Ahead of our highly anticipated annual Construction Tech Conference this month, we have taken the time to engage with three of our esteemed conference sponsors who specialize in project software. These companies have demonstrated their commitment to user satisfaction alongside valuable insights into the future trajectory of the built ecosystem. We had the privilege of meeting with three industry leaders: Phil Carpenter, CMO of ALICE Technologies; Michael Pink, CEO of SmartPM; and Nick Decker, Construction Practice Lead, Egnyte.
BuiltWorlds is thrilled to host representatives from each of these companies that will be present at BuiltWorlds’ 2023 Construction Tech Conference. These individuals will be available to delve into their group’s latest achievements and advancements, discuss emerging trends within AEC, and build connections that will flourish beyond our conference. Below will be a brief description of ALICE Technologies, Egnyte, and SmartPM, along with vital insights from each interviewee.
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ALICE Technologies offers an automated risk platform that empowers a project's team with control of automated schedule tracking, cost and earned value analysis, installation issue detection, and an updated BIM. Their platform helps users to identify mistakes before something has the opportunity to go wrong, reducing imminent costly reworks and delays. With powerful algorithms, Avvir is able to compare a project's BIM to reality, determining what is built and if it is built in place.
Phil Carpenter has an impressive background of over 30 years in strategic marketing and communications; having built high-growth startups like Yalo and SideStep from the ground up, serving as a senior partner at Allison+Partners and co-founding Whiskey Creek Properties. His current role as CMO at ALICE has him spearheading global marketing and communication efforts, such as growth marketing, product marketing, and corporate communications.
Carpenter touched on SmartPM having a very focused application of generative AI within its application in scheduling capital projects. Large, expensive, and complicated projects need experimental and malleable solutions and software that are able to shift with the moving variables.
“ALICE makes it really easy to [experiment with building a project] because everything is a parameter or a variable within the ALICE world. You can fiddle with one thing and see how it impacts everything else and then ultimately zero in on the schedule that is the best fit for your business. It could be because it's the one that best reduces risk or that it helps you get it done, not just on time, but maybe even early to get that early performance bonus. Why you pick the schedule you do will vary a lot from project-to-project or situation-to-situation, but what we can do is create lots of options, frankly, options that humans wouldn't normally invent.”
Phil Carpenter, ALICE Technologies
Although Carpenter finds great value in AI and machine learning, he does not want to diminish the need for the perspective of lived human experience. He mentioned the need for a marriage between human and machine that is working to solve complex construction problems.
“How is the machine ever going to know that Fred, the concrete contractor lead, is grumpy in the mornings and we should wait to run our start time until after 11 so he's got plenty of coffee in the system and things are all going to be better? Machine is never going to know that, right? So human experience and savvy counts for a lot and people can't discount that.”
Phil Carpenter, ALICE Technologies
SmartPM is an innovative analytics platform that leverages schedule data to provide all stakeholders within a construction team with comprehensive reports and analytics to enhance project outcomes. They achieve this by providing its users with key insights into schedule quality, project performance, risk, delays, and forecasts within an accessible format. Their software is also used at an enterprise level that provides efficiencies and also highlights risk issues at the organization level, supplying a positive change to user companies profit margins.
Michael Pink is a seasoned AEC trailblazer with over 20 years of experience within the industry. With an expansive career primarily focused within the “Big Four” consulting environment, he has worked firsthand with owners, contractors, attorneys, and lenders on intricate consulting projects. Pink then founded Construx Solutions, and most recently, he founded SmartPM in hopes of tackling inefficiencies within the scheduling process within AEC.
There has been a multitude of software solutions within the space, yet none truly integrate data up to par with what users are looking for. Michael Pink addressed this problem within the industry and founded SmartPM as a solution that will be integral for AEC project teams.
“We believe that SmartPM will become a data analytics hub for construction. One that pulls various data sets in addition to scheduling data from other technology systems and converts it into analytics designed to keep projects on time, on budget and out of court, while simultaneously increasing profit margins and reducing risk for companies involved in commercial construction.”
Michael Pink, SmartPM
Despite beginning operations in 2016, SmartPM has swiftly adapted to the rapidly evolving landscape of technology within the space. While relatively new, the company has effectively kept pace with the dynamic changes in the industry.
Pink noted the importance of utilizing the data, technology, and emerging tools within software solutions to bridge the gaps between new tech and the built world.
“Now that massive amounts of data are readily available and stored in the cloud, I believe that what AI and Machine Learning are set to do with all this data is going to take the industry to a whole new level. Companies will be able to take project data in real-time and give deeper insights based on past projects as to what some potential outcomes and risks are on-site. We are planning on leveraging this tech to improve the process of maintaining a high-quality reactive schedule, tying together disconnected datasets, and providing a deep portfolio and industry level analytics.”
Michael Pink, SmartPM
Egnyte provides effortless access to up-to-date information from anywhere within its content governance platform. It achieves this by creating a centralized hub where all streams of information converge into a single location that can be accessed in the cloud or on-site. Users can easily view their personalized reservoir of project data that is tailored to optimize their specific needs and job requirements.
Construction Practice Lead
Nick Decker launched his career in the realm of AEC after earning his BS in Civil Engineering from Purdue University, where he later pursued and obtained his MBA. Throughout his professional journey, Decker has expertly donned numerous roles, including working as a field engineer, consultant, director, and beyond. Demonstrating his versatile skill set, he has most recently served as the Head of Marketing at Dusty Robotics prior to embarking on his current venture as the esteemed Construction Practice Lead at Egnyte.
Egnyte recognizes the quick speed at which the industry is moving and that this can make for an overwhelming market for consumers to navigate. Decker noted the need for software that is able to tailor to different workflows, while also providing a first rate solution.
“The construction tech space is changing so rapidly that companies are struggling to find the right backbone for their information. The influx of tech has been a bit dizzying for companies to keep up with and so Egnyte’s take is helping organize and allow them the flexibility to go find best in-class solutions for the individual workflows while still connecting all their information together.”
Nick Decker, Egnyte
What makes Egnyte different from market players is the customization and support that is offered to users with a plentiful reservoir of data within its software to support even the most specialized projects. They are also able to monitor and understand when users are exposing risk for their company, providing cybersecurity support that is unmatched within the current space.
Decker discussed the need for cohesive communication when selecting tech solutions within a project. With upcoming projects continuing to rising in complexity, there needs to be support that ensures strong integration between tech, software, and infrastructure.
“One of the big things that gets overlooked in selecting construction tech is looking at the immediate need or the cool thing that can be solved with a point solution, and not having the infrastructure in place to support all of those other selections that got made. Companies need to ensure that their infrastructure meets their needs for all of these constellation of point solutions, that they're going out, selecting, and vetting. Those two need to be able to talk to each other and right now a lot of companies forget about the infrastructure because it's not sexy. So that's something that I harp on a lot in the industry is ensuring that your technical infrastructure is ahead of and able to support all of the other innovative projects and tools that you're going to select.”
Nick Decker, Egnyte