How IT is Changing the Construction Industry

#DellInsideCircle member and architect Sebastian Lauff (@archimag) uses a Precision 5750 mobile workstation in his day-to-day work.

A discussion with architect Sebastian Lauff

Sebastian Lauff is an architect, building consultant, and the founder of archimag.de. He’s based in Germany and has recently written a book about Hugo Junkers and his work in the field of metal architecture. As a #DellInsideCircle member, Sebastian uses a Precision 5750 mobile workstation in his day-to-day work. We recently spoke with him about all things technology and architecture.

Dell: Thanks so much for joining us Mr Lauff. You’re an experienced architect – what role does IT play in your industry?

Sebastian: We were using pens and pencils when I began my studies in the 1990s, and we were all eager to move towards computers and CAD tools. Things are completely different now, and IT plays an extremely important role in architecture today. The developments in building information modeling (BIM) would never have been possible without IT. However, it is important that technology doesn’t restrict our capabilities. In the early days, IT and CAD led to simpler designs that were very orthogonal because people were pushing the technology to its limits. Nowadays, we are only limited by our own imagination, thanks to powerful technology and tools like touchscreens and styluses. 

What key technologies in the architecture industry have changed tremendously in the last years? 

Nothing has changed that drastically in recent years. The applications for single-family home building permits made using pencil and paper in the 1960s and the 1970s have now been replaced with those using computers and printers in 2020. And, of course, materials have improved. We are slowly moving towards BIM; we desperately need digital building applications and 3D printing. Hopefully, materials currently under development will improve a lot in the coming years.

Technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) have been fascinating developments and I have been watching them closely. The ability to see real-time developments through a headset could be useful, but that’s not been widely adopted yet. In the future, we’ll likely see VR and AR used at construction sites, where the workers and architects will be able to see the plans superimposed onto the specific stage of construction. 

You’ve been using Dell Precision workstations for a while. Have mobile workstations changed the way you work? 

Ultimately, a mobile workstation has to perform at least as well as a desktop computer. You become quicker and more independent. Touchscreen and stylus features allow you to enter notes and sketches directly into the productive system. This cuts out at least one step of the process and reduces paper use! It’s also very important to have an outstanding screen. Personally, color accuracy is not as important to me as having a bright screen because I want to always be able to see every single detail.

I have found that the Precision 5750 operates smoothly, and it also looks great. As it is powerful and portable, I can be productive freely and independently anywhere. You don’t have to worry about the IT side of things and you get a tool that opens up new possibilities. 

What advice would you give to creators looking to invest in technology?

 I think I speak for a lot of creative people when I say that working with pencil and paper brings out the highest amount of creativity. These techniques can now be reproduced using technology, to the extent that sketches can be made directly where the creative reworking takes place. Take advantage of the touchscreen capabilities on your devices – whether it’s your phone or a laptop. In my opinion, the combination of a mobile workstation with a large secondary screen is a real powerhouse. With that kind of solution, you’re flexible and equipped for every situation.

Finally, which three technological devices could you not live without?

My phone ranks at the top of the list since it is by far my most used technological device. After that, a nice and high-performance workstation. However, we all too quickly forget home appliances, heating, refrigerators etc. – and preferably smart devices with wireless connectivity. They are often not mentioned within this context because they have become a part of our everyday lives.

Chris Ramirez

About the Author: Chris Ramirez

Chris Ramirez has more than 19 years’ experience within the technology sector with roles spanning engineering, product management, business development and strategic alliances. Based in Austin, Texas, he joined the Dell Precision workstations team in summer 2018 to lead strategic alliances for the Manufacturing and AEC industries, working closely with ISVs and partners. Chris started his career at Dell in 1999, with a number of roles in the Services Engineering team, prior to roles at TidalTV and Symantec corporation, before returning to Dell in 2011.