How to unlock data accessibility & visualisation with a Common Visualisation Environment

Today, mind-boggling data volumes, silos and complexity are some of the biggest barriers facing the infrastructure industry. 

That’s why getting the right actionable insights, at the right time, on any given project is becoming increasingly important.

Read on to find out how, accessing and visualising data in one single, integrated Common Visualisation Environment (CVE), removes this barrier—at every stage of the asset lifecycle.

Managing Disparate Data 

Information for the civil infrastructure industry is about making a data connection with the real world and can come from sources as diverse as on-site workers, cranes, earthworks, material supply chains, and even buildings themselves. While some companies are already doing great things with data today, many still have setbacks with capturing the right data accurately, cost-effectively and at speed. The reality is, unless you are getting data to the right people that gives them real value and purpose, projects will struggle to get a return on digital initiatives. 

With all of these different sources of information, one of the biggest barriers to harnessing data in civil infrastructure is that most of the data sets are sitting in software silos somewhere or common data environments, which are not accessible to everyone. These days there’s no shortage of infrastructure-related data and volumes are rapidly growing. The challenge we face as an industry is how we store this information and use it effectively to drive data-driven decisions.

It’s not surprising that Sensat’s recent snapshot poll which questioned civil infrastructure professionals found that 42 per cent of respondents are struggling to use data in their organisations effectively. It is evident that data accessibility is not being fully realised within the industry, teams are overwhelmed with data volumes, silos and poor-quality insights that they struggle to understand.

The poll further revealed that three-quarters of participants identified their organization’s data culture as unhealthy where their data culture is siloed and inaccessible (25%) or had only just started to look at embedding digital technologies to improve data culture (50%). 

According to FMI research, miscommunication and poor project data accounts for 48% of all rework, costing the construction industry over $31 billion per year, alongside the time spent on non-optimal activities such as fixing mistakes, looking for project data and managing conflict resolution, which accounts for $177.5 billion in labour costs per year in the U.S. alone. This means that unstructured data is not only hard to manage, but it’s also costing us a lot of money. Moreover, it leads to poor quality, creating a data lag that makes it difficult to disseminate actionable information that can be used on a project. 

Implementing a healthy data culture is the solution. When effectively enabled, topographical and design data can be used across an asset lifecycle to improve project delivery times, support maintenance work, control costs, increase site safety, productivity and ultimately profitability. With more data than we can manage, it’s vital that information is accessible, digestible, usable and, most importantly, understandable. We also need to be able to use this data to communicate and collaborate better across teams and organisations to bolster a healthy data culture, ultimately resulting in more informed data-driven decision making and better data returns.

Unlocking accessibility and visualisation with the rise of the Common Visualisation Environment 

For Civil Infrastructure, one platform for data accessibility, visualisation and understanding—that can integrate all data and systems in one place—is the future. This will be the move to the era of the Common Visualisation Environment (CVE)—the next step up from a Common Data Environment (CDE), where data is stored in one place, but not always easy to surface or manage. As a concept it’s great, but where a CDE aimed to provide a collaborative environment with single-source-of-truth data, it falls down in the complexity of managing it—relying on setting up a server for a project, or an extranet or some other form of file-based retrieval system instead of it being its own project management tool.

A CVE instead, brings disparate documentation right into the context of the site so that as you navigate the digital representation of your project, you can surface the right information, in the right context—making it immediately understandable. For example, whereas before, minor changes to the design could mean several weeks or months of backward and forward communications between architects, engineers and owners across several platforms, tools and systems, insights into the effects of changes can now be visible to all the necessary stakeholders almost instantaneously.

By delivering all your topographical survey data in one common visualisation environment, not only makes your data accessible but gives you a clear picture of your project all in one place. With tools for analysis, volumetric measurements, earthwork and site decision, all stakeholders can easily navigate a digital replica of a project and site, understand and see what they need when they want—and all remotely—speeding up everything from the planning and design process, to earthworks, decision-making and where to save on waste—it’s a game-changer.

Achieving insight, oversight and foresight with a CVE

As one of the most important industries in the world, civil infrastructure is responsible for planning, designing, building and maintaining how and where we live. Driven by the need for continuous infrastructure development, the industry is characterised by constant change, but also complexity, uncertainty and risk. As infrastructure becomes more sophisticated, being more informed with the right information, at the right time has never been more critical.  

A CVE not only brings an accurate digital replica of your infrastructure site to life, but can set new standards for planning, building and managing infrastructure projects. Anybody on a project can access and engage with point clouds and assess a site in real time to discuss plans in a visual and intuitive way. 

It provides the virtual backdrop for complex data, making it easy to track and understand all project variables and add context where needed—empowering everyone to make more informed decisions based on real-time, real-site data. By embracing one single source of truth in a CVE, teams are seamlessly able to establish insight, oversight and foresight of live projects.

Insight: Bringing together survey data in one single platform to enable you to visualise and plan your project. 

Being able to bring multiple forms of data into one place establishes a solid foundation for planning a project. Not only does this include drone data, but other forms of data such as laser scan data for underneath the bridge,  underground asset utilities or even borehole reports. Delivering this data all into the same realm, gives a fully comprehensive view of existing conditions to allow teams to understand what is there prior to carrying out any works.

Oversight: An up-to-date view of your site or project to make decisions, take measurements, monitor progress, provide reassurance and mitigate risk.

Oversight is where teams can bring in the progress monitoring of the project. Using a CVE, teams are able to have data flowing into a singular platform on a regular basis to provide an idea of what’s happening. Using a CVE you can query the environment, take measurements and quantify the difference of what’s changed. This platform can then be used to provide reassurance to stakeholders and mitigate the risk. Teams can be informed and make data-driven decisions from the information in the context of the site, for example, from a risk perspective, labelling hazards and marking up hazardous zones. 

Foresight: Intelligence to build a better world with data. More efficient, more predictability, more productive, more sustainable.

Using the digital world we can use computer analysis to give us predictions on what’s going to happen. In the future, we will be able to use AI and machine learning to build more efficiently and build more effectively. Ultimately, this allows the construction process to be more sustainable as well.

What a CVE enables: 

But that’s not it, a CVE can enable much, much more–and Sensat’s CVE will allow you to have:

Accessibility and visualisation anytime: Gone are the days where teams cannot access data because they are in a different file type, or because the teams don’t have the right software licence or computer power. As a cloud-hosted platform, all your team can instantly access and track data anytime via any device. 

Data value: Aggregate and visualise billions of data points without impacting your processing speed and the need for technical expertise or expensive software licenses.

Data in one place: Creating a single source of truth allows teams to have a more operations-led and predictive design where you are able to plan and model different outcomes and options much faster and involving a wide range of stakeholders. With Sensat’s, the fastest 3D platform and simple and intuitive design, you can discover data quickly and enable data-driven predictive design, planning and modelling. 

Measure + Design: Measure and design tools, including analysis, volumetric measurements, cropping and downloading allows you to garner accurate and reliable information for the decision making process at the most critical stages of design and planning. No longer do you have to put boots on the ground in order to take measurements, you can access the site online using our visualisation platform. 

Unlimited user access and data uploads: Providing a single source of truth (SSOT) of your development site or project,all stakeholders can use the most up-to-date information for increased collaboration to create a holistic project overview.

Asset management: Have the ability to create a full digital model of the entire infrastructure development for operations, asset management, and more.

Data and platform integration: You can integrate all your project data (including historical data) and point platforms in one place: includes BIM, CAD, LiDAR, imagery, documents, photos and videos. With no limits, we provide instant access to large data sets across multi-disciplinary projects to allow design and asset model sharing and conduct clash detections. Sensat’s webinar poll highlighted that half of industry professionals believed their team would benefit from a CVE to generate valuable insights to make decisions. Ultimately a CVE will put data into the necessary stakeholder hands and unlock efficiency which a CDE has previously lacked.

To learn more about Sensat’s common visualisation environment request a demo of our platform. Alternatively, download our ebook where we deep dive into data accessibility and visualisation and the other four states of data. 

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