Technology & Innovation

CI Hosts Visionaries Forum

For its eighth consecutive year, the Construction Institute (CI) is hosting its most popular event, the Visionaries Forum. The forum, held in Hartford, Conn., provides a platform for new ideas, strategies, and technologies to be shared and presented to AECO professionals in New England.

As the media sponsor for this year’s event, we are highlighting all aspects of the term “visionary.” What does it mean for the AECO professional, the company, and the end user?

In order to be a visionary, one needs to be involved with an organization that fosters forward thinking and promotes an innovative culture. Okay, check. Once we have that in place . . . what about the tools to implement these forward-thinking ideas? This is where technology comes into play.

So, let’s break it down. There’s virtual reality technology (VR), which is software (usually a head-mounted display with a screen controlled by a computer) that creates an experience that becomes your reality. A great example of this technology is Theia Interactive out of Chico, California. This company provides the latest VR technology for a number of industries, including construction and design.

Then, we have augmented reality (AR), which is essentially technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.  

Finally, there is mixed reality (MR), which is the one that really had me stumped. According to an article written by Eric Johnson on, mixed reality lets the user see the real world (such as AR) while also seeing believable, virtual objects (such as VR). And then it anchors those virtual objects to a point in real space, making it possible to treat them as “real,” at least from the perspective of the person who can see the MR experience.

CI’s 8th Annual Visionaries Forum panel brings together a developer, a strategist, a distributor, and a customer to share their knowledge and experience with technology and celebrate our industry’s ever-evolving future!

Here is what they told HP:

“Given the velocity of technology development today, infrastructure planners, designers, and contractors need to overcome their aversion to risk and new technology to avoid being blindsided by those who are willing to take advantage of digitization.”
~ Terry Bennett, senior industry strategist, Autodesk Inc. 

“With augmented reality, you can take a building information model (BIM) and project it at scale on the construction site. This technology allows the user to seamlessly manage workflows and will eventually eliminate paper drawings.”
~ Paul Sells, director of industrial solutions at Daqri

“Innovation comes from convergence. Technologists already know the benefits of software and new features, and construction workers know the pain points they face every day. When we bring the two together, magic happens, and we can design a better future for everyone.” 
~ Alissa Briggs, head of design at Plangrid

“As CMs, one of the inherent risks in our role is driving innovation for innovation’s sake, letting the “cool” factor eclipse practicality or otherwise over-engineering a solution. That’s why Skanska’s employee-driven Innovation Grant Program is such an important forum. It leverages the ingenuity and creativity of our people to inform and ground our technology and innovation strategies.”

~ Director of market strategy, innovative construction solutions, Skanska