Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Trojan Horse of Safety




Was chatting with a colleague and she mentioned the importance of safety in construction.  I couldn't agree more.  Safety in construction is a Trojan Horse that can be ridden into any conference room in the country.  And the Oculus Rift is just the device to wear while doing so.

The article excerpted and linked below describes the remarkable rise of Oculus Rift as the new generation virtual reality (VR) device.  Developed with an eye on the gaming industry, I see amazing potential for the device in the built industry, especially in the arena of safety.

Teleconferencing is another idea in the works. It’s easy to imagine strapping on a Rift and finding yourself across a table from someone who is actually thousands of miles away (or at least you’ll be across from their avatar). Oculus has VR Chat proto­types in the works, and a demo that Epic Games unveiled in March allows two players wearing Rifts to interact with each other’s avatars in the same virtual living room. “The key,” Abrash says, “is generating the cues that tell us we’re in a real place in the presence of another person: eye motion, facial expressions, body language, voice, gestures. Getting all that working perfectly is a huge task, but getting it to be good enough to be widely useful may be quite doable.” 
The list of potential uses goes on. Bring a classroom full of kids inside any museum in the world—no lines, no price of admission. Hell, that goes for vacations too. Even getaways of the mental variety: Why spring for a shaman-guided ayahuasca trip in Peru when you can dive into a drug-free epiphany anytime you want? And let’s not even talk about the oft-predicted sex simulators. “Hardware, while essential, is just an enabler,” Abrash says. “In the end, the future of VR lies in the unique, compelling experiences that get created in software, and if I knew what those would be, even in broad outline, I would be very happy. Right now we don’t even know what kind of artwork and rendering techniques work in VR, much less what experiences.”
Mining, oil & gas and commercial construction all leap to mind as prime areas in which a VR device could be deployed with great success in construction.  I wrote about the Oculus Rift when if first emerged on the technology stage - and long before the vultures as Facebook snapped it up - and I continue to believe these VR devices can add real value, especially with respect to training and safety, in the built industry.

We should keep an eye on this stuff.


James


Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV


Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom


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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Quantum Computing and Construction




Many in the construction industry are, or should be, keenly and painfully aware that the industry lags other industries significantly when it comes to labor productivity.  Professor Paul Teicholz has hammered this issue, very effectively, for over 20 years now.  Based on everything I've read, it appears the construction industry simply failed to get on board the internet train when it left the station.  Hell, just this week Home Depot finally broke down stopped faxing paperwork related to orders for supplies and began emailing that paper work.  Even law firms use email!  Geez.

So why should we talk about Quantum Computing in Construction if we haven't even weaned everyone off their fax machine?  Because that's where the future is.

The article excerpted and linked below describes D-Wave's efforts to create a quantum computer.  One of the more interesting points in the article is that D-Wave's quantum computer seems to be exceptionally good at calculating / solving complex optimization problems.  Which got me to thinking.

In the built industry we are told, all the time, that the iron triangle of cost, quality and schedule cannot be broken. My contention is that's crap.  The built industry is burdened with a waste factor of at least 60% and there's no way, NO WAY, you cannot reduce cost, improve quality and build faster every single time in the built industry.  If 60% - or more - of the labor, materials and time expended on a project are wasted then building better building faster and cheaper is possible, no matter what the experts say.

But controlling all three points on the iron triangle is tough.  Reducing costs impacts quality.  Increasing quality raises costs.  Cost and quality both impact schedule.  It's absolutely true that these three points on the iron triangle are connected and when you impact one you impact the other two to some degree as well.  But isn't the ability to control cost, quality and schedule on a complex construction project really, at its core, just an optimization problem?  I believe it is.  Plus a cultural problem.  And a legal problem.  But those last two are easy to solve with the right team, it's the optimization problem that has the industry stumped.

Which brings me to the value of Quantum Computing in Construction.  To run a full blown optimization analysis on every critical decision on a complex construction project at every moment in time that such a decision is necessary is the Holy Grail of the BIM / VDC world. But to date we've been thwarted by the inability of our computers to wield the data found in massive BIM models.  And simultaneously keeping your finger on the pulse of the costs, quality and schedule of a project is a monumental task.  But, again, it's just an optimization problem driving the the facts / events as the occur / manifest themselves.

Which brings me to the Wired Magazine article excerpted and linked below.  When discussing optimization the author says, in part:

By 2007, D-Wave had managed to produce a 16-qubit system, the first one complicated enough to run actual problems. They gave it three real-world challenges: solving a sudoku, sorting people at a dinner table, and matching a molecule to a set of molecules in a database. The problems wouldn’t challenge a decrepit Dell. But they were all about optimization, and the chip actually solved them. “That was really the first time when I said, holy crap, you know, this thing’s actually doing what we designed it to do,” Rose says. “Back then we had no idea if it was going to work at all.” But 16 qubits wasn’t nearly enough to tackle a problem that would be of value to a paying customer. He kept pushing his team, producing up to three new designs a year, always aiming to cram more qubits together.

The age of quantum computing is still a ways off.  The D-Wave is experimental and hardly ready for prime time, though Lockheed Martin, Google and others have seen fit to purchase access to the machine.  That said, there's a lot of work to be done.  But as technology improves, year after year, the excuses for failure in the construction industry ring more and more hollow.

I'm looking forward to tackling the existing problems with the tools we have and preparing for a future in which we have even better tools.  Meanwhile, I suspect we will find it easier and easier to control all three points on the iron triangle as we develop new and improved technology, management tools and business processes.


 
Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV


Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom


Collaborative Construction Website
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Monday, May 19, 2014

Twitter for Construction




FieldLens is a communications platform developed by construction industry professionals for construction industry professionals.  The tool is a hybrid social networking / media platform that combines the useful elements of Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook on a professional communications platform that can be deployed and leveraged on a construction site.

I ran across FieldLens when I clicked a link through Mike Rowe's TradesHub which Collaborative Construction supports through this Blog.

As an advocate of open and honest communications on construction projects I view the FieldLens as an intriguing step in the right direction and I'm looking forward to learning more about it.   

I encourage readers to check it out and peruse the FieldLens website.



Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV


Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom


Collaborative Construction Website
No Silos Website















Saturday, May 17, 2014

Haters gonna hate; Deniers gonna deny.




What you gonna do?

Regular readers know whom much I adore the science deniers who insist man made global warming is a thing - and we ought to commit economic suicide to stop it - so the pics and links below should be old hat for them.  New readers, especially those snowed by the global warmists mantra need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Science Denying = NOT Science

Science Denying - MOCK Worthy

Bonus points in the above link for #Hashtagdiplomacy and the need, generally to #bringbackourballs when it comes to the Obama Doctrine.  If you don't know what the Obama Doctrine is, its the reverse of Teddy Roosevelt's "Walk Softly & Carry a Big Stick."  The Obama doctrine is to "Talk Loudly & Carry a Big #Hashtag."

Science Denying = Lost Lawsuits

P.S. Michael Mann - of Mann Made Global Warming Fame - is a Lying as Liar.

I throw up in my mouth a little each time I read the drivel published by the science deniers who support "global warming".  What a crock.  As a philosophy major and a lawyer I am keenly aware of the difference between a Sophist and and Karl Popper's stringent Scientific Method.

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV


Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom


Collaborative Construction Website
No Silos Website















Thursday, May 15, 2014

Learning a Work Ethic




Ben Sasse gave a great TEDx Talk on the crisis in higher education.  Very interesting.  Lot's of work to do here, but at least there are a few people thinking about what needs to be done.



Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV


Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom


Collaborative Construction Website
No Silos Website