A year ago, we issued a report (M&A Activity Spells a New Future for the Built World) breaking down the moves by industry heavy-weights like ORACLE, Autodesk, Trimble, and PROCORE to achieve supremacy in the race to build the most robust systems for the engineering and construction industry. Bentley’s announcement yesterday of the acquisition of “voice-based field automation” software provider, NoteVault, combined with the June 2018 acquisition of Synchro Software , not only strengthens Bentley’s offerings as another major player in construction project management, but also suggests to us Bentley’s intention to grow that presence beyond areas of historical strength in the non building market to the building markets as well.
“Voice is the killer app,” quipped NoteVault CEO, Peter Lasensky at BuiltWorlds Summit 2016. (Note: Our Summit was then called the CEO Tech Forum.)
Beyond adding more heft to the field construction side of Bentley’s offerings, the NoteVault acquisition gives added life to another potentially important area of emerging technology in the field – voice-based mobile management. NoteVault CEO, Peter Lasensky, presented his vision that “voice is the killer app” at BuiltWorlds’ first Summit back in 2016, and, as such, he has really been a pioneer in this developing area of construction technology. His argument at that time was that money in the industry is made and lost in the field, and voice activated project management systems would allow for more information to be communicated more quickly, thereby increasing visibility into project performance and reducing project risk while improving efficiency.
Until now, discussion around voice-based field management has been relatively muted, especially compared to the debate between work-flow and model-based field management. However, this move by Bentley combined with work of other smaller players like last year’s BuiltWorlds Demo Day winner, DADO, leaves us sure we will see more in the months and years to come. DADO will be presenting alongside leading mechanical contractor Andy J. Egan, Co. on Day Three of our upcoming Project Delivery Conference, July 8-10 (Project Delivery Conference Day Three: Smart Job Sites), and so we will be sure to delve deeper into the question of where voice-based project management systems lie on our industry’s adoption curve.
Based on survey data examined in our just released 2020 Construction Technology Report, Bentley is not currently among the systems most used by BuiltWorlds’ engineering and construction members for project management. As reported earlier, PROCORE currently holds the top position in that segment, while ORACLE, Trimble, Autodesk, and others hold lead positions in other aspects of project management. However, as the number and composition of companies taking our survey grows and changes, as industry players make more acquisitions and other moves, these rankings are sure to continue to shift.