“Like surfers eying fifty foot winter waves off Oahu’s north shore, many start-ups confronted with such a challenge simply head to another beach.”
But the potential rewards for companies that could help clients to develop more efficient schedules are tantalizing. ALICE Technologies was the first to enter these waters, creating a category. Others will follow. By using ALICE’s AI-powered optimization platform to create and experiment with scheduling choices, a major general contractor recently saved over $20 million on a large infrastructure project. In an industry in which the average project is 20% late and 80% over budget, do you think that contractors will invest in technology that enables them to hit their promised delivery dates? To use their equipment and crews more effectively? To use materials more efficiently? Of course they will. The payback period for contractors using such solutions is short, and the upside substantial. Adapting AI for scheduling requires contractors not only to learn new tools, but also to modify how they work. Change management is required, and as a result, it will be the more innovative contractors that make this shift first. But given the savings that AI-powered scheduling can bring, a gradual global migration to this new way of approaching the discipline is inevitable.
Innovation is bubbling within other areas of preconstruction. Parafin, for example, is using generative design to help their clients with site selection, for example. IrisVR is using virtual reality to enable teams to run design reviews with anyone, anywhere. Scheduling hasn’t seen this same level of entrepreneurial attention -- until now. With AI, contractors can now create millions of scheduling options for a project within an afternoon and then select the scheduling path that best suits their business goals. Cracking the code that makes this possible is no easy matter. But the same computing power that is enabling heavy equipment to operate autonomously and drones to interpret the data they are gathering on job sites is now available to solve the fiendishly difficult challenges of construction scheduling. Prepare for disruption.