“The increase in digital dependency means an increased need for site connectivity” - Josh Bone, Construction Technology Specialist at DeWalt
The 2018 Projects LA Conference grew into a thrilling exploration of the technologies of our future job sites and what industry-wide changes must take place in order to improve the efficiencies of these technologies. Through lively conversations with industry experts, innovative startups, and technology thought leaders, the industry’s greatest success and heaviest defeats were brought up in an effort to breakdown the root of innovation.
Here are four takeaways from the event:
1. Industry and Technology are in synch when it comes to innovation.
Projects LA showcased BuiltWorlds network’s voracious appetite for better solutions. With both industry panel and technology panel discussions taking place throughout the Projects LA Conference, we were able to clearly see that each side understands what is needed to succeed. APiO Executive VP and General Manager Tom Lineen, stated it nicely, when talking about his own companies thought process, that they “have to make [our] user experience so easy that [users] can’t mess it up.” Value add is the name of the game. When talking about what technology companies should focus on leading into the future, Vice President of IT Stephen Knapp at Hollister Construction Services emphasized that “these technologies need to bring some kind of value and it needs to affect the bottom line.” And this could not be more important. Companies need solutions that do not disrupt the daily workflow, but provide the return on investment needed to justify any change.
2. A Call for Data Standards.
After a jam-packed day of debate, the conference concluded with an open mic format group-wide discussion on the efficacy of connected job site technology. We have more data collected on our job sites today than ever before, and it is coming in from hundreds of thousands of sources, each with its own formatting, information requirements, and standards. But with point solutions popping up like Starbucks, the industry needs one set of standards for data collection so that we can begin to analyze this data coming in on a broader scale.
3. A strong assertion that interoperability and open APIs are the way of the future.
Enterprise-wide systems that don’t have API’s or interoperability with smaller point solutions are going to become challenged and fazed out in the world of the connected job site. As we continue to have more data flowing into our projects from different sources, technology companies must develop from an inclusive perspective, ensuring that integrations are first and foremost with enterprise systems.
4. We must address the needs of every stakeholder.
It's increasingly apparent that one area of focus needs to be around connecting all essential stakeholders for project outcomes. This idea was most exemplified by listening to our Tech Ridge panel. Tech Ridge will be a multi-purpose urban environment offering the opportunity to live, work, and play all in one place. The project is an attempt at the first ever ‘paperless job site,’ but it is so much more than a bunch of fancy buzz words. CEO of busybusy and a board member of Tech Ridge LLC Isaac Barlow began to talk about what success looks like on a project like this:
“The success is all about the stories. It’s going to be how you improved the lives of everyone from the owner to the GC to the subcontractors.”
No matter where you sit in the construction ecosystem, a technology provider, general contractor, specialty contractor, architect, or owner, we can help each other. Dan Burton, CEO of DroneBase mentioned, “the more we can roll up our data into the platforms that our customers are using, the better.” No one wants to make it difficult to implement their solution.
Additionally, there was significant alignment in the room to engage the specialty contractors and the architects and engineers so that all of the stakeholders in the successful outcome of a project were involved. All players need to be in the conversation for every project. Architects, owners, sub contractors, engineers, developers are increasingly wanting to come together, but to do so, we must be able to engage all of the shareholders with every system in use. True efficiencies are going to be achieved when solutions address the needs of everyone who works on the success of a project.
Check out some of our favorite photos from the Projects LA Conference: