Geo Week News

March 19, 2019

10 Minutes with Meghana Joshi on how AI can change construction and facilities management


Meghana Joshi has more than a decade of experience working on a wide variety of architecture and construction projects, but her area of expertise is construction administration and construction documents. At the AEC Expo and Conference, she will present on Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning Approaches to Construction, Facilities Management and Fire Prevention. She will speak not only about her work in architecture and construction (and how the above topics are related), but also about a new approach to fire safety.

She and her husband, IT expert Rajesh Joshi, have developed Fire Life Safe, an emergency alert system that uses a combination of new technologies to better protect people and properties in the event of a fire. The system uses a combination of intelligent mapping software that hosts its maps in the cloud, artificial intelligence, remotely controlled signs, as well as sensors attached to doors, passageways, and elsewhere to set a new standard in fire safety.

Meghana Joshi

The Fire Life Safe tool will employ artificial intelligence to save people and property. “Our software will go ahead and make decisions on our behalf… Through sensors communicating with each other, it’ll come up with a decision,” Joshi says. Such decisions might include locking or unlocking doors, turning exit signs on to an emergency flash mode, or triggering an audible alarm.

The idea for the software-based product came one evening when Meghana and Rajesh were watching the evening news at home. “There was a fire at a local senior’s center, and I was working at that time on a senior’s center project,” she says. Knowing senior citizens need more help than others when it comes to things like exiting a building in an emergency, Meghana wondered aloud about creating an alert system that could better notify seniors in the event of an emergency. In that instant, their new company was born.

In addition to speaking on her and her husband’s invention in her presentation, Joshi will also work to break down perceptional barriers. “I want people to know they shouldn’t be intimidated by technology and that they can use technology as a tool,” she says.

She also wants to convince professionals that they can tune up their tech knowledge and their construction knowhow by interacting with tech pros like software developers and exchanging ideas about what’s working in the field (and what’s not), as well as what problems need to be solved. By learning how tech can help their work, AEC pros can truly impact their own professions, Joshi says.

“We know what we need, and we need to tell [tech professionals]what we need,” she says. She argues that communication between AEC professionals, software designers, and other IT pros could lead to better decisions in the development of AEC-specific tech tools.

When you consider that many AEC software companies are founded by non-AEC professionals, the idea of collaborating with software developers to create software to solve more problems starts to seem cutting edge. With such an approach, technology is being tailored to suit needs, rather than invented with the hope that the technology will fill a need. Starting such interprofessional conversations with the improvement of the industry in mind is crucial, Joshi says. The point could be one of the bigger takeaways of her presentation.

“I want people to be interested in technology and go out there and explore it, and make it help us,” she says.

For more on this topic, be sure to catch Joshi’s presentation at AEC Next, which will be co-located with SPAR 3D on May 21-23 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.


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