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Smart Data and the Digital Planning of Buildings

Carolin Petterson

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Quite often, contractors and anyone else involved in the project find themselves in a situation where a building takes longer and costs more to build than expected. This is the case because with some projects they simply fail when it comes to coordinating all the assignments and dealing with errors that come up. Luckily, as we see technology advance more and more there is a solution to this problem and it’s called Building Information Modeling or BIM. This is a piece of technology that allows experts to display blueprints clearly in 3D and provides them with all the additional information necessary for completing the project quickly and efficiently. But what’s the digital planning of buildings all about? How does it work? Why do we need it? And what does it mean for the future? Read on to find out.

What’s the reason for using smart data?

There’s no need for us to say that there are so many things that have to be done when constructing a building. Operating cranes, pouring the floor, and inserting power cables in walls are just some of the things that have to be done in order to bring a building to life. And you probably believe all of these make a perfectly choreographed process. However, with all those things that have to be done, achieving perfect cohesion is almost never possible. Not only do things like this make contractors’ job more difficult but they also result in irritated clients, added costs and huge delays. Since there’s nothing contractors can do in order to get this problem solved, a change in technology needed to be made. Thanks to experts who work in this field, the entire construction industry is now turning towards smart data and virtual world. More specifically, the industry is now relying on BIM, the technology we’ve already mentioned above. This means there are no more static 2D blueprints that were responsible for all the misunderstandings and the contractors can now rely on 3D blueprints which tend to be more accurate.

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How does the digital planning of buildings work?

The digital planning of buildings by using 3D blueprints is what building industry is all about at the moment. These things are designed to plan the process of construction to be as quick and efficient as possible. The key to BIM is the use of virtual model that contains all the data about the project. Basically, this model is a digital twin of the building that’s being constructed. This digital twin is used to collect data such as costs, deadlines and technical specifications which makes contractors’ job much easier. This is done by linking all the phases of the project to the necessary information, and this results in all the data used in the project coming from a single source, which wasn’t the case with traditional planning of buildings. Therefore, BIM allows the specialists from all the field to access the same 3D model and use identical data when planning their work. However, it’s not only them who’ll benefit from using technologies like this. Clients can now get more accurate information about when their project is going to be finished and how much it’s going to cost them.

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What does it mean for the future?

Even though the use of 3D blueprints allows contractors and everyone else involved in the project to coordinate, all the equipment used when building with 2D blueprints is still very much needed. Not only this, every project requires professionals who will make the most of this new type of model and work quickly and efficiently. For example, when it comes to the formwork, experts such as those at TDK formwork are needed in order to get the job done.

Резултат слика за 3D blueprints allows contractors and everyone else involved in the project to coordinate, all the equipment used when building with 2D blueprints

While all the projects still require equipment and professionals to handle the task, the use of 3D blueprints will help when it comes to any future building management activities. For example, if you want to tear down all the walls on a single floor and form an open-plan office, by using the 3D model, you should be able to get all the information about the time and costs of this project. Not only this, but by turning to 3D blueprints you should be able to adjust the ventilation and heating systems in the new office. With old 2D blueprints, tasks like this would take more time and effort, and chances are they wouldn’t be as accurate.

All in all, it’s safe to say that technology is playing a crucial role in everything we do and such is the case with building. Data is more important than ever and there are new ways experts in building industry can harness it. Smart data we can now collect is slowly changing the way every project is being tackled, since it makes cohesion possible and leaves almost no room for errors. And with more buildings being planned this way, we can expect building maintenance activities in the future to become much easier which is something experts always aim at. Technology is advancing at such a rapid pace and we can’t possibly imagine all the new updates building industry is going to see in the years to come.

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Business

Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing Your Digital Marketing

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In the hyper-connected world that we live in today, it’s a common occurrence for a smaller business to team up with other agencies in order to provide a full service. This gives them an opportunity to focus on their core tasks and keeps the business model quite simple. One of the most outsourced tasks (alongside IT, HR and customer support) is digital marketing. Now, digital marketing is an umbrella term, which means that you can still outsource a part of your marketing-related tasks while performing other tasks on your own. Regardless of what choice you make, there are advantages and downsides. Here are some of them.

1.      Advantage: Getting the results much faster

The first thing you should understand about your digital marketing is the fact that you’ll be getting the results much faster than if you were to make an in-house team. The latter may take a long time to pull off, due to the fact that you need to hire staff, buy hardware and pay for software licenses, organize the team and draft a strategy on your own. Keep in mind that this is how long it takes without you waiting for the team to become experienced enough. Once you add this into the mix and realize that time is, indeed, a finite resource, you’ll realize that outsourcing gets you results much faster.

2.      Disadvantage: Losing touch with your brand

The problem with outsourcing is that you’re losing personal touch with what your brand is all about. Sure, you know the starting point and you’re aware of the direction you want your brand to take, but you can never really know how your business is going to evolve over the course of time. Therefore, it wouldn’t be impossible for you to lose touch with your brand. In time, you might have trouble understanding what your organization is all about, which is about as bad as it gets.

3.      Advantage: Experts perform specialized tasks

Some aspects of your digital marketing are fairly simple and easy to pull off as a DIY project. Others, nonetheless, may require skill, experience and technical prowess in the field. Add to this the need for specialized tools and years of experience using it and you might just get the full picture. Sometimes, it’s not just about the fact that you couldn’t do it. It’s about the fact that you couldn’t do it as effectively as an expert could. A perfect example of this is the art of social media analytics, which lays as the basis of your future digital marketing strategy. A slight misinterpretation here could lose you a small fortune in the future, which is why it’s best left to experts.

4.      Disadvantage: Changing partners

Even if you’re happy with the choice that you’ve made when outsourcing, not a lot of partnerships go the distance. You might soon be forced to change partners for several reasons. For instance, even though you’re satisfied with the service they’re providing, your business has ever-growing digital marketing needs that they can’t keep up with. Other than this, a mistake (a partnership ending one), could happen on both ends, which is why they might be the ones to cancel the collaboration. Either way, switching to a new partner might be an occurrence that your business, your brand and your public image might come to suffer for.

advantage

5.      Advantage: Simplicity

The last thing you need to understand is the fact that the simplicity of your business operation plays a huge factor when it comes to your chance of success. This is especially true for inexperienced or first-time entrepreneurs. The more complex your business structure is, the bigger the chance is that something will go horribly wrong.

Moreover, by outsourcing tasks that you’re ill-equipped to handle, you’ll get your hands free to focus on those tasks that you do know quite a bit about. Let’s be realistic, all the areas that are usually outsourced are additions to your business but your ability to provide a service or sell a product serve as a core of your business model. Put simply, outsourcing will help you set your priorities straight.

Conclusion

As you can see, some of the above-listed advantages and disadvantages are universally true for outsourcing, in general, regardless if it’s digital marketing that we’re talking about. On the other hand, it’s also one of the areas of your business that you’re the most likely to outsource, which is why we felt obliged to go into the specifics, where it was necessary. The choice is up to you but now, at least, you know what you’re up against.

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Social media giants, Facebook urges publishers to leverage creative content for improved revenue

Segun Balogun

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Social media giants, Facebook, has called on publishers to leverage on creative content for better revenue generation.

Facebook’s Strategic Media Partnerships Manager for Sub Sahara Africa, Jocelyn Muhutu-Remy, made the call while speaking at a session tagged ‘Art of monetizing good storytelling through the social media’ hosted by The Guardian during the Social Media Week at Victoria Island, Lagos.


Muhutu-Remy urged social media publishers to avoid clustering on already competitive content publishings.

“Propose what is different and unique to you. It is not about the followers you have but the uniqueness of your content. I advise starting by promoting your page using your location to reduce pay.”

Muhutu-Remy cited an example of a publisher on Instagram whose main contents were on natural hair care and maintenance for women and urged social media publishers to follow suit.

She added that brands would only be attracted and convinced to partner and invest in a publisher whose contents is specific and specialized.

Storytelling is about engaging your audience and ensuring they can relate with your content subject,” Mutuhuru-Remy said.

Other speakers at the session moderated by Guardian Life editor, Chidera Muoka, were Instagram publishers, Sisi Yemmie, a food blogger and Comedian Wofai Fada.

Wofai Fada, a comedian, said passion is key for any publisher that wants to thrive in the digital publishing space.

“It comes easy because it’s something I love doing. Passion is necessary to push one further.”

She advised publishers to be consistent and continually renew strategies to communicate with their audience.

Sisi Yemmie, a food blogger, said specialization in Instagram publishing has given her an edge in digital publishing.

She urged other publishers to harness Google analytics tool to examine the interests of their audience, as well as means to grow their platforms.

“Your social media analytics helps you decide what types of contents you should post and what time of the day you should post. You need to be aware of what type of content is to be promoted, but be creative and dynamic too,” Sisi Yemmie said.

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Business

Tech Trends That Are Changing Legal Industry

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There’s a statistic that about 89 percent of lawyers use the mobile to check their email on a daily basis, which is a lot above the average for the general population. Add to this the fact that 34 percent of lawyers use tablets in the courtroom and that 27 percent of law firms have a legal blog and you might start getting the full picture. The world of technology and the legal industry are tightly intertwined. This means that every new invention and tech trend changes the landscape of the legal industry for better or worse. With that in mind, here are several tech trends that are making a massive change as we speak.

1.      The blockchain technology

The reason why this, relatively new, trend could introduce such a change, is due to the fact that it can be a basis for the phenomenon known as self-executing contracts (smart contracts). Through this computerized transaction protocol, you can create a scenario in which after a certain party makes a certain payment or meets a certain requirement, it receives a certain reward for it. With the help of blockchain technology, such methods would become a lot more reliable and less likely to be abused or misused.

2.      Technology training

The increase in the amount of legal software getting developed each year is a clear indicator that it soon might be impossible to practice law without an arsenal consisting of various legal tools. The problem with this lies in the fact that a huge portion of the legal world lacks the training to use these tools in the right way. Sure, this is far from a complex tech trend you might have expected, yet, if this change is to become a systemic one, it needs to come from above. Namely, law firms need to make these courses and training sessions mandatory for employees in key positions.

3.      Online mock trials

Benefits of a mock court trial are numerous. For instance, they help keep your team sharp and increase the risk awareness of your clients. Some firms, on the other hand, use these mock trials in order to establish the dollar range for the settlement, which also makes a massive difference for your bottom line. Furthermore, you get to test your arguments and see which topics need further clarification. Mock trials can be held in person, though nowadays there are platforms that offer this service online. Chances are, this feature will be used more and more in the future.

4.      Online answering services

The first contact with the client is incredibly relevant but, at present, clients are more likely to contact a law firm via their website than via their landline. This is why online answering services and the level of implementation of the AI technology in them could be incredibly important. Moreover, it broadens the concept of the online legal business, due to the fact that clients don’t really have to come down to the office in order to get a legal tip or a quote. The simplest queries can be solved immediately via this service.

5.      The paperless approach

In the past, the law industry was one of the most paper-hungry fields out there. All those contracts (and their copies), materials and transcripts required thousands of sheets for every single case. Nowadays, we’re looking towards a paperless future. The funny part of this whole ordeal lies in the fact that judicial and regulatory systems are the ones insisting on this and it’s on lawyers and legal firms to adapt. Sure, this may seem as logical and pragmatic, yet, for a lot of organizations, this change is coming at too fast a pace.

Conclusion

Of course, there are some statistics that aren’t as optimistic. For instance, about 22.6 percent of law firms have no social media presence whatsoever. In this day and age, such a trend is really hard to imagine, though obviously it is present. This alone goes to show that there’s much room for improvement. The above-listed five trends are just some of the examples how.

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