1. Building Information Modelling (BIM)

It took off in the GCC in year 2015, with the UAE and Qatar pushing for its software’s adoption last year in their local building markets.

As per Autodesk provider of the most popular CAD software in the MENA region, “BIM solutions help turn information into insight and deliver business value at every step in the process.

BIM is an intelligent model-based process that provides insight to help you plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure projects.”

  1. Drone Surveying

Following a global interest in drone technology and sensing the benefits of drones for construction site supervision, these unmanned aircrafts were brought to the UAE.  The lead was given by Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai.

These days, drones are picking up pace with the GCC’s private sector too…

  1. Transparent Solar Panels

Michigan State University technology researchers developed these panels through using a film stuck to a glass pane that lets the light in and if wired up could generate power.

It was reported in August 2014, that this team from MSU using “organic luminescent salts to absorb near-infrared energy met with success.   One only wonders as to the numerous applications of this product together with their potential impacts on the built environment.

  1. Smart Helmet

A developer of reality products has launched this ‘wearable’ in the shape of an intelligent construction practice hardhat called ‘Smart Helmet’.

It incorporates software that uses the data from the helmet’s 360° navigation cameras and industrial-grade inertial measurement unit to create a complex mathematical model that understands how to avoid potential errors in tracking.  It can figure out the entire construction site for its user, as well as notify the user about any maintenance requirements for machinery.

  1. Anti-collision Software

To promote construction site safety, Dubai-based software firm SK Solutions and technology company SAP, have developed an anti-collision system.

The platform solution uses sensors on machinery to collect and analyse data, enabling safety and efficiency across a construction site. The 3D system monitors position; movement; weight; inertia; wind speed and direction of construction site equipment such as tower cranes.

All collected information can be viewed on dashboards and mobile devices, while sensors may also be attached to on-site workers for greater insights. Corrective measures can be enabled using auto pilot controls on each machine, thus promoting safety on the site.

  1. 3D Printing

“3D printing’s” abilities to mould just about anything out of the right material with a printer was demonstrated in 2013, and global construction market leaders had caught on since.

In the GCC market, 3D printing has found some interested proponents mainly in international firms such as Arup and Autodesk, who using 3D printing techniques managed to reduce the overall weight of a total structure by 40%, thus making reduction of material wastage one of 3D printing’s greatest advantages.

  1. Smart Roads

Smart roadway technologies are being developed with a view to creating road decks with designs such as glow-in-the-dark lining, dynamic paint and interactive light & electric priority lane.

Working on roadways with surfaces which can absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity is another road for R&D.