As I have blogged a little about Autodesk's investigation into blockchain for the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, I was happy to be introduced to Malachy Mathews at the #AU2018 blogger social hosted by fellow Autodesk blogger, Shaan Hurley.
Malachy is an expert on AEC and blockchain and has written about the subject:
The Autodesk proposition is that the AEC and manufacturing industries are converging. People who make buildings are starting to follow processes typically used by people who make things. Builders are now concerned with mass production, quality control, and overall process optimization. In his paper, Malachy supports that proposition by noting that processes within the AEC industry are converging and, as the result of technological innovations, creating entirely new organizational structures within the industry. Blockchain is one of the catalysts for this convergence, but many technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also factors.
Autodesk serves 3 industries: AEC, Product Design and Manufacturing, and Media and Entertainment. What we learn from one industry, we bring to the other two. The anchors for serving these three industries are BIM 360, Fusion 360, and Shotgun. So for Autodesk, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is at the heart of the AEC industry. In his paper, Malachy chose BIM as his network model database, because as "the single source of truth" for design, schedule, and cost information, transactions applied to the BIM model are what generate economic value that can be verified and "measured into existence by an electronic token that rewards disassociated parties for maintaining and improving the database for the benefit of all, thereby replacing the 3rd party intermediary characteristic of legacy hierarchies with a simple and efficient 'digital handshake.'" In other words, changes to the BIM model coincide with when parties get paid.
Malachy postulates that technologies like blockchain will be disruptive to existing professions, project procurement, and building operation processes and that "hierarchical structures are being replaced by network structures in [the AEC industry] simply because networks are more efficient, enjoy higher market valuation, are fault tolerant, and are self-regulating whereas hierarchy requires substantial managerial and administration overhead to secure individual nodes." This will generate new systems and methods that will be leaner, more efficient, less error-prone, and more cost-effective across AEC projects. BIM is a more effective way for sharing knowledge across a project. Blockchain is a more effective way for sharing money across a project. The two technologies work hand-in-hand.
As Autodesk works to automate our customers' design-and-make processes to allow customers to do more and better with less, leaner, more efficient, less error-prone, and more cost-effective processes are right in line with that mission. So it should be no surprise that our CEO, Andrew Anagnost, recently shared that we have been working on our own digital escrow system as a step along the path in the same direction as blockchain. [afr.com]
Thanks for sharing your expertise with me, Malachy.
Blockchain is alive in the lab.