BuiltWorlds Summit 2018: Thursday Recap


The 2018 BuiltWorlds Summit saw its first full day of programming today with a remarkably impressive lineup spanning the built industry. Discussions of emerging technology, the shifting real estate landscape, the value of data in an evolving built environment, and so much more took place throughout nearly a dozen panels, keynotes, and presentations. Climbing toward a metaphorical ‘summit,’ attendees and speakers alike sparked conversations about how they can, as a community, drive global innovation forward.

“Focus on boots on the ground and not the shiny shoes,” warned Bechtel’s David Wilson in the morning’s opening keynote address. Wilson detailed how those at management and executive levels can develop processes and amenities for workers on jobsites that produce smarter, more efficient results. Ultimately, Wilson argued, AEC professionals have four options: “shape it, create it, get shaped by it, get left behind.”

Safety, too, is always of the highest priority amongst those in the construction industry. Increased capability to collect data, however, has made tackling safety on the jobsite more intuitive than ever before. Laith Amin of WorleyParsons spoke about how in the past the construction industry would use a mixture of human inference and old data to predict future safety incidents. “Working in a way that doesn’t ensure people’s safety is a very expensive thing to do,” Amin explained as he laid out how WorleyParsons uses predictive forecasting with aggregated data to more accurately analyze and avoid future health hazards.

David Wilson of Bechtel discusses the excuses and common reasons for not embracing innovation.

Proponents of emerging technology took the stage at the Summit today, too, speaking about the different ways developing tech are impacting their built industry workplaces. “VR is kind of becoming the norm,” said Nila Leiserowitz of Gensler. “People assume that’s the way we’re going to be sharing with them. We have a huge investment in technology in terms of how we deliver construction documents and how we actually work to have our clients understand through VR and other tools what they’re going to see when the space is built.”

Similarly, other tech-adopting companies peppered the spotlight sharing tales of reduced expenditure and increased ease. Tom Boldt of The Boldt Company provided context into how their partnership PlanGrid saved the company millions. Chris Anderson of 3D Robotics showcased how robotic technology is dramatically improving the most hazardous, dirty jobs in construction. All around, the sentiment was the same: pushing for innovation rather than staving it away is key for longevity in the built world.

The inaugural BuiltWorlds Maverick Awards kicked off this evening as well, shining light on the trailblazers of the built industry. Disruptive, nonconformist, and rebellious, the Mavericks turned left when everyone else turned right. They defied the status quo and took the path less taken because, for them, it was the only true option. “I think this is the first time I’ve been called a Maverick,” Shane Scranton of IrisVR said. “My parents used to call me Safety Shane, so being dangerous and disruptive is a new feeling for me.”

Tomorrow, the BuiltWorlds Summit continues at the Westin Chicago with another fantastic lineup of speakers. Click here for the agenda. Are you a BuiltWorlds member that isn’t here at the Summit but doesn’t want to miss the next big event? You’re in luck. BuiltWorlds’ Machines Conference is right around the corner. Learn more here.