5 ways mobile technology is changing the way architects work

A recent study carried out by RIBA showed that 87% of architects agree that digital technology is transforming the way that they work. 79% state that adopting digital technologies leads to improved project efficiencies and 35% of architects use at least one form of mixed, augmented or virtual reality, with many planning to expand their use of immersive technology and use other variants soon.

Mobile Technology is beyond impressive now though and it is designed to be used on the move, or remotely.  Most smartphones now have microprocessors which enable increased computing power in a small device.

How is mobile technology progressing how architects work?

  1. Building Information Modelling. BIM was created in 1987 when ArchiCAD became regarded by some as the first implementation of BIM.  It was the first CAD product on a PC that could create both 2D and 3D geometry and was the first commercial BIM product for personal use. The 2016 central government target which then required level 2 BIM to be employed for its projects upped the game.  Luckily mobile technology was catching up to make this much easier for those wanting to get ahead of the game.  Years before this, mobile-friendly programs were being developed and now the majority of BIM software packages either already have or are due to have a mobile-friendly version.  Those worried that the enforcement of technology would mean running between being on-site and getting in front of their PCs can be reassured.
  2. Apps. Much of the time there are specific tasks such as health and safety that are important enough to be able to access at all times.  This is probably why there are so many established and up and coming apps on the market designed for niche tasks such as these.  In addition, they can fill in areas where architects feel less comfortable such as CDM regulations, providing useful frameworks to follow when acting as principal designer.
  3. Artificial Intelligence. A good example of this might be parametric design; a design system that enables architects to play with parameters to create different types of outputs and create forms and structures that would not have otherwise been possible.  Still in its infancy compared to other technology, using AI on the move will be essential to be able to function to the best of its ability.
  4. Virtual Reality. The possibilities for this area, in particular, are endless.  Being able to take a virtual tour of a finished project enables problems to be identified at the concept stage instead of at the end where rectifying the issues might be costly and time-consuming.
  5. Communication. A very basic functionality of mobile technology that we all sometimes take for granted.  It’s only in the last few decades that making and taking phone calls anywhere is possible and now we can add video calls, multi-person video conferences and of course mobile email to the mix.  This is what mobile phones were originally designed for, and essential for any successful architect.

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