Jeffrey Taub, CPSM
Sr. Technical Director, Business Development
- Member, SMPS-NY
The rapid pace of technological advancement in the design and construction industry is enough to make one’s head spin. Fortunately, a panel discussion organized by the New Jersey Affiliate of the Society for Marketing Professional Services’ New York Chapter on April 17, 2018, brought some much-needed perspective and a healthy dose of inspiration to the conversation.
Attendees were first treated to a series of technology demonstration stations hosted by the panelists themselves: David Craig, Strategy Director at Gensler; Victoria Cerami, Chief Executive Officer at Cerami & Associates; Richard Garlock, PE, Associate Partner at LERA Consulting Structural Engineers; Robert Dannenberg, RP, Director of Unmanned Aviation at Maser Consulting; and Kevin DeLuca, Vice President at C&C Technology Group.
From virtual and augmented reality and acoustic simulations to digital buildings and unmanned aerial vehicles (yes, you may call them drones), each station featured individual attention and hands-on interaction, with plenty of cocktails, networking, and mingling in between.
The group was then led on a guided building tour by George Meglio, Director of Workplace Technology Solutions at dancker, which hosted the program in their experience center and logistics facility in Somerville, New Jersey. George reiterated that the workplace of the future will continue to be driven by touch screens, advanced communication systems, and even motion and heat sensors for space usage analytics.
The ensuing panel discussion was expertly moderated by Rich Berliner, Chief Executive Officer and Publisher at Fifth Generation Media, which publishes Commercial Real Estate Magazine. Kevin DeLuca discussed digital buildings, focusing on the efficiencies realized through Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting and its interaction with other building systems. He also touched on cybersecurity and the vulnerability of interconnected systems.
Victoria Cerami described the different ways in which one experiences building and space acoustics — from pleasant “sound” to irritating “noise.” Design drawings and sound measurements do not adequately convey the information necessary for property owners to make cost/benefit decisions regarding acoustical treatments, so acoustical simulations create a sensory experience.
Whether using drones for land surveys or building inspections, Robert Dannenberg noted that unmanned aerial vehicles and systems are just tools that bring equipment like cameras and sensors to places they could not previously reach. Technology brings significant cost savings and operational efficiencies to clients, but there is no substitute for validating the accuracy and integrity of data through tried-and-true human efforts.
Richard Garlock utilizes virtual reality software adapted by LERA to identify precise measurements and materials in a building space, and all building components in the model can be manipulated by users concurrently across any number of disparate locations. Deconstructing spaces is effortless in the virtual environment — a clear advantage over real-life efforts.
Workplaces evolve but they are still around, said David Craig. The service-oriented WeWork model is being replicated by large corporations, another example of disruption being a force for good. Real estate will persist whether delivered as a product or service. Gensler continues to conduct its own research into workplace trends as part of a client-oriented approach to design.
Overall, this interactive program gave attendees insight into the future of design in our industry and the increasingly integrative approaches AEC firms will be taking to create smarter buildings more efficiently and with greater precision.