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AI for Construction

Trimble Tech Outlook - How to get the most out of AI in 2024

Nathan Patton - Product Marketing Manager

Heading into 2024, economists and meteorologists alike are shouting the same thing - unclear forecasts ahead… Labor shortages, macroeconomic uncertainty, and more are contributing to a cloudy picture in the new year. Yet - the Construction industry remains poised to find opportunities to weather the storm. Despite general building construction starts being forecasted to grow only marginally in 2024, manufacturing and data center projects are expected to boom according to this recent article from ENR. With that in mind, there’s never been a bigger need to be productive and get more out of your existing workflows and resources to maximize your margins and take advantage of these new opportunities. To help with that, we predict some big AI-related trends in 2024.

AI not only offers an easy way to respond to emails, but it also offers an incredible opportunity to automate, streamline, and simplify the process of extracting insights from complex construction data - it empowers us to really squeeze the most out of our data. For instance, right here at Trimble we’ve implemented 3D Deep Learning in Trimble Business Center (TBC) to more easily extract information from complex point clouds. With the click of a button, you can now automatically classify and segment point clouds to remove noise, highlight critical information, and simplify your work.

Generative AI is another popular technology that we predict will take on a bigger role in mainstream applications in 2024. We all saw “Drippy Pope” and myriad other generated trends this year, but the technology behind it is set to get its first professional job in the new year. Recently released from SketchUp Labs, SketchUp Diffusion enables Architects, Engineers, and Construction professionals to combine their models with a text prompt, creating a new, AI-generated image for easy and realistic rendering.

One thing to note here though - AI is not just a catchall black box solution. As the saying goes, “garbage in = garbage out.” Without the proper parameters, data quality, and context you may get completely untrustworthy results. In construction, this simply is unacceptable. So how can you set yourself and your organization up for success with artificial intelligence? We’ve got a few tips:

1. Collect High Quality Data

AI is only as good as the quality of the data is trained on and the data it’s been given to analyze. To get the best results you need to ensure you’re collecting the best data. No AI can magically turn bad data into good data, so make sure that you are capturing accurate, reliable data - and most importantly saving that data!

2. Centralize Your Data in One Common Environment

Speaking of saving data, did you know that 96% of construction data goes unused or unsaved? AI models need data, and lots of it, to provide accurate responses. Not only does that data need to be accurate and trustworthy, but it needs to be contextual. Think of your own life, when you make a decision without all of the facts you’re less likely to get it right, but when you have all the information you’re able to make the best possible decision. AI is much the same, so when you consider how to get the most out of AI, make sure you have a strategy to centralize your data (field and office alike) in one common place. Trimble Connect is one fantastic option here, combining 2D & 3D BIM data with accurate field data such as RFIs, Layout data, imagery, and more.

3. Ask Good Questions & Don’t Blindly Trust Results

Finally, you’ve got to ask the right questions. By now I’m sure you’ve played around with ChatGPT so you’ll recognize the importance of using the right prompts to get the best results. As we see more and more startups enter the space in the construction tech / AI space in 2024, think about who is asking the right questions when generating these models. Specifically, think about the industrial knowledge required to train these models and provide the right answers. You have deep knowledge and understanding of the construction industry, so be critical with who you partner with and share your data with. That’s why Trimble is working closely with our industry partners at Microsoft to bring our 50+ years of construction experience to the incredible computing and development expertise at Microsoft.

As we get going in 2024, we’re excited to see how these technologies, and more, empower you to do your best work and continue to innovate to drive the Construction industry forward.


Nathan was recently named one of xyHt's Top 22 Young Geospatial Professionals, Nathan is an energetic and effective product leader. Passionately working to deliver tangible value through cutting-edge technologies that connect the digital and physical worlds. After completing Trimble's Rotational Leadership Development Program in 2022, Nathan joined the Buildings Construction Strategy & Innovation team as a Product Marketing Manager where he focuses on turning moonshot ideas into practical realities to solve the construction industry’s biggest problems.