Intelligent Technologies in the Construction Sector

“The Construction Industry meets University for Innovation”

MUSCAT The third joint SAP-GUtech/OES Industry workshop highlighting challenges and opportunities of the digitalization of the construction industry was held at the Crowne Plaza Muscat Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday. GUtech assumed the task to set-up a SAP NextGen Chapter in 2018. SAP has been facilitating a SAP Dual Training for 25 SAP selected students.

“The construction industry contributes with 9% to the Oman’s GDP and is the country’s largest employer. The sector has a huge potential for job perspectives related to Intelligent applications. Our intention with this workshop is to create solutions that enhance socio-economic growth values for society and for its citizens,” said Heiderose Moossen, Manager Vocational Training and Industry Relations, GUtech, TSSC Department and main organizer of the event. Especially Building Information Modelling, Augmented Reality, the Internet of Things, in-memory and graph computing could provide new business value and operational excellence.

To link the academia and the industry, GUtech has set-up a NextGen Lab in collaboration with SAP last year. “We wish to listen to students, our future employees and build up their skills for the future,” said Mohsen Al Lawati, Accounts Manager at SAP who introduced SAP to the audience. The construction industry is one of the least digitalized sectors worldwide,” said Mohsen Al Lawati.

Challenges and opportunities of digitalization for the construction industry are diverse, including empowering females and reducing the gender gap in the construction and engineering field. “We female architects would like to go to the construction site” said Rafia Al Bahlani, a young architect who works for Atkins. Intelligent technologies could facilitate more female employment opportunities in operations.

Prof. Dr. Nafaa Jabeur from the Department of Computer Sciences at GUtech said in his presentation on the “Intelligent Construction from the Sky” that there are many opportunities for the application of drones in the construction sector in Oman. These opportunities include enhancing operations while facilitating communications between decision-makers and workers, monitoring the daily progress of the construction site, 3D modeling, volumetric measurement, thermal imaging, optimizing costs for project management and maintenance, reducing health and safety threats, to improve the quality of work.

Jobin George, Business Development Manager from Bauer Nimr Oman introduced the application of the SAP Business One Software in Project Management. Bauer Nimr has been using SAP to streamline operations and to simplify processes, multiple cost units and to optimize the overall user productivity while creating more transparency.

The Industry workshop closed with an open forum and a discussion, where the audience discussed and collected their vision on challenges, opportunities and the way ahead for Intelligent Technologies in the Construction Sector. Most feared is the high investment for systems, that digitalize and re-engineer operations of an organization and support its Project Management processes. However, these systems can also help save money: ARAMCO logged in their accounts 80 Mio USD / anno by introducing a customized SAP systems, that run its operations streamlined, efficiently with regard to cost and time savings. The opportunities would be found in safer construction sites, raise skill levels, gender equality, as site progresses can be monitored by women from their office desks. Eventually smart industries will become the norm and facilitate life and work quality for blue- and white collar employees alike.

(c) GUtech; Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Heiderose Moossen

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