With Cloud technologies, it is no longer a question of being able to quickly store and access the scanned data, it is a question of changing the way businesses work. The Cloud is not only a safe and reliable tool for surveyors. It is a force for change in the industry. Surveyors must understand the radical change brought about by Cloud technology and rethink their workflow to take advantage of these new advances.
At the end of 2015, it was estimated that 90% of French companies were using at least one Cloud service. Every time you send an email, you’re using the cloud. Whenever you watch a movie, you use the Cloud. To have a clearer view of the impact of Cloud technology, it is necessary to break down the two main elements that make up cloud services: “Software as a Service” (SaaS) which are software based on a subscription system. such as Office 365, Slack or, for surveyors, ATIS Cloud and “Infrastructure-as-a-Service” (IaaS) which are essentially calculation and storage on demand of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
For surveyors, so far, SaaS solutions specific to the Cloud have had an impact on communication and collaboration. IaaS combined with SaaS radically changes fundamental processes such as processing and recording of point clouds. Along with several other complementary advances, the Cloud makes 3D point clouds much more accessible and efficient – offering new possibilities for surveyors in their projects.
In this article, we will see what has changed in the Cloud and 3D surveying technologies. What has happened to create an evolving and stable technological set ready to transform the Reality Capture and construction / public works markets?
Democratization of the Cloud
Cloud technology is not new. AWS has been around since 2002 and was officially launched in March 2006 (13 years ago – a year before the first iPhone). Meanwhile, it has evolved to address key issues that have slowed adoption of cloud solutions: issues such as data security and compliance, slow download speed, and confusion over prices and service levels. Fortunately, these problems are solved and the Cloud will be the dominant IT technology for years to come.
It is natural that there are security issues when adopting a Cloud Computing solution. After all, when files, programs, and other data aren’t kept safe, how can you tell if they’re protected? If you can access your data remotely, what is preventing someone else from doing it?
These concerns have been resolved over time and some believe that by highlighting IT security policies, businesses have improved. RapidScale, for example, said that 94% of businesses have seen improved security after moving to the Cloud, with 91% saying that the Cloud has made it easier to comply with government requirements.
The key to security is data encryption. By using encryption, your data is difficult to access for anyone not authorized to access it. And when it comes to resilience, 20% of cloud users have claimed disaster recovery goals of four hours or less.
What it means for surveyors: The cloud is now able to handle the rigors of IT operations while providing processing power and storage that provide unmatched flexibility and scalability. What’s also emerging is a new generation of AI and machine learning software specifically aimed at leveraging the capabilities of cloud technology.
Speed and latency – 5G is on its way
The construction industry is one of the industries most in need of 5G development: on-site surveyors, construction crews, architects, government agencies, engineers and end customers – all in different places, all with different roles. However, it still follows the “return to factory / office” model of other industries. The evolution of 5G, cloud technology and connected objects (IoT) will change all that.
5G is the next generation of mobile communication. Data transfer speeds are 10 times faster than 4G. Speeds of up to 20 Gbps will be possible with at least 100 Mbps everywhere. But 5G is much more than just transfer speed. This innovation will create THE multifunction platform in the coming era.
Technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR) will become commonplace with remote activation provided by 5G network speeds. 5G is the foundation of what is called the fourth phase of the industrial revolution and will radically change the way companies, and more particularly surveyors, work.
What this means for surveyors: this evolution means the possibility of doing more on site, such as assembly as well as improved collaboration and communication. Field and office staff will be able to communicate and exchange information more quickly. When you combine 5G with Cloud Computing, this will allow you to process in the field (or very close to the field) the large amounts of data generated by LiDAR scanners and point clouds – with data uploaded to services Cloud processed in real time.
Cloud solutions are particularly suitable for point clouds
In all technologies, there comes a time when the hardware of the manufacturers does not depend on its own software. The stabilization of laser scanner technology has opened the door to third parties creating their own software, which has allowed rapid advances in capacity. The most important of these is the processing of online point clouds and their almost instantaneous provision for carrying out analyzes (help with plan and 3D modeling, measurements and annotations, division, automatic segmentation, etc. .).
What this means for surveyors: everything can be done much faster. You can access your point clouds faster. You can analyze your point clouds directly online. You can focus on quality and detail rather than the simplest way to manage your IT. This freedom and flexibility can make a significant difference in the overall efficiency of your workflows. 65% of respondents to an InformationWeek survey said that “the ability to respond quickly to requests from corporate customers” was one of the main reasons they migrated to a cloud solution.
BIM brings it all together
It is generally accepted that building information modeling (BIM) is the future of construction. BIM is not necessarily cloud specific, but it would be nearly impossible to deliver the benefits of BIM without cloud services.
One of the main selling points of BIM has been its ability to facilitate and improve coordination between the different stakeholders of a project. A cloud-based BIM management and collaboration process would link an entire project team, providing them with shared access to the latest project data and models, regardless of their time zone or location.
Thanks to cloud connectivity, users can access their BIM models whether in the office or in the field. Stakeholders can coordinate the planning of their activities from pre-construction to construction. Cloud services allow the process of analyzing BIM projects and facilitate the resolution of any coordination problem that may arise during complex and multidisciplinary projects.
What this means for surveyors: Surveyors will benefit from increased collaboration, smoother delivery and improved security thanks to the integration of all contributors. An additional benefit is the reduction of on-site touch-ups through better planning and design which will result in better use of time and resources.
Cloud technologies are on the way to last and they will change everything
The reason why Cloud Computing has been adopted by many industries results from its many advantages. Early adoption of the cloud has given companies the flexibility to adapt almost immediately to changes in their industry and stay ahead of the curve. They exploited the capacity to increase or reduce their Cloud capacity and bandwidth in a very short time.
Such flexibility, when applied to Reality Capture, will give you a definite competitive advantage and greatly improve your efficiency. In addition, adopting the cloud will protect your business from the huge changes that will occur in the construction market. Cloud technology is not only reliable, but it is also the central platform of the surveyor of the future.