IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Technology, Construction, Interior Design and Today’s WorkplacesMay 31, 2019 No Comments
Thanks in large part to technology, the days of interior design being about colors, fabrics, and furniture placement are over. dancker, a national interior solutions firm headquartered in New Jersey, integrates architectural, furniture, technology, and logistics solutions to create spaces that maximize the flow between people and ideas. IT Briefcase spoke to dancker President & CEO Steven Lang about the way in which technology is changing the construction and interior design industries, and how AI, VR, and sensor-based technologies are being integrated into today’s workplaces.
- Q. What role is technology playing in construction planning and the design of interior spaces today?
Today we can lever technology to facilitate the design, pricing and construction of interior spaces by choosing a forward-thinking construction method over conventional construction. This means taking a completely different approach to the construction planning and design of interior spaces.
- Q. How has that changed from the way in which new construction or a renovation project was approached, say, 10-15 years ago?
In the last 10 -15 years, we have seen an unprecedented leap in innovation across every industry. The advancement of technology has dramatically improved our day to day lives and changed everything from how we get around today using ride share options to how we access information on the most complex issue on our smart devices instantaneously.
While the design community has embraced technology to leap from hand drawn sets of drawings to using BIM and VR models, the construction industry has lagged in embracing technology.
The conventional construction process has not changed much in the last 100 years! Manufactured construction on the other hand, uses technology to facilitate the design, construction and installation of elements constructed off-site.
- Q. Do technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality factor into today’s construction projects? How?
A manufactured construction approach allows for greater collaboration between clients, their design partners, contractors and architectural solutions provider earlier in the design and construction planning process.
VR immersive experiences are used to help everyone visualize the new space being created. Cutting-edge technology not only helps to design critical elements, it easily produces 3D visuals and VR experiences, and it can also calculate budget in real-time. By seeing how different options impact the feel of a space as well as the budget facilitates making design decisions. Once the right balance of aesthetic and budget is achieved, the information is pushed directly to the manufacturer for production.
- Q. dancker has been somewhat of a pioneer in incorporating technology into modular wall systems. What are modular walls and why is technology being incorporated into their use?
dancker, an interior solutions firm co-creating environments that support how people work, has been focused on how technology has been transforming the nature of work for years. We began working with DIRTT, a building process powered by technology, in 2014. Together we take a technology-driven approach to create custom interior solutions.
Modular wall systems are pre-engineered solutions used in an off-site based construction method. We provide design assist services to architects to develop solutions during pre-construction. By leveraging DIRTT’s ICE® software platform, we add value by delivering granular cost estimating, value engineering and constructability guidance early in the design process. This platform allows us to create immersive VR experiences of the space being created so clients can see design changes and cost implications in real-time. Once approved, the same software pushes information directly to manufacturer. Individual components are manufactured (or pre-fabricated) in their factory, transported to the site entirely or mostly complete, and then assembled on location by our team.
This specialized, off-site construction service allows us to create high-quality, custom interior construction solutions that are flexible, cost effective, and designed to outlast building cycles for clients in the healthcare, education, and office environments.
- Q. What are the benefits of this modular approach?
Our technology-driven construction method delivers more certainty to the process that is unachievable with conventional construction methods.
Beyond a more durable, custom, and higher quality solution, it can dramatically shorten construction schedules because elements are manufactured off-site while space is being constructed. This approach also reduces the number of trades needed on site, which translates into a cleaner installation that is fast and offers greater flexibility since changes can be incorporated live and easily as future needs demand.
Simply put, taking a modular approach is a faster, cleaner and more responsible way to build out interiors.
- Q. I understand technology can provide insights into how a business is performing by measuring how and when a physical space is being used. How does that work and why is it so important?
Changing workforce demographics and employee demands for a more human-centered workplace has led to a greater focus on maximizing the effectiveness of space to support and engage the people who work there.
This requires a more thoughtful approach to incorporating a variety of settings for different work activities and integrating technology throughout. New technologies help make objective decisions based on real, not perceived, needs. The application of sensor-based technology can measure the actual occupancy of a space, provide actionable data that can reduce wasted real estate and, ultimately, save money.
By building out spaces using modular solutions, changes to wall systems can be made quickly and easily to reconfigure underutilized spaces. Updating technology is also made easier because these wall systems allow for easier access to power and data embedded within the walls.
- Q. dancker has called technology integration in the workplace an essential component to leveling the playing field. What exactly does that mean?
Human resources, real estate and technology are the three largest investments most organizations make. We believe that great spaces need to connect people, place and technology in order to positively impact productivity, satisfaction and retention of employees.
By focusing on technology integration in both our workflow and in the solutions we offer, we can help co-create flexible spaces that support people in their daily activities, which ultimately leads to better business performance.
Steven Lang is President & CEO of dancker (www.dancker.com), a leading interior solutions firm working with clients to create spaces that maximize the flow between people and ideas by providing seamless integration of architectural, furniture, technology and logistics solutions.