3rd Annual Digital Construction Summit: Interview With The Chairwoman Dr. Ilka May
We had the privilege of interviewing the 3rd Annual Digital Construction Summit Chairwoman, Dr. Ilka May, CEO of LocLab Consulting Gmbh, before the event. Learn about her experience in the construction industry and what she expects from this year's summit.
Can you tell us more about LocLab Consulting GmbH and the latest digital construction technology you are utilising?
We create "Digital Twins" - virtual copies of real-world assets and spaces, three-dimensional, technically perfect and amazingly real. Digital Twins are increasingly used across many industries, mostly in transport, energy, nuclear, telecoms, maritime, aviation and security.
We use AI and technology from the gaming industry in our production process. A vast object library is at the heart of our technology, containing many thousand digital representations of real-world objects. We process input data, like photographs, point clouds or other data in our vendor-neutral “ToolChain”. This is like an assembly line of algorithms, enabling an outstanding degree of automation in the digital production process. In combination with our library, they enable the digital models to be object-based vector models – often referred to as BIM Models.
How is LocLab Consulting GmbH handling the security risks that come with evolving technology?
We have very robust security measures in place, for example we have a three-tier information security system, from uncritical to critical to highly critical. When we use cloud-based services for data transfer, we make sure that they are certified compliant with the most widely-accepted security and privacy standards and regulations in the world, such as ISO 27001/2, ISO27018/17 and SOC 2. Before transferring data abroad, we use algorithms to filter personal data that falls under the GDPR policy.
You were a speaker at our 2nd Annual Digital Construction Summit. Did topics that were discussed or ideas that had been shared there make a visible impact on the industry?
The summit in 2019 covered a broad variety of topics spanning from VR/AR, over standardization, 3D printing, platforms to big data, security and sustainability. I think we all realize that all these topics are having an increasing impact on the construction industry and beyond. We must not forget that the construction sector contributes significantly to economic output. The built environment describes the places and spaces created or modified by people including buildings and infrastructure such as transportation systems, energy and water. The digital construction summit showed an impressive amount of innovation coming out of the supply chain.
What advice do you have for companies who are struggling with digitization in the construction sector?
There are three things that I would like to share:
- Plan your actions and act on your plan. This will help you to prioritize your interventions and investments.
- Understand the problem you are trying to solve – or the gains you are trying to achieve. If you don’t understand why you are doing something, go back to the last point you were clear about it.
- If you are a client organisation, don’t try to solve your supplier’s problem. Create breathing space for the supply chain to innovate and focus on your own job – making good decisions, dealing with risks, check, verify and approve. Learn how to use data to become better at what you are doing.
Which of the latest technology innovations in digital construction are you most interested in at the moment?
Obviously our own! We have recently moved from terrestrial photography as our standard input data to videogrammetry. Using action cameras for capturing data makes us even cheaper, faster and provides better quality. I’m fascinated to see how algorithms can be trained and learn to produce better outputs over time. So real AI, not just rule-based algorithms, is something that I’m very interested in personally.
What are the next steps for the Digital Construction industry? Can you share your thoughts on where the industry might move or develop?
I don’t have a crystal ball either, but I can tell you what I would like to see happening. I hope that the industry including policymakers and budget holders will stop to drive quality to the bottom by squeezing the last penny out of the supply chain by trying to reduce capex. Compared to the operational costs of an asset and the total costs of providing services to the consumers of assets, capex is by far the smallest number. I would like to see more asset operators using data to improve the availability and performance of their assets and use data to do so.
What do you expect from the 3rd Annual Digital Construction Summit?
Meeting old friends and new faces, having good and controversial discussions, see what people are up to and what they want to share with us.