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Automation, Controls

Technology, automation and virtual engineering

Consulting engineers need to stay relevant, learn about new technology and remain digital to stay ahead of the competition

By Amara Rozgus July 31, 2020
Courtesy: CFE Media and Technology

If you consider the monumental technology changes that have occurred in the past few months, it’s pretty impressive. While ordering items online such as groceries, books or other supplies isn’t new, it has certainly ramped up more in the United States since COVID-19 hit with a vengeance. There are apps that allow you to order from your favorite burger place. Breweries make it easy for buyers to select and purchase beers, often based on past highly rated selections.

I’ve ordered tea, electronics, shoes, spray paint, breakfast, fox urine (pesky rabbits) and gifts for others.  I’ve attended online education, some of it pretty sophisticated. I’ve learned a new software program and attended virtual wine tastings. Note: the tasting part wasn’t virtual — the speaker presented via an online platform. You can buy pretty much anything via your phone.

For work, we’ve all attended video meetings, trade shows, webcasts, virtual conference sessions and many other group events. Communication has certainly expanded and increased, though not always as efficiently as necessary.

It’s the many forms of architecture, engineering and construction technologies that really fascinate me. Some experts predict that, even after the pandemic has passed and a coronavirus vaccine is available, returning to an office environment won’t be necessary. Virtual design, artificial intelligence, digital twins and various forms of modeling will become the standard, not the cutting-edge or high-tech concept it once was.

Engineering firms already poised for this digital transformation will be the leaders, and will surge ahead as they work with building owners, clients, contractors and others to create new buildings or retrofit existing buildings. Or, if engineering firms don’t have this expertise and are financially ready to take their company to the next level, they’ll hire tech experts or purchase a company with these specialties.

Any way you look at it, engineering firms must stay on top of technology to ensure they’re competitive and relevant. We’ve provided several items to help you get ahead — listen to the experts to learn about technology, automation and virtual engineering. This month, read about:

  • How to foster meaningful relationships in the digital age.
  • Five questions building engineers will be asking after COVID-19.
  • Does your engineering firm need a tech stack?
  • How computational design, modeling are changing engineering.
  • How to select a building automation system.
  • Product of the Year Finalists.

Amara Rozgus
Author Bio: Amara is the Editor-in-Chief/Content Strategy Leader for Consulting-Specifying Engineer.