Between smart meters, hurricanes, the looming threat of a cyberattack, and organizations flocking to the cloud, the technological infrastructure of the nation is changing. Technology consulting firm Microdesk made five predictions that architecture, engineering and construction firms should plan for in 2013 to position U.S. infrastructure for a more sustainable future.

  1. Floods and hurricanes knocked out power and debilitated mass transit for weeks in 2012, but tools like visualization and collaborative design can strengthen the nation's infrastructure. Organizations should be proactive in addressing these issues, Microdesk stated.
  2. Organizations should adopt modern standards and use building information modeling (BIM) to break the trend of traditional siloed design and maximize building process efficiencies.
  3. Big data and analytics software will help designers and contractors make good decisions quickly, the firm stated. Purpose-built applications using real time data will find their way into the industry in 2013, bringing greater intelligence to the design process.
  4. Likewise, mobile devices will become ubiquitous in the design, construction and management of infrastructure, the firm predicted. Companies must be equipped for mobile communication and collaboration.  
  5. Lastly, Microdesk predicted that more companies would move their design flow to the cloud to improve both collaboration and flexibility.

"By continuing to leverage the technologies available - and embracing new technologies - the industry will set new precedents for what's possible in the design and building of roads, bridges, buildings and America's mass transit systems in 2013," said Michael DeLacey, president of Microdesk.

More information on Microdesk's predictions is available here.