Construction Technology and Software Rundown: Apr. 9, 2021

Here's a rundown of the latest in construction technology and software.
By Marla McIntyre
April 5, 2021

COVID-19 Resources

Airius’ PureAir™ fans neutralize pathogens, bacteria, molds and odors with Needle Point Bipolar Ionization™ to reduce infectivity of certain viruses by 90% or more. NPBI technology generates ions indoors without producing ozone or other harmful byproducts.


HCSS myField mobile employee engagement and time tracking app for heavy construction operations allows crew members to clock in and submit information on work activities for management review. The solution can be used for time management, equipment inspections, cost code work, documentation, safety observations, GPS location and maintenance requests.

ServiceMax's Engage app connects field service organizations with end customers to increase service visibility and involvement, self-service with remote support and real-time access to asset information. The turnkey app is native to ServiceMax and Salesforce.

TRUX™ delivery velocity visualization within its Order Delivery Tracker tool for material producers builds on its ability to track deliveries and get accurate arrival times for material deliveries. The widget displays the number of tons delivered per hour, the number of scheduled tons per hour, and the average delivered tons per hour.

Civilgistics management and collaboration software for civil construction helps users schedule and communicate operations and calculate materials and trucking needed for operations based on field measurements. Team members can create take-offs, setup and update operations for their projects. With real time updates, material suppliers and truck brokers can see operations organized by date and load time through the web and iOS app.


Brokk’s Vacuworx lifting attachments attach to and lift concrete, granite, marble, metal, steel and other flat, non-porous materials. The PHD Portable Vacuum Lifting System and SL 2 Subcompact Vacuum Lifting System feature wireless remote control and lightweight construction to maximize lift capacity. The PHD is powered by rechargeable LFP batteries, and the SL 2 runs on the Brokk machine’s hydraulic system. Operators can lift up to 2,500 pounds with the PHD system and up to 4,400 pounds with the SL 2 system.

Kyocera 5G ultra-rugged Android smartphone, DuraForce Ultra 5G UW, delivers ultra-durability, ultra-fast speeds and ultra-low latency on the Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband network. The DuraForce Ultra 5G leverages Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 765G mobile platform which unites 5G and AI to power select premium experiences. Other features include a scratchproof Sapphire Shield™; withstands drops of up to 5 feet onto concrete, can be immersed in water, and withstands dust, extreme temperatures, salt and hazardous work environments.

Software & In the Cloud

Trimble SysQue version 8.1 with duct, electrical and pipe prefabrication workflows for MEP contractors features increased model predictability with duct flow direction alignment and the addition of 2-point saddles to the electrical offset suite. SysQue also offers options for modifying cut duct lengths and adding gaskets to valve assemblies to populated assemblies.

Partnerships, Acquisitions & Integrations

Esri has joined the Digital Twin Consortium, a community of users, including Autodesk and Microsoft, that brings together industry, government and academia to drive consistency in vocabulary, architecture, security and interoperability of digital twin technology. Esri provides ArcGIS software to connect detailed BIM to natural surroundings, as well as connecting to and collaborating with other networks and systems.

Video & Cool Stuff

Stack’s Preconstruction Technology Report (registration required) based on survey data collected from nearly 1,000 construction industry professionals, reveals that 61% expect revenue to grow in 2021, while 20% expect it to remain steady and 9% expect a decrease; 77% believe software provides a strategic advantage to their business; and nearly 20% have already adopted technology that allows for automation of data transfer between applications.

Engineers at the University of California, Irvine and the Georgia Institute of Technology have created of a new class of mechanical metamaterials that delocalize deformations to prevent failure. They turned to tensegrity, a century-old design principle in which isolated rigid bars are integrated into a flexible mesh of tethers to produce very lightweight, self-tensioning truss structures. The team used a sophisticated direct laser writing technique to generate elementary cells then built them into eight-unit supercells that could be assembled into a continuous structure. The team demonstrated that the new metamaterials feature a 25-fold enhancement in deformability and an orders-of-magnitude increase in energy absorption over state-of-the-art lattice arrangements. While developing structural configurations for planetary landers, the Georgia Tech team discovered that tensegrity-based vehicles could withstand severe deformation, or buckling, of its individual components without collapsing, something never observed in other structures.

DroneDeploy’s State of the Drone Industry 2021: Implications for Construction(registration required) covers drone technology, how the industry will evolve in the coming years and the trends affecting construction and other asset-intensive industries. The report is based on a survey of 600+ users in 40+ countries and covers drone usage in more than 20 industries.

Robotics researchers at the University of Waterloo are developing exoskeleton legs that ‘think’ and make control decisions using AI technology. The system combines computer vision and deep-learning AI to mimic how able-bodied people walk. The researchers fitted exoskeleton users with wearable cameras and are optimizing AI computer software to process the video feed to recognize stairs, doors and other features. The next phase of the ExoNet research project involves sending instructions to motors so that robotic exoskeletons can climb stairs, avoid obstacles or take other appropriate actions based on analysis of the user’s current movement and the upcoming terrain. The latest in a series of papers on the related projects, Simulation of Stand-to-Sit Biomechanics for Robotic Exoskeletons and Prostheses with Energy Regeneration, appears in the journal IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics.

Consigli Construction’s Market Outlook Report found the pandemic has motivated subcontractors and vendors to implement technological advancements such as cost saving material management software, tool upgrades and robotics. Surveyed participants are pre-fabricating 20% more than before the pandemic and 71% of respondents noticed an increase in requests for design-assist proposals, which confirms the need for speed-to-market. A surprising 72% of the surveyed subcontractors are not concerned with staffing projects in 2021.

by Marla McIntyre

Marla McIntyre is a digital editor of CE This Week and She edited Construction Executive’s Tech Trends and Risk Management eNewsletters and is the author of more than 200 articles and publications, including Construction Executive’s annual technology predictions, Technology & Software Rundown column and an award-winning series for the Risk Management Association. Her extensive construction and risk management background includes stints as executive director the Surety Information Office and American Subcontractors Association of Metro Washington.

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