Architecture sector: Strong and Weak Signals

Last updated 18. July 2016 by admin

Key observations about the initial view of the Architecture Sector Significance Matrix based on Live Roadmapping with Architecture Experts.

Technology Categories Technique/Process Categories strong>

Application (Score 100)

Software applications that are used in the creative process or by the end user e.g. CAD software such as AutoCAD, BIM software, Rhino, Adobe Suite, Photoshop, Maya and Illustrator. Development of interfaces or tools for improved Architecture processes.

Socialware/ CPD (Score 100)

How people evolve in response to architectural technology or affordances, Education, Awareness, Intermediary Business, ICT and Design roles, Knowledge, Hubs, Knowledge Bases/Repositories, Discussion, Communication and Sharing, including training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Hardware (Score 76)

Technology which is physical and has processing capabilities e.g. PC, Mac, Smartphone.

Collaboration (Score 93)

The process of Collaborating around Standards and Convergence. Interoperability, Vendor-Client relations and exchange. Individual, Community or Societal Analysis/Research, Addressing Obsolescence, Flexibility, Adaptability, Modularity, Service Design.

Output Physical (Score 54)

Technology which outputs a physical artefact e.g. 3D printers used in fabrication and prototyping

Ideation (Score 72)

The process of generating ideas or inspiration for creativity prior to formal design - e.g. mindmaps, sketching

Input Physical (Score 35)

Devices which are used to physically interface with the technology e.g. mouse, keyboard, console

Fabrication (Score 62)

The process of creating an artefact e.g. prototyping, publishing, printing or creating multiple copies of it, producing physical models for example using 3D printing.

Operating System (O/S) (Score 29)

The underlying software platform e.g. Windows, IOS, Android, Middleware

Marketing & Distribution (Score 58)

The process of understanding and engaging the architect's client or end user, making the designed architecture available to end users, features, user testing/experience.

Communications (Comms) (Score 29) Technology which connects the creator or end user to distant services e.g. networks, broadband, mobile, internet

Integration (Score 43)

The process of integrating 2 or more stages of the Architecture lifecycle such as Ideation and Design or Idea to Consumption, Sketch to Reality.

Hosted Services (Score 29)

Technologies which are contained spaces, possibly remote from the creator and/or end user e.g. web services, e-stores, big data, Hosted Co-working spaces, Collaboration platforms, Internet of Things (IOT)

Design (Score 22)

The formal process of creating a design e.g. drawing, CAD

Input Sensory (Score 23)

Technology which provides input based on sensors e.g. cameras, eye trackers, Leap motion, 3D scanners

Consumption (Score 13)

The process of using/buying/deploying the architecture or model in reality.

Output Sensory (Score 23)

Technology which outputs in a virtual sensory format e.g. Displays, VR Headsets, AR Displays, tactile/haptic feedback, audio.



Most Significant Technology/Process pairings

Apparent Strong Signals Apparent Weak Signals
Application / Socialware-CPD Technologies to facilitate Design or Consumption
Application / Integration Call for Sensors and Display devices to better serve Architecture design and delivery.
Application / Collaboration Integration of technologies and modularity
Hardware / Socialware-CPD Incorporating user/client needs into technologies and applications through targeted Marketing research and user experience analysis
Hardware / Ideation  


Recommendations based on Weak, Strong and Trend Signals

Timescale: Opportunities within 5 years

The largest driving forces are in the areas of Ideation, Design and Fabrication, particularly in Applications and input devices that support workflow between these processes

1. Ideation/Application (Score 100). Architects are looking for ways to quickly turn ideas from simply sketches into early designs that can be easily manipulated. Any applications, software or tools that can facilitate this will benefit the Architecture design and fabrication workflow. It is recommended that investment and resources are channeled into developing new tools for facilitating ideation into design.
2. Ideation/Input Physical (Score 99). Input devices that facilitate development of architectural ideas, creativity and insights, beyond the traditional use of controllers such as keyboard, mouse and graphics tablet are needed, especially with emergence of 3D design that leads into Augmented and Virtual Reality editing.

3. Ideation/Input Sensory (Score 97). Sensor based input devices such as cameras, 3D scanners, 360 and 3D systems as well as material texture property capture that facilitate more immersive, enriched representations of real world features into architectural model environments are needed, especially with emergence of 3D design that leads into Augmented and Virtual Reality editing where more realistic multisensory feedback will inform presentation of designs.

4. Design/Application (Score 96). Improved interfaces within Architecture design software that more effectively incorporate sketch information as well as more user-aligned features have been called for by architects from Application vendors.

5. Fabrication/Application (Score 92). How Applications output designs into fabrication machinery or construction processes is an area needing streamlining and requiring more effective data flows between design and production. Better API's, interfaces and interoperability are needed between design software and fabrication technologies such as 3D printers, Laser Cutters as well as Construction processes.

Timescale: Challenges within 5 years

There are widespread challenges relating to Education and Continuing Professional Development as well as service of clients in the Architecture sector, most probably due to lack of integration of processes across architecture workflow stages or due to lack of integration between technologies.

1. Socialware/CPD around Output Sensory devices (Score 0). There is a significant deficit in education and Continuing Professional Development relating to use and development of output devices for sensory connection such as Displays, Augmented Reality and particularly Virtual Reality technologies such as VR headsets. Professional bodies, academic institutions and device vendors need to provide aligned education and training to develop capacities for utilising new display technologies for effective presentation of Architectural designs.

2. Application/Consumption (Score 4). A barrier is emerging in how software, tools and applications for Architecture are experienced by end users. Users need to be consulted about their experiences of features and interfaces as they feel a lack of communication exists from vendors around their issues arising from using features that were not consulted around when introduced into applications.

3. Application/Integration (Score 7). Many features within Applications are thought not to be well interfaced with other applications and also do not work effectively across Architecture workflow cycles in an integrated way. Better flow of data and flow of work tasks needs to be facilitated within and across applications and technologies and end users need to be consulted on how they do things in practice.

Gaps needing resolution within 5 to 10 years

Hosted Services, Input Physical and Input Sensory areas as well as Design, Marketing and Distribution (User needs analysis and evaluation and service of experiences) and Ideation areas are likely to be well supported.
1. Hosted Services that provide platforms for Sketch to Reality workflow tasks are being strongly called for as well as supported.

2. Physical Input devices and devices based on Input Sensors are provided for to serve Design tasks, and subsequently fabrication processes will be strongly supported.

Areas that may need watching for lack of resources and support (red areas) include

3. Socialware/CPD to support use and development of Architecture Applications, software and tools.

4. Lack of Integration efforts in use and development of Applications.

see the infographic:


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