To say that professionals working across the AEC ecosystem have numerous options around events is an understatement, so the options and alternatives that professionals have to choose from are varied and numerous. However, all AEC events are not created equally, and that’s why it’s so important to carefully consider whether or not a particular event is the right one for you.
If your participation at other AEC events has been less than successful, consider what AEC Next will provide to attendees. It covers the entire lifecycle of the built environment, explores how information and data flows efficiently and effectively throughout all phases of the facilities lifecycle, while also exploring the procedures, standards and processes that optimize planning, design and construction. It is the one event that delivers federal, commercial and residential construction audiences in one location.
As mentioned though, AEC Next is not your only option, so what are some of the questions you should be asking about these events? Are there specific considerations that you should be taking into account? Where is the real value of attending? The 8 questions below are designed to help you decide which AEC event is the right one for you—and demonstrate why AEC Next should be on the list of your must-attend events.
1. Is there a breadth of offerings for an entire project team?
Many AEC events are discipline-specific or association-focused, which limits the scope of education and material they highlight. These events are fine for anyone working in siloed environments, but the way in which people, processes and tools can and should interact with one another is becoming more of a priority for AEC teams and projects of all sizes.
Unlike most other industry events that are focused on a particular discipline, AEC Next covers the entire design, construction and owner team. It emphasizes that the myriad information technology tools available will help drive firms to design, build and operate projects better for the duration of that project. Every project large or small is an inter-disciplinary, multi-firm collaboration to achieve optimum performance. The tools and techniques that will help you achieve better design and better construction, and being co-located with the SPAR3D Expo & Conference, attendees will also be able to explore how to use 3D technologies to solve business problems. It’s an event that is designed to appeal to entire project teams that are spread across offices or the entire world, and these teams will be able to learn about the most effective way they can work together to complete their projects.
2. Does the event go beyond technology and tools updates?
The technology revolution we’re experiencing in construction is greater than anything our profession has experienced in the past. Drivers of these latest changes include cloud computing, low-cost chips and sensors, 3D printing, and plenty more. However, project management, construction management, and job site management/connectivity are all essential factors in ensuring that this new technology is being leveraged and utilized in a way that makes sense for the entire operation. This is about far more than technology and tools updates.
While AEC Next has been designed to bring you up to speed on the latest technologies to take projects through their entire lifecycle, it’s an event that also recognizes that it’s not just about the technology. Many of the 60+ presentations (featuring 100+ speakers) spanning sessions, workshops and panel discussions have been designed to specifically address the best practices and systems to take a project all the way through that lifecycle. This focus on management issues goes beyond talk about updates to current tools or procedures. With tracks focused on topics that range from BIM to construction management, from building performance to integrated project delivery, AEC Next is the only event that embraces the entire life-cycle of any project. The event embraces what it means to effectively adopt and utilize what’s new and what’s next.
3. Is the event vendor/association neutral?
User conferences and association events pull together professionals that are focused on a specific tool or organization, and they’ve been able to create tremendous traction and value for their customers. However, attendees aren’t always able to get a sense of the variety of options that might be available to help them.
Rather than focus on one solution or another, the sessions and exhibits at AEC explore what it means to solve business problems. The show highlights the collaborative solutions and interoperability issues that one may not get elsewhere. By focusing on the core issues related to driving a business forward rather than a vendor-specific solution, attendees will be able to better understand what kind of options are available and choose the ones that best fit their business.
4. How is the event addressing the shift to an “all-digital” strategy?
Overall, commercial and industrial markets are shifting to an “all-digital” strategy regarding their field assets, office properties and facilities. Previously, the AEC market leaned heavily on paper maps, drawings, blueprints, and mechanical records to support operations. Now, the push is on to convert or capture all asset information to sync with other critical business systems. The process is not just happening in commercial and industrial settings, as the design and construction industry as a whole is shifting, including residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, government, and infrastructure.
At AEC Next, there is a dedicated focus on what it means to effectively manage this process in all of these areas. Sessions are focused on this latest construction tech revolution in a very real way. Digital Maturity in the AEC Industry will deal with this topic specifically, while the Unlocking Disruptive AEC Innovation Through a Digital Transformation will detail how AEC professionals can transform their digital standards process from the bottom-up.
5. Will the event explore how data collection techniques are impacting critical issues like worker safety?
Rapidly developing 3D data capture capabilities are enabling firms to move from “transactional” collections to “continuous” collections, which has allowed them to focus on change-detection activities. Continuous data collection efforts provide owners and operators with a method to accurately document facilities to support civil litigation matters, which is something that could have a major impact on issues like worker safety. That’s just one of the essential benefits that could be unlocked with the collection of this data.
At AEC Next, the concept of how even a little data can go a long way is set to be just the beginning of a conversation about the transformative power of data, but the question of where to begin is also one that will be directly addressed. Data is being used to build a community of informed stake-holders, and there will be case studies that identify the unique data sources, describe the data collection process, present dashboards and other data visualizations. Sessions with highlight what it means to help job site resource management improving scheduling, estimating, and budgeting, all of which are issues that allow projects to stay on track.
6. How are topics related to automation and what it means to keep humans involved being discussed?
Rapidly developing 3D data capture capabilities, coupled with virtually unlimited computing resources are pushing autonomous navigation technologies at a furious pace. The automotive market might be leading the way in this area, but all AEC industries will be greatly impacted by this development. In some respects, these technologies are pushing humans “out of the loop,” meaning that robotics is quickly evolving, allowing people to focus on more important tasks. What could this transformation mean for your business though?
Numerous IoT developments that can enable these transformations are available today, and a variety of sessions will explore what these developments can mean for teams in the present and the future. During the Exploring the Jobsite Connectivity session, speakers will explore the new ConstrucTech ecosystem that emerged around BIM, project management software, drones, AR/VR, and wearable technology to streamline and automate manual processes.
7. Will issues related to energy efficiency and what it means to enable a green future be discussed?
The explosion of technology provides a revolutionary and disruptive opportunity for cities to harness data to make better decisions. With the global boom in city populations, smarter and more efficient design strategies are needed to solve the ever more complex problems of resource use and conservation, as well as resiliency challenges. Our current methods are inefficient and wasteful, costing our current and future citizens billions of dollars. How can and should professionals address these issues?
AEC Next lives at the intersection where ecology meets technology, while also bringing it all together for each and every member of the construction team. The event will highlight how whole buildings are being built off-site, trucked in, and erected in record time—a very environmentally friendly construction practice. On our website, we’ve explored why Tech is the New Green and at the AEC Next show, the Data-Driven Green Design session will explore this topic specifically, and the Multifamily Energy Efficiency will explore the energy issues particular to the multifamily market and strategies to achieve greater efficiency in multifamily buildings of all heights.
8. Are your colleagues and peers going to be networking at this event?
As great as the ability to learn about new technology in-person might be, the real value in attending an event is connecting with colleagues and peers. There’s no other way to connect with so many fellow professionals, and there’s simply nothing else that compares with the ability to do so.
The value associated with making these connections is going to be there for events of any size or type, but the Happy Hour, Plaza Palooza Party and BIMStorm taking place at AEC Next will make it that much easier for attendees to connect with one another. The new Open Integration Hub features four CDX Challenge Zones and six Integration Stations, all of which will encourage participation and engagement on a whole new level. With professionals of all types from architects to engineers to contractors to owners/operators, the people at the event will be the types that you want to be connecting with to strengthen relationships or start new ones.