanon and the region”, said Hisham Itani, Chairman and CEO at Resource Group.
He added, “Corporate sustainability is one of our main priorities as we aim to tackle environmental challenges and promote environmental responsibility among our teams and the communities. By partnering with Verdetech, we trust that all our electrical and electronic equipment will be recycled through innovative waste management techniques.”
Stressing on the importance of creating awareness about waste management, Ramzi el Haddad, General Manager said, “Our aim is to support businesses in their efforts towards sustainability and more specifically waste management. In fact, solid and e-waste management is a serious issue that directly affects the environment and our ecosystem. Therefore, as companies play an important role in setting new standards and behaviours, we are putting all our efforts into partnering with businesses to encourage waste prevention and recycling behaviour.”
The programmable world from writing software codes to running machines to computing efficiently would be on the verge of programming the world. It would be a long-drawn effort, the contours and time unknown, but its direction is apparent. The typical elements of software will become a part of our day-to-day life, bringing control, customization and automation to the increasingly entangled world around us. The experiences would be under your control. How different would it be from the world we live in today?
The image above is Credit: Carloscastilla via Alamy Stock
Is Your Business Ready for the Programmable World?
The programmable world will be a turning point for businesses and society. Businesses that prepare first will be best positioned to succeed.
Imagine a world where the environment around you is as programmable as software: a world where control, customization, and automation are enmeshed in our surroundings. In this world, people can command their physical environment to meet their own needs, choosing what they see, interact with and experience. Meanwhile, businesses leverage this enhanced programmability to reinvent their operations, subsequently building and delivering new experiences for their customers.
The Accenture Technology Vision 2022 report explains that, increasingly, this “programmable world” is becoming a reality. It is being built on decades of innovation including cameras, smart speakers and microphones, natural language processing, computer vision, edge computing, programmable matter and 5G — to name just a few. Such technologies are amplifying the capabilities of devices and turning them into an ambient and persistent layer across our built environments.
Already, nearly 80% of executives surveyed believe that programming the physical environment will emerge as a competitive differentiation in their industry. An early example of what’s to come in this space is Amazon’s Sidewalk service. For years, Amazon deployed hundreds of millions of Echo, Ring and Tile products in neighborhoods worldwide. Sidewalk creates a Bluetooth network that can extend connectivity up to half a mile beyond Wi-Fi range and lets anyone with compatible devices connect. If your dog escapes, a Tile tracker on its collar could stay connected thanks to Sidewalk bridges from your neighbors’ homes. This approach of connecting existing IoT devices to create instant smart neighborhoods hints at the power that connecting other, even more sophisticated technologies will soon unleash.
Leading enterprises will be at the forefront of the programmable world, tackling everything from innovating the next generation of customizable products and services, to architecting the hyper-personalized and hyper-automated experiences that shape our future world. Organizations that ignore this trend, fatigued from the promise of IoT, will struggle as the world automates around them. This will delay building the infrastructure and technology necessary to tap into this rich opportunity, and many organizations may find themselves playing catchup in a world that has already taken the next step.
Preparing for the Programmable World
To begin building a new generation of products, services, and experiences in the physical world that meet our new expectations for digital conveniences, enterprises will need a deep understanding of three layers that comprise the programmable world:
1. The connected. The connected devices that enable seamless interaction with our surroundings: IoT and wearables today, ambient computing and low latency 5G-based devices tomorrow.
2. The experiential. Digital twins of the physical world that provide real-time insights into environments and operations and which transform peoples’ experiences within them.
3. The material. A new generation of smart, automated manufacturing alongside innovations like programmable matter and smart materials; programmable matter can — as the phrase suggests — be “programmed” to change its physical properties upon direct command or by sensing a predetermined trigger.
Becoming a leader in the programmable world requires wide-ranging experimentation and continuous development across these three layers. Companies that achieve “full stack” programmability will blaze a trail, so it’s important for this journey to start as soon as possible. We recommend that organizations begin addressing the following as a priority:
Level up the connected layer. 5G will be a game-changer in terms of speed and low latency, but rollouts are still in early days. This presents an opportunity for organizations to pilot new use cases that leverage 5G capabilities, so that they can hit the ground running when it’s more broadly available.
Get involved with industry-wide alliances. Industry alliances will shape the development of new technology standards for the programmable world. Businesses that take part in these alliances will help ensure that the world evolves in a way that benefits their customers. From an interoperability perspective, this could mean participating in ecosystem-wide efforts to set standards for how devices connect and communicate.
Bridge the digital and physical worlds. All businesses should now consider building digital twins. Even without the full maturity of the programmable world, these platforms provide significant operational and competitive advantages to companies today. Over time, digital twins will become the engine for every enterprise’s programmable world strategy, letting them invent products, design experiences, and run their businesses in ways that would once have been unimaginable.
Innovate in the right areas. Start by looking at where purely digital or purely physical experiences have yet to excel. For instance, apparel shopping comes with major pain points both in person and online (e.g., limited selections and wait times in store vs. difficulty finding the right size/style online). Virtual dressing rooms using AR filters and 3D avatars are a perfect solution, enabling online customers can try on items before they buy. Similarly, physical dressing rooms can be enhanced with improved lighting and interactive screens, so shoppers can get more out of trips to the store.
Explore future materials technologies. Partnerships with start-ups and universities are a good way to stay right at the forefront of real-world technology innovation. For instance, a team of researchers at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms published their work around four new material subunits called voxels. Researchers believe voxels could be programmed into certain combinations to create objects that change and respond to the environment around them – like airplane wings that shapeshift in response to different air conditions — and they believe tiny robots could be used to assemble, disassemble, and reassemble the voxels into a nearly limitless variety of objects.
The programmable world promises to be the most disruptive turning point for business and society in decades. Soon, we will live in environments that can physically transform on command and which can be customized and controlled to an unprecedented degree. With these environments, a new arena for innovation and business competition will be born. Businesses that prepare first, will be best positioned to succeed.
Significant changes are occurring in nearly every industry as technology advances and attitudes surrounding work and leadership evolve. Project management is no exception, and the styles and strategies for managing both the technical and human aspects of team projects are being adapted to accommodate the new workplace landscape emerging in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are the 2023 project management trends that we anticipate growing in the year to come.
A Continued Shift Towards Digital and Remote Work
In our post-pandemic world, fully remote and hybrid work options are here to stay. Gallup reports approximately 56% of full-time employees can fulfill job requirements entirely from home. The transition to fully remote work during the pandemic further illustrated productivity and effectiveness in the workplace could be maintained, even when a majority of employees were working from home.
Pros and Cons
From a project management standpoint, this transition has its pros and cons. Working in the same physical location as other team members promotes team-building and spontaneous collaboration that can be otherwise limited in a virtual workspace. Despite the perks of in-person collaboration, however, remote employees enjoy the flexible nature of working from home and report increased satisfaction with their work. When given the choice, many remote employees would prefer to remain remote or partially remote instead of returning full-time to the office.
As we move into 2023, project managers are challenged with navigating team dynamics and productivity in an increasingly digital environment.
Preference for Cloud-Based Operations
The transition to more remote working environments has created reliance on cloud-based computing solutions and communication networks. Cloud-based systems can provide cost-effective alternatives to traditional operations without surrendering performance and function. The ability for employees to access cloud-based networks from any location has made them the new standard for modern companies.
The Changing Responsibilities of a Project Manager
The scope of a project manager’s responsibilities is shifting, with more emphasis placed on flexibility, team dynamics and contributions outside of the project requirements.
Project Management and Change Management
In recent years, companies have enacted increasing numbers of change initiatives to organizations and the structures within. Project managers are learning to integrate the requirements of these change initiatives into project management strategies and plans. It is crucial to create a flexible methodology for integrating change initiatives with specific steps and protocols that your team can follow. These skills will continue to be relevant in coming years as companies grow and conform to the ever-evolving workplace standards.
Project success strategies have traditionally relied upon adherence to a single project management methodology. Recently, an increasing number of companies have merged multiple approaches to project management in an effort to increase flexibility and create a style that’s adapted to the needs of the individual project. Hybrid approaches also work well when faced with the task of integrating the expectations of new change initiatives presented by company leaders.
Increasing Connection Between Projects and Strategy
Project managers increasingly are asked to expand the scope and scale of strategies in growing workplaces. Rather than simply focusing on individual projects in isolation, project managers are being tasked with learning how individual projects relate to one another and how they work together to advance the goals of the company. This type of understanding can promote the strategic use of a project manager’s skills and help them to consistently make decisions that align closely with the company’s vision.
Advanced Project Management Tools, Solutions and Software
Technological advancements and improvements in software and automation have made their way into nearly every industry, project management included. Digital tools can help make the job of a project manager more efficient.
Increased Prevalence of AI and Automation
Artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning and data collection and analysis are rapidly becoming critical elements in project management strategies. According to PwC, 77% of high-performing projects utilize project management software to help streamline their work and meet their goals.
AI has the capacity to evaluate outcomes and provide insights into performance strengths and weaknesses, provide organized data to guide important decisions, predict outcomes, estimate timelines, analyze risk and optimize resource distribution. Project management tools and software can also automate time-consuming administrative tasks normally performed by the project manager, leaving the project manager free to focus time and energy on more critical or more nuanced tasks.
Project managers who take the time to understand how the AI and automation processes in their organization can complement their role will be well-prepared to take advantage of this resource.
Increased Focus on Data
Project management and data go hand in hand. A project manager who successfully uses available data to gain insight into key metrics can craft a targeted strategy to improve existing processes and further the goals of their business. Project management software can assist with both data collection and analysis, and provide concise evaluations and visualization tools for project managers to refer to in team building, productivity and time management efforts.
Emphasis on Soft Skills and Emotional Intelligence
As AI and automation take over aspects of the more technical side of project management, more emphasis is placed on the soft skills a project manager needs to effectively connect with, motivate and manage teams. These skills include emotional intelligence, communication, conflict resolution, mentoring and training, adaptability, time and risk management, leadership, team building and decision making.
Choosing the Best Project Management Software
Project management software can make a tremendous difference in the effectiveness and efficiency of a team and its leaders. With so many options to choose from, it may be challenging to know which software best fits the needs of your team. We’ve reviewed many of the available options and created a list of our picks for the best project management software based on ease of use, cost and fees, features and functionality, customer support and customer reviews.
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Earth has been used as a building material for at least the last 12,000 years. Ethnographic research into earth being used as an element of Aboriginal architecture in Australia suggests its use probably goes back much further.
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