Tracking Infrastructure

Why 'Reality Capture' Will Change Precast

Posted by Jeff Pollock

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Nov 23, 2018 4:41:08 PM


Smart City Infrastructure

If you are not familiar with the term 'reality capture' you are probably not alone. Now is a good time to become so, however, because this will be the core of 'smart infrastructure'. You are probably thinking: "Sure, some day, maybe."                  (Graphic courtesy of National Geospacial Advisory Committee)

Our guess is that precast manufacturers will need to offer some form of reality capture with every infrastructure product they sell in 5 years or less.  

Reality capture, broadly stated, is the collection of information about physical products in digital form. In the case of civil construction, this is critical because uncertainty of underground infrastructure creates a major drag on productivity.

Consider these factoids that Geoff Zeiss (principal at Between the Poles, an Ottawa, Canada think tank) recently reported in his address to a Columbia University conference on the future of infrastructure:

  • In 2016 (alone) there were 390,366 instances of utilities being hit during installation at an average cost of $4,000. Including direct and indirect costs, this is estimated to have cost a $50 billion drag on the economy.
  • Construction bids are routinely inflated by 10- 30% to cushion for unknown costs related to the risk of hitting underground utilities.
  • A Penn State study concluded that $21 is saved for every dollar invested in improved location information about underground infrastructure.

There are now national efforts directed at creating more efficiency through reality capture:

1) Citing that data contributes £50 billion to the UK economy each year, the National Infrastructure Commission of Great Britain concluded in its report, Data Capture for the Public Good:

"Data and the new technologies that analyse data will be key to getting more out of existing infrastructure. Areas like sensors, digitalisation, the internet of things, big data, and AI can all create opportunities for improving the way the UK operates infrastructure, maintains existing assets, and enhances the capacity and resilience of its networks."

2) In its December 2017 report, The Key to Smart Infrastructure Investments, the US National Geospacial Advisory Committee concluded:

"All levels of government and private entities have a role to play in using geospatial technologies to enhance the efficiency of infrastructure renewal."

It is clear that the market needs reality capture and its progression is inevitable as more municipalities want 'smart infrastructure'. (You can read more about this in the Smart Infrastructure Market Report we published last year.)

How can precast participate? By selling 'smart products' that we call Connected ConcreteToday, it involves an embedded RFID tag to create a serial number for each piece that is used as a reference for digital information collected about the piece. This digital information can be sourced back to a BIM model or geospacial mapping system. In the future, Connected Concrete will also include geo-trackers and sensors embedded in each piece.

Infrastructure manufacture and construction will require the same integration with information technology that virtually every other industry has been experiencing in the past ten years. Reality capture is likely to be a driving force... and it will appear to happen out of the blue. Smart precast manufacturers who embrace this early will be market leaders in a new paradigm of infrastructure manufacture.

If you would like to reduce operating costs AND position your plant to be ready for reality capture, we are happy to work with you.  Consider joining our Idencia 101 program. Implementation is provided at reduced cost and our guided format requires a time commitment of just 2-3 hours per week.

The program launches January 7, 2019 and will be limited to 10 participants. Click below to see the details and hold a place for yourself until we give you all the information you need for your participation decision.


Click here to be directed to  Idencia 101


 About Idencia

Our mission at Idencia is to elevate the productivity of manufacturers. We offer precast RFID tracking solutions that improve productivity and offer value throughout the value chain. As a cloud-hosted product tracking system that is seamless between manufacturers, contractors and asset managers, Idencia adds information value to all, eliminates redundancy and saves time. 


Topics: Smart Infrastructure, Market Insights, Connected Concrete, Productivity

About this blog

Tracking Infrastructure is a blog about innovation in the manufacture, construction and management of infrastructure.

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