Smarter solutions (Part 2)

Mar 30, 2020

To keep up with the “smart revolution,” AEC firms must embrace emerging technological solutions, innovate, and lead clients into the future.

In September 2018, I wrote an article for The Zweig Letter about tech trends and innovation. While not a lot of time has passed, there have been many subsequent developments in the smart space.

We are living in the fast-paced world of the “smart revolution” with changes to smart technological solutions occurring almost daily. Firms, companies, governments, and institutions that don’t embrace the smart movement will be left behind very quickly.

This has already occurred for some companies that we knew quite well, such as Blockbuster and Radio Shack. On the flip side, Uber and Lyft both came about seemingly overnight and have changed the way people move around the world. Even these companies have not stood still and are finding new and creative ways to innovate, including by utilizing drivers’ downtime through new applications such as Uber Eats. Where was Amazon five years ago and where are they today?

The deployment of 5G, which is the fifth generation of wireless technology, will deliver data to internet connected devices including mobile phones, security cameras, cars, traffic systems, building automation systems, and more 10 times faster than its predecessor 4G. Companies like Verizon are already incorporating 5G into smart solutions, with a recently announced goal of becoming the first carrier to use its 5G network to connect 1 million drone flights. How will this affect the AEC industry? In our designs we are already starting to see the 5G influence with our municipal clients in permitting carrier installations, and in our traffic signal designs in the implementation of adaptive signals connected vehicles and sensor deployment.

What other smart solutions can we expect to see developed? At Pennoni, we have developed software applications in the energy field to provide more accurate monitoring and continuous commissioning for energy efficiency. We are deploying new generations of GIS applications in our projects involving surveying, transportation, and more. We have partnered with a company focused on the use of artificial intelligence in pavement analysis. There are many others on our list with many more being developed. In our industry, smart solutions will continue to grow exponentially as we move further into this decade and beyond.

To keep up with the pace, the AEC industry must embrace the smart movement, innovate, and lead our clients into the future. On a personal note, I find this an exciting time to be an engineer. The incoming generation of professionals will bring an even greater amount of knowledge, love, and expectation for the technological changes we will undertake. I for one can’t wait to see where it will lead us. Enjoy the ride!

Joseph Viscuso is Pennoni’s senior vice president and director of strategic growth. He can be reached at

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.