Author: Peggy Smedley

I recently came across a study that says nearly 90% of skilled tradespeople are satisfied with their careers—and that this number has actually grown since the pandemic. What’s more, more than 65% of pros believe AI (artificial intelligence) won’t replace their jobs, and half are even excited about its potential to help them better serve homeowners. Here’s my question: who did they interview? Because there is a lot of conflicting research out there. The Skills Shortage The reality of the situation is the skills today are seriously lacking. We know from the U.S. BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) numbers and…

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Robotics have been around for decades, with a rich history in both business and consumer applications, which we will explore here on this blog. However, we are at an interesting precipice in time where we can now combine robotics with new intelligence that comes from gen AI (artificial intelligence). Let’s take some time to explore the wide world of robotics—yesterday, today, and tomorrow. A Robotics History Lesson A robot will often drum up an image of a helper—think Rosie from the Jetsons—or a machine rising-up—imagine Terminator. Stanford suggests the reality is the term robotics was first coined by Russian-born American…

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What impact do PLAs (project labor agreements) have on construction projects? That is the question one new study aims to answer out of the ILEPI (Illinois Economic Policy Institute) and the PMCR (Project for Middle Class Renewal) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. First, a definition and a bit of a history lesson. As most in the construction industry already know, project labor agreements are pre-hire agreements between the project owner and labor organizations. Often, they establish the terms and conditions of employment for skilled craft workers on large infrastructure projects. Most PLAs include provisions for preventing strikes and…

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Supply-chain weaknesses have come into the spotlight in recent years, but with this we also have big opportunities for new innovations to create true transformation. As this happens, we will need people, process, and technology to work in tandem to ensure smooth and successful implementation of supply-chain technologies. To proceed, we must take into consideration the most significant trends for our supply chain. Perhaps the notable is that man and machine must continue work side-by-side closely, enabling new efficiencies and faster decision making. Of course, this is only the beginning. Gartner suggests there are eight remarkable trends to watch when…

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The construction industry has come a long way from the iconic photo of the empire state building being built with nearly a dozen men perched atop a beam with paper blueprints, cigarettes, and newsboy caps. In the past century, safety has become a top priority for many construction companies. A safe construction job prevents accidents, deaths, and injuries, of course, but it also helps to avoid financial losses as well. Now, ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors) is claiming construction companies can be nearly six times safer than the industry average through best practices. The Annual 2024 Safety Performance Report provides…

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We all know the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on travel, but it is now official that air traffic has passed pre-pandemic levels as of earlier this year. The IATA (Intl. Air Transport Assn.) recently released data for February 2024 global passenger demand and found the industry is ticking upward. Total demand was up 21.5% compared to February 2023, with total capacity up 18.7% year-over-year. Additionally, the February load factor was 80.6% compared to February 2023. All this to say, air travel is back—and we will likely see the trend continue. Julie Shainock, global managing director, travel, transportation, logistics, Microsoft,…

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There are many pros and cons to solar. Here on this blog, I have discussed some of the opportunities where solar can help and the challenges surrounding solar such as cost. The bottomline is growth is occurring and new programs are being launched, so construction professionals need to carefully consider how the future of solar will impact construction projects in the days ahead. The State of Solar The Solar Energy Industries Assn., suggests in the last decade alone, solar has experienced an average annual growth of 22%, due to several factors such as federal policies, declining costs, and increasing demand…

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We all know generative AI (artificial intelligence) is transforming industries—and in many cases the long-term impact is still yet to be known. But the short-term impact is keenly apparent. Consider the example of education. Most education systems around the world on built on this deficit model, meaning what you don’t know, but AI could empower the abundance of a human being’s ability to learn. “We see it as an unbelievable enabling machine to overcome the limits of teaching, to overcome the limits of individual humans being the only teachers,” says Michael Crow, president, Arizona State University. “We think this is…

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The infrastructure construction market is facing numerous challenges: aging infrastructure, population growth, climate change, new burdens on the electrical grid, an aging workforce, and increased complexity of projects, just to name a few. This is creating a perfect storm—and a perfect opportunity for new technologies such as digital twins. This is the conversation I had recently on The Peggy Smedley Show with Michael Campbell, chief product officer, Bentley Systems, who says the infrastructure construction market is ripe for leveraging technology like digital twins. “There is this interesting dynamic,” he explains. “We have these professionals who have been doing things the…

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More than a decade ago, we started this conversation surrounding the IoT (Internet of Things) in manufacturing. Now, with the rise of AI (artificial intelligence) and the industrial metaverse, we have new opportunities with ML (machine learning) and deep learning to sharpen our skills, reduce mundane tasks, and improve business processes once again. We are at that next stage where we can truly improve profitability, while becoming more efficient, all with the help of technology. This was reinforced on my recent trip to the Innovation Design Lab and the Houston Microsoft Technology Center, aka MTC, which helps enterprise customers tackle…

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