Customer Experience

User ExperienceThe way you design your service experiences also makes an important impact on prospects and customers. Smart companies anticipate customer needs and are a few steps ahead of what comes next in the customer awareness through buying cycle. In this digital age, service and communication become the new commodity and it’s critical to design experiences to that model. Experience-based service begins with a process of communicating with customers and letting them initiate communications in return.

Getting personal with customers also enhances the customer experience. People like to buy from companies who they feel understand them and can anticipate their needs. Simple things like email birthday greetings or product suggestions based on past purchases tell customers that you remember them, value them and appreciate their business.

Intentional design is a powerful tool that provides a systematic method to explore a variety of customer interactions and touchpoints that move, engage and respond. Most of all, customer experiences have to be authentic and all touchpoint possibilities explored before recommending appropriate user design scenarios.

(Source: http://madplumcreative.com/enhancing-the-customer-experience-through-intentional-design)

Service providers are continually reshaping their offering in response to changing customer needs and demands. As customer expectations change, businesses need to rethink the experiences they deliver. Meeting new demands does not only require delivery of the right propositions – it also requires developing broader capabilities around the needs of people, across the entire ecosystem.

Adapting to the Fast-Moving Customer World

Most organizations are not designed to meet the changes that occur in their customer’s lives. Stable organizational structures, designed around the needs of the organisation, struggle to provide the flexibility needed to meet the demands of customers. These rigid structures constantly create barriers to customer interactions. They also impact customer loyalty as well as the businesses’ ability to offer more relevant products and services.

Evolving Organizational Design Around Customer Needs

From business architecture to agile methods, organizations constantly try different approaches to move the organization forward and get closer to their customers. Yes, few organizations manage to truly connect with their customer and meet their needs. There is often a gap between what customers really need, and what the organization must be capable of doing. Bringing the customer perspective into traditional change disciplines bridges this gap and enables the organization to evolve its design around its customers.

Seeing the Organization Through Your Customer’s Eyes

The complex systems, processes and connections within many organizations make it challenging to understand how different teams and departments impact customers. Looking at your organization from the outside in, rather than from the inside out, provides insight into how customers see different departments working (together). Customers using a service are generally the ones who are exposed to the entire organization, and its vast amount of divisions, departments and groups. Seeing the organization through your customer’s eyes helps to build a true picture of the organization and its impact on the customer experience.

Design the Business Around Customers’ Experience

Shifting the focus from inside out to outside in helps build an understanding of the experiences customers demand through all their interactions with the organization. Using this knowledge, the right capabilities can be planned and delivered. Designing your business around the needs of people and shifting the organization to a customer first mind-set enables you to differentiate and grow sustainably.

Experience ArchitectCustomer Experience Architecture Translated Into Organizational Capabilities

The customer experience architecture connects all aspects of the customers’ experience with the business and the organization. It maps the fluidity of customers’ needs and expectations, highlights major opportunities to have business impact and translates these into clear organizational capabilities. Understanding capabilities from a customers’ perspective helps determine which aspect delivers the core capabilities – people, process, system – and how this should be developed.

Co-Creating Your Business With Customers

Adopting a customer experience architecture driven approach puts the focus on understanding customer journeys, channel integrations and fulfilment. Adopting this approach, as opposed to the traditional organizational capability perspective, ensures the architecture of the business grows and evolves in line with customer demands. In addition, a more flexible and cohesive structure enables the business to co-create its design – as well as its experiences with its customers.

Delivering Frictionless Experiences

A customer driven architecture provides the ability to design organizational capabilities from the customer perspective. By mapping how customers use and experience a service, it becomes clear how different departments and groups within the organization impact that experience. Collaboration of a variety of skills from different disciplines leads to a cohesive design, which delivers the experiences customers demand, across all key interactions and channels.

Connecting Customers’ to the Business Capabilities

Keeping up with the constantly evolving needs of customers has become increasingly complex. To stay ahead organisations must start designing their structures and capabilities from the outside in, ensuring the business is evolves around the needs of customers. A customer experience architecture not only designs from the outside, it also brings you closer to your customers and their needs which ultimately allows for co-creating excellent experiences.

(Source: https://www.liveworkstudio.com/articles/customer-experience-architecture)

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3-D Printing

We can attribute 3D printing technology to an American engineer and the co-founder of 3D systems, Chuck (Charles) Hull. He invented the first printing process that was capable of creating an actual, physical 3D object from a digital data file.  He called this process Stereolithography. In an interview, Hull admits how surprised he was of the capabilities and potential of his discovery. And however amazed people were of 3D printing in its infancy, few could have imagined where it was heading.

Chuck Hull Inventor

Early stage models: Concept models are quick and easy to produce. The moment you have your model you can begin discussions with clients and prospects. This saves time and money, reduces the risk of costly errors, and speeds up the entire design-to-agreement process.

Urban planning: Architects now have the ability to 3D print a model of an entire town or city. This is something that’s achievable within hours with the right equipment and print materials.

Model variations: Sometimes it’s useful to print a few variations of the same or similar models. This is an affordable way to help architects get to their final designs faster and with much less fuss.

3D-SectionModelTo summarize, here are the three key benefits of 3D printing for architects:

  1. Detailed 3D printed models help clients to better visualize final projects
  2. Reduced time (hours and days) spent creating models
  3. Over time, Architects can build a library of reusable 3D designs

(Source: http://3dinsider.com/3d-printing-architecture)

Further Reading:

http://www.lgm3d.com/professionals/students

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I Love My Architect – Facebook


Connected Spaces

Connected-Life

The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

Connected spaces are networked to enable the interconnection and interoperability of multiple devices, services and apps, ranging from communications and entertainment to healthcare, security and home automation. These services and apps are delivered over multiple interlinked and integrated devices, sensors, tools and platforms. Connected, real-time, smart and contextual experiences are provided for the household inhabitants, and individuals are enabled to control and monitor the home remotely as well as within it.

Connected-HomeThe technologies behind connected spaces can be grouped in the following categories:

  • Networking: Familiar networking technologies (high bandwidth/high power consumption), such as Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA), Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, as well as 3G and Long Term Evolution (LTE), are complemented with low-power consumption networking standards for devices and sensors that require low bandwidth and consume very little power, such as thermostats.
  • Media and Entertainment: This category, which covers integrated entertainment systems and includes accessing and sharing digital content across different devices, has proved to be the most prolific and contains some of the most mature technologies in the connected home.
  • Security, Monitoring and Automation: The technologies in this category cover a variety of services that focus on monitoring and protecting the home as well as the remote and automated control of doors, windows, blinds and locks, heating/air conditioning, lighting and home appliances, and more.
  • Energy Management: This category is tightly linked to smart cities and government initiatives, yet consumer services and devices/apps are being introduced at mass-market prices that allow people to track, control and monitor their gas/electricity consumption.
  • Healthcare, Fitness and Wellness: Solutions and services around healthcare have proven slow to take off, because they have to be positioned within a health plan and sold to hospitals and health insurance companies. The fitness and wellness segment has strong and quickly developed ecosystems that range from devices to sports wares to apps, which integrate seamlessly with each other to create a strong customer experience.

(Source: https://www.gartner.com)

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I Love My Architect – Facebook


Benefits of Using Digital Twins for Construction

Technologies like augmented reality in construction are emerging to digitalize the construction industry, making it significantly more effective.

What if we could have instant access to all the information about a construction site, down to smallest details about every person, tool, and bolt? What if we could always be sure about the final measurements of a beam or that soil volumes in the cuts are close to those of the fills? What if we could always track how fast the supply of materials runs out, and re-order supplies automatically?

All this is achievable with a digital twin — a concept of having a real-time digital representation of a physical object.

The following are some real-time digital twins applications on construction sites.

3d-model

Automated Progress Monitoring

Progress monitoring verifies that the completed work is consistent with plans and specifications. A physical site observation is needed in order to verify the reported percentage of work done and determine the stage of the project.

By reconstructing an as-built state of a building or structure we can compare it with an as-planned execution in BIM and take corresponding actions to correct any deviations. This is usually done by reconstructing geometry of a building and registering it to the model coordinate systems, which is later compared to an as-planned model on a shape and object level.

Often data for progress monitoring is collected through the field personnel and can be hugely subjective. For example, the reported percentage of work done can be faster in the beginning and much slower close to the end of the project. People are often initially more optimistic about their progress and the time needed to finish the job.

Hence, having automated means of data collection and comparison means that the resulting model to as-designed BIM models is less liable to human error. Digital twins solve the common construction process problems.

As-Built vs As-Designed Models

With a real-time digital twins, it is possible to track changes in an as-built model — daily and hourly. Early detection of any discrepancies can lead to a detailed analysis of historical modeling data, which adds an additional layer of information for any further decision-making processes.

The project manager can then reconstruct the steps that led to the error and make changes in the future work schedule in order to prevent any similar mistakes from occurring. They can also detect under-performers and try to fix the cause of the problem earlier in the project or plan the necessary changes to the budget and timescale of the whole project.

Resource Planning and Logistics

According to the Construction Industry Institute, about 25% of productive time is wasted on unnecessary movement and handling of materials.

Digital twin technology provides automatic resource allocation monitoring and waste tracking, allowing for a predictive and lean approach to resource management. With digital twin technology companies would avoid over-allocation and dynamically predict resource requirements on construction sites, thus avoiding the need to move resources over long distances and improving time management.

Safety Monitoring

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous sectors in the world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States, more than four thousand construction workers died on-site between 2008 and 2012.

The real-time site reconstruction feature digital twins allows the industry’s companies to track people and hazardous places on a site, so as to prevent inappropriate behavior, usage of unsafe materials, and activity in hazardous zones. A company can develop a system of early notification, letting a construction manager know when a field worker is located in dangerous proximity to working equipment and sending a notification about nearby danger to a worker’s wearable device.

Microsoft recently shared a great vision of how AI combined with video cameras and mobile devices can be used to build an extensive safety net for the workplace.

Quality Assessment

Image-processing algorithms make it possible to check the condition of concrete through a video or photographic image. It is also possible to check for cracks on columns or any material displacement at a construction site. This would trigger additional inspections and thus help to detect possible problems early on.

See an example of how 2D images using 3D scene reconstruction can be used for concrete crack assessments.

Optimization of Equipment Usage

Equipment utilization is an important metric that construction firms always want to maximize. Unused machines should be released earlier to the pool so others can use them on other sites where they are needed. With advanced imaging and automatic tracking, it is possible to know how many times each piece of machinery has been used, at what part of the construction site, and on what type of the job.

Monitoring and Tracking of Workers

Some countries impose tough regulations on how to monitor people presence on a construction site. This includes having a digital record of all personnel and their location within the site, so that this information could be used by rescue teams in case of emergency. This monitoring is another digital twins application. Still, it is better to integrate digital twin-based monitoring with an automatic entry and exit registration system, to have a multi-modal data fused into a single analytics system.

Getting Data for Digital Twins

Some ways to gather data to be used for digital twins includes the following:

  1. Smartphone Cameras
  2. Time-Lapse Cameras
  3. Autonomous UAV and Robots
  4. Video Surveillance Cameras
  5. Head-mounted Cameras and Body Cameras

Image data processing algorithms for digital twins can be created with the following methods:

  1. 3D Reconstruction: Conventional Photogrammetry
  2. 3D Reconstruction: Structure from Motion
  3. Object Detection and Recognition
  4. Localization
  5. Object Tracking

(Source: https://www.intellectsoft.net/blog/advanced-imaging-algorithms-for-digital-twin-reconstruction)

From an Investor’s Viewpoint

On projects to date, this approach has proven to save time, reduce waste and increase efficiencies.

From a Standardization Proponent’s Viewpoint

Open, sharable information unlocks more efficient, transparent and collaborative ways of working throughout the entire life-cycle of buildings and infrastructure.

From a Solution Provider’s Viewpoint 

While the digital twin is needed initially for planning and construction, it’s also intended to provide the basis for building operations moving forward.

(Source: https://www.siemens.com/customer-magazine/en/home/buildings/three-perspectives-on-digital-twins.html)

The vision of “construction 4.0” refers to the 4th industrial revolution and is a fundamental challenge for the construction industry. In terms of automated production and level of digitalization, the construction industry is still significantly behind other industries. Nevertheless, the mega-trends like Big Data or the Internet of Things offer great opportunities for the future development of the construction sector. Prerequisite for the successful Construction 4.0 is the creation of a digital twin of a building. Building Information Modeling (BIM) with a consistent and structured data management is the key to generate such a digital building whose dynamic performance can be studied by building simulation tools for a variety of different boundary conditions.

Along the total life cycle from design to construction, operation and maintenance towards remodeling or demolition, the digital twin follows all modifications of the real building and dynamically readjusts itself in case of recorded performance differences.

Thus, for the whole life span of the real building, performance predictions generated with the virtual twin represent an accurate basis for well-informed decisions. This helps to develop cost-effective operation modes, e.g. by introducing new cyber-controlled HVAC systems. The digital twin may also analyze the building’s dynamic response to changes in occupation or energy supply; it also indicates the need for building maintenance or upgrades.

The digital twin follows all modifications of the real building and dynamically readjusts itself in case of recorded performance differences.

(Source: https://www.bau.fraunhofer.de/en/fieldsofresearch/smartbuilding/digital-twin.html)

Gartner-digital-twin-best-practices-to-tackle-challenges

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I Love My Architect – Facebook


Digital Twins

A digital twin refers to the digital representation of a real-world entity or system. Digital twins in the context of IoT projects is particularly promising over the next three to five years and is leading the interest in digital twins today. Well-designed digital twins of assets have the potential to significantly improve enterprise decision making. These digital twins are linked to their real-world counterparts and are used to understand the state of the thing or system, respond to changes, improve operations and add value. Organizations will implement digital twins simply at first, then evolve them over time, improving their ability to collect and visualize the right data, apply the right analytics and rules, and respond effectively to business objectives.

“Over time, digital representations of virtually every aspect of our world will be connected dynamically with their real-world counterpart and with one another and infused with AI-based capabilities to enable advanced simulation, operation and analysis,” said Mr. Cearley. “City planners, digital marketers, healthcare professionals and industrial planners will all benefit from this long-term shift to the integrated digital twin world.” (Source: https://www.gartner.com)

Digital Twin 01

A digital twin is essentially a link between a real world object and its digital representation that is continuously using data from the sensors. All data comes from sensors located on a physical object; this data is used to establish the representation of a virtual object.

For construction, using digital twins means always having access to as-built and as-designed models, which are constantly synced in real-time. This allows companies to continuously monitor progress against the schedule laid out in a 4D BIM model.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

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I Love My Architect – Facebook

 


Drone Technology

Drone-Technology-02Drones—also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aerial systems (UAS)—are most simply described as flying devices that do not carry a human pilot. They can be remotely piloted or they can pilot themselves based on pre-programmed instructions. They can be equipped with GPS, on board computers, hardware, electronics, sensors, stabilizers, auto-pilots, servo controllers, and any other equipment the user desires to install. Drones can resemble fixed-wing airplanes but more commonly take the form of quad-copters, that is, rotor-wing aircraft that can take off and land vertically. Most people know that drones can be equipped with infra-red cameras (still and video), license-plate readers, “ladar” (laser radar that generate three-dimensional images and can be seen through trees and foliage), thermal-imaging devices, or even sensors that gather data about weather, temperature, radiation or other environmental conditions. All of this can be used to generate images, recordings or data that design professionals eventually will want to use in their business.

Drones could be a valuable tool in construction, widening the spectrum of what’s possible in architecture, according to architect Ammar Mirjan.

“We can fly [drones] through and around existing objects, which a person couldn’t do or a crane couldn’t do,” explains Mirjan. They can be programmed to weave simple tensile structures in the air, for example.

Sources & References:

https://www.dezeen.com/2017/05/04/mark-dytham-interview-drones-uavs-bring-profound-change-architecture-cities/

http://www.theaiatrust.com/architects-guide-using-drones/

https://www.dezeen.com/2018/05/25/10-ways-drones-will-change-the-world/

How are aerial mapping drones helping architects?

Architects are exploring the many benefits of mapping drones for improving and expanding their businesses. Here are just a few examples:

The most popular application for small drones is aerial photography and video capture to track and share “before and after” progress over time.

Ability to securely collaborate on specific areas of interest with your team, contractors, and customers.

Tell the story of your project.  Show current and potential customers before and after fly-throughs of your job site so they can experience and appreciate the scale and impact of your work.

3-D point clouds with centimeter grade accuracy on progress, so you can get the precision updates you need to keep project approvals on time, without physically traveling to the site.

Get context for your project, plan your architecture with a full view of the surrounding area.

See 3D volumetrics so you know what you’re building on and can track progress.

Uses for Drones

  • Project documentation
  • Presentation + marketing
  • Architectural cinematography
  • Site analysis
  • Topographic mapping
  • Construction observation
  • Educational tool
  • Lead generation (working with Realtors)

Conclusion

According to an interview in Dezeen.com with Mark Dytham, architect and co-founder of Tokyo-based Klein Dytham Architecture, “Drones will transform the way buildings are designed, the way they look and the way they are used.

One way in which drones are proving to be a useful tool in architecture is through surveying. Due to their small size and relative ease of maneuverability, drones make an easy task of accessing difficult to reach places.

According to ArchDaily.com, “While using satellite imagery for site planning is common among architects, these visuals are often available in low resolution and produce less accurate data. Data collected by drones can completely eliminate the need for hiring land surveyors for creating topographic surveys. Instead, architects can use this information to build accurate 3D models of the terrain and site and import them directly into drafting and modeling software like Rhino.” In the past, architects would have relied on planes, helicopters, or satellite imaging for aerial footage.

Sources & References:

https://www.identifiedtech.com/blog/construction-drones/how-aerial-mapping-drones-can-help-architects/

http://residencestyle.com/the-use-of-drones-in-architecture-soars-to-new-heights/

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Artificial Intelligence

AI-01

Moving from the abstract to the actionable is always a challenge. When it comes to AI, it starts with data. Artificial intelligence is the application of data—data is what machines learn from—and in the AEC world there is no shortage of opportunities to obtain it. From billing analysis and construction-site safety to building products and performance, the data sets available to collect seem infinite. (Source: https://www.aia.org/articles/178511-embracing-artificial-intelligence-in-archit)

Danil Nagy, New York-based designer and researcher  says “AI can benefit all human endeavors by making us more efficient and allowing us to focus on those aspects of ourselves that make us most human – such as intuition and creativity.”

Computers have changed the way we design our buildings and understand their urban contexts, with tools such as parametric design altering the way we formulate design problems and arrive at new solutions. Now, Machine Learning gives the possibility of going beyond directed, top-down computation, allowing computers to learn patterns and gain new understanding directly from supplied data. Among the many opportunities given by this new paradigm, such a system can allow designers to gain a deeper understanding of the relationships between the physical reality of the city with our personal and emotional responses to it. The Data Mining the City cluster will explore these new opportunities by prototyping custom hardware to simultaneously gather both physical and personal data about the city, and then using Machine Learning algorithms to discover patterns and correlations between the physical realities of the city and our personal experiences of it.

Additional Resources:

https://www.smartgeometry.org/data-mining-the-city

http://futurearchitectureplatform.org/news/28/ai-architecture-intelligence

https://archpaper.com/2017/08/architecture-profession-automation-big-data

https://archpaper.com/2017/11/architects-adapt-coming-ai

https://archinect.com/features/article/149995618/the-architecture-of-artificial-intelligence

http://www.futurearchi.org/t/artificial-intelligence-ai-in-architecture-what-are-the-practical-applications/364

AI-02

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

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I Love My Architect – Facebook