Artificial intelligence (AI) is close to impacting “all parts of our overall construction and design lifecycle,” Josh Kanner, AI and Analytics Product Strategy Lead at Oracle Construction and Engineering, told attendees of a February 8 webinar, “Predictive Analytics: How Leading Owners Unify Data to Proactively Manage Their Projects & Portfolios,” sponsored by Engineering News-Record and Oracle. 

“We are going to forget about the word ‘AI’ in five years. It’s just going to be what we expect,” Kanner said. He envisions a future where "it's like today when you are writing an email or sending a text, we expect autocomplete. A lot of people don't know [that] if you go into the photo app on your phone, you can type in the word ‘tree,’ or ‘dog,’ or ‘beer,’ and it will find those pictures, that’s using AI.”

AI will “impact all parts of the plan, build, and operate cycles, where [today] there’s a lot of wasted time,” Kanner said.

Kanner predicts, "You are going to have higher value-per-action category and usage of AI in predictive analytics. From saving a user five minutes in writing a project correspondence or an RFI or looking at an invoice to saving a COO or head-of-risk VP $5 million because you are making a better decision on the project schedule or how you should manage your budget. From five minutes to five million bucks, AI is going to impact all parts of our overall construction and design lifecycle.”

Other panelists were also bullish about AI in the construction industry, if their goals differed, at least for the near term.

“The fields where [AI will impact construction the most] are administrative and capturing, and what we actually see in use cases, … the points where you waste a lot of time not doing productive work. [That] is where we see the most value,” said Johan Kroon, Managing Director, Capital Projects, Accenture. “We see clients gravitating toward that part so [they] can focus on work that adds value," he said.

“I agree,” Ian Jablonski, Director of Strategy for Systems Data and Services at Northwell Health, told attendees. “But we are focusing on moving as many processes online as possible so we can have all that data in our lake. We’re aligning with our IT and digital information departments as we build out a data warehouse. Then that data becomes more valuable as a resource to make informed decisions, especially for executive and strategic leadership.”

At Northwell, “We want to answer questions like ‘Where do we have available space?’ ‘Where do we need a medical practice?’ ‘Where are our assets?’ and ‘What vendor should we use?’ And, hopefully, ‘What’s the total cost of ownership?’ starting with a space search, through lease signing, through constructions and commissioning, and marrying that with revenue and ongoing operational expenses to get a total cost of ownership. Once we have the data in place, we can better explore how to use machines and predictive analytics," Jablonski said.