The Impact of Cloud Dynamics on Engineering and Construction

The Impact of Cloud Dynamics on Engineering and Construction

Editor's Note: This article is part of our Future of Business Technology series which focuses on what is happening to business today as a result of technology, and in turn, what's happening to the economy, the job market and IT careers.

See if any of this sounds familiar to you:  The productivity of a major American industry is said to be in a perpetual state of decline.  An antidote to this symptom turns up in the form of a proposal having already been made sometime in the 1970s by folks in the academic sector.  Naturally, skepticism ensues.  According to this proposal, technology makes feasible a new type of business interaction that could single-handedly revolutionize this particular industry and potentially cure the productivity problem.

For the remainder of the twentieth century, the bandwidth and computing power necessary to make the proposal feasible never exists in one place.  Ironically, high-powered workstations serve as clients for creating on-premise 3D visualizations of the industry's critical data.  So the computing power does exist, just in the wrong spot.  What's more, it's being used inefficiently, underutilized, wasted. 

In 2007, along comes a cloud computing-based distribution model.  Suddenly it's possible for all that computing power to be pooled into a single data center, where heavy-duty projecting power can be harnessed by thinner, lighter-weight clients.  A new class of software emerges to enable this new model.  And the academics who, for thirty-plus years, were stuck preaching to the choir, now find themselves the exalted heroes of a new and emerging industry.

About the Author

Scott M.Fulton, III has chronicled the history of computing as it happened, from the unveiling of the Apple III to the undoing of MS-DOS to the rise of the cloud. He's the author of 17 books and over 5,000 articles. Scott and his wife Jennifer run Ingenus, LLC, an editorial services provider for technology and higher education publishers. You can follow Scott on Twitter at @SMFulton3.

More from Scott Fulton

Literally within two years, the industry's market saturation rate for their new class of software catapults from zero to 89 percent, according to an industry survey.  But there is an emerging realization that many of the firms that have invested in this new SaaS model and in emerging delivery platforms, actually don't know what they are or how they're supposed to work.  And many are equally bewildered as to how they can possibly implement the changes to their business and to their culture that this new system of work demands, especially since equivalent strategy shifts are required of every partner with whom they do business.

Eventually, the roadblock is described like this:  The strategy of the business and the interests of information technology, fail to align.

Perhaps your hand is raised sky-high, and you're eager to claim this story for yourself.  And to be fair, this truly is your story to at least some degree, no matter where you work.  For a quarter-century we've had the ingredients for a modern computing network at our disposal, and we merely disposed of them. 

But perhaps nowhere else in America are the truths of this particular scenario more pronounced, more clearly black-and-white, than in construction and building engineering.  There is nothing the least bit vague about what is happening here.

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