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Why Engineers Should Embrace Artificial Intelligence

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineering employment is expected to grow 7% until 2026. With that elevation will come the need to advance all systems and operations as well.

For years, modern tech has seemingly undervalued the “traditional” engineer. This is the professional that likes to get their hands dirty, sticks to their guns and uses their acute physical senses to problem-solve. After all, things like CAD and business management platforms have only come into the picture recently. The notion of standing by what you know is instinctual, but what happens when it causes profit-draining problems?

Plain and simple, we are now living in a data-driven world with no chance of turning back. In order to excel we must adapt – but what does “adapt” mean exactly? Glad you asked!

Technology in your daily workflow

Technology and automation in engineering have soared in recent years. They impact all aspects of practice including project management delivery, billing, invoicing and time tracking. But not everyone in these industries has taken advantage of these emerging technologies.

Software companies are incorporating AI more quickly than the firms they service, which could leave architects and engineers out of key decisions on how the technology will influence practice.

Randy Deutsch, AIA, associate director for graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Architecture, has written three books on design technology in professional practice.

We're soon going to see super intelligence enter just about every sector, market, and field,” he says. “It would behoove A/E firms to know it has entered our field, and we have the opportunity now to do something about it, to look at ways it can actually improve what we're doing and make us more profitable as practitioners as opposed to being victim to somebody else taking it and running with it.

What exactly is Artificial Intelligence?

AI utilizes tons of data to perform behaviors associated with human intelligence, such as speech recognition, decision making, and learning. It allows users to expedite processes and save time doing mundane and repetitive tasks. As your firm automates more tasks, you can use the data collected by the technology and apply it to real business decisions with more speed than ever before.

More than 80% of executives believe AI leads to a competitive advantage, and 79% believe it will increase their company’s productivity, according to the Journal of Accountancy. That’s because AI is the true competitive advantage that will set your firm apart from the rest.

There are long-term benefits to investing time and resources into data and automation for every engineering firm. The opportunity to influence a new way to work is too big to ignore. Large firms, midsize firms, and software companies are leading the charge right now.

How can engineering firms use Artificial Intelligence?

How can smaller firms, which make up the majority of the industry in the US, utilize AI in their work? If you’re a small firm, you don’t have a whole lot of time to dedicate to researching these topics but when you want to maintain a competitive advantage you should explore your options. You have to look inward at the way you’re working and seek an expert to help you.

Often times accounting and project management software companies will help you pick a solution that works best for your firm. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them.

Opportunities to automate mundane tasks are low-hanging fruit, and there are many simple ways to get started. The use of this technology every day is what will really help architects and engineers start to understand the benefit and in the short term, enhance their productivity.

Some of the ways that AI can help your firm include:

  • Compliance - Automated data entry and processing is becoming the norm.
  • Data Categorization - Bots can determine and categorize information into different accounts. Even if the data is coming from a single source, bots can automatically understand they differ in nature and siphon them into the correct account.
  • Internal Organization - Routine, operational tasks traditionally performed by administrators are run by AI. The technology can easily perform tasks such as dedicated accounts payable and accounts receivable.

The minute you start overlapping your current tools and new technology together, they become much more powerful.

“When you start tapping into the data you have available to you, you’re able to make higher uses of the tools, freeing you up to design more or, if you’re a business owner, to go after more work instead of spending all your time in documentation,” says Deutch.

Augment, improve, and replace mundane tasks

A/E Firms should see artificial intelligence as an opportunity—a tool to augment and improve practice, replacing mundane tasks—not as a threat to their jobs.

As founder and CEO of digital design agency Proving Ground, Nate Miller researches and develops data-driven software for the building industry.

“If you dig into the science behind artificial intelligence and research into machine learning, you may find highly futurist stuff,” he says. “But where it’s applied, it isn’t used as a replacement for human thinking or problem-solving. It’s meant to be an accelerator that positions the computer to handle certain things that a computer is really good at.”

Practitioners need to think about the future and incorporating artificial intelligence for project management into their everyday workflow. In doing so you’ll create efficiencies to cut down on wasted time, ultimately enhancing practice and adding value to your clients.

Core AI gives deeper insights into your business

Artificial intelligence should not only empower you but be simple to implement in your firm. Core Intelligence gives deeper insights into your business beyond questions and answers.

Engineers can make smarter decisions and proactive course corrections to ensure ultimate efficiency with Core Intelligence. It’s like giving every employee a personal assistant to increase productivity, at no additional cost.

The possibilities are endless with Core Intelligence. Don’t like sifting through reports? Forget about using your computer. You can converse with Core Intelligence about anything, from company financials to project management.

And you’ll receive deeper insights beyond just answers. Core Intelligence can inform you about past-due invoices and other insights you might have otherwise overlooked.

If you want to improve efficiency while saving time and money, it’s time to embrace the AI revolution. There’s no doubt that leveraging AI at your firm will give you a competitive advantage.


Want more tips to increase efficiency and improve your bottom line? Click below to download a free white paper on predictions for professional services in 2020 and beyond.

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