Construction IT conferences: are we beginning to move beyond BIM and look at other, related fields, and to do so more affordably?
The recent heavy focus on BIM has seen some UK construction IT conferences become a bit repetitive (and, sadly – particularly for SMEs – often expensive), featuring the same speakers, the same case studies, etc, but there are some signs that we are beginning to move beyond BIM and look at related fields, and to do so more affordably.
For example, I talked about ‘Big Data‘ at a conference – organised by Asite, CIOB and ConstructIT – at London’s Google Campus recently. Next month, London Constructing Excellence Club’s monthly meeting will focus on “Smart Buildings and Smart Technologies“, and, later this year, we will have a whole week dedicated to “Digital Construction”, followed, two weeks later, by the COMIT/Fiatech two-day conference.
Digital Construction Week
Last week, I met up with Ollie Hughes, one of the promoters of Digital Construction Week, which will feature a series of core events in London from 20-22 October 2015. He outlined the DCW plans, which include a Westminster reception on 20 October, a two-day exhibition, plus conference sessions, at the Business Design Centre in Islington, and an awards event to top things off on 22 October.
However, the DCW team is keen to be inclusive and promote ‘fringe’ events (we talked a bit about Clerkenwell Design Week, 18-20 May, and the busy London Social Media Week, scheduled for 14-18 September this year; I have organised SMW events in past years). The aim is to build a varied programme of events delivered by a range of organisations, all happening immediately before, during or after DCW and cross-promoted by DCW to give greater visibility. Ollie said he wanted a choice of different types of events covering different subjects, with many free or low-cost to attend so that interested but time-poor industry professionals might take just a half-day out of their schedule to network and learn about the digital construction matters that are most relevant to them.
(As a result, I am now considering organising a Be2camp construction social media event and/or perhaps a CIPR CAPSIG event focused on technology PR for the construction industry. Update (21 May 2015): The ICE’s BIM conference is on 21 October.)
Efficiency through Digital Projects 2015
Two weeks after Digital Construction Week – but potentially also riding a wave of interest stimulated by it – is the second joint COMIT/Fiatech conference, Efficiency through Digital Projects, set for 10-11 November at the Hallam Conference Centre in London. The excellent 2014 conference attracted over 130 contributors, 12 stands, and 8 sponsors, and the team aims to surpass this in November, and has just issued a call (link) for a diverse array of presentations including:
- Computing everywhere: Social, Mobile Analystics and Cloud
- New Technologies AR/VR. Internet of Things
- Interoperability and Lifecycle Information Management
- Integrated Materials Management
- Handover and Asset Management – a consistent approach
- Application of Big Data Analytics, Cognitive Computing
- From the Owners Perspective
- Integrated Project Management (includes safety and risk management)
- Mobile IT – what is really happening to our industry
- Automating Code Processes
- Advanced Work Packaging
- Workforce and People
- Intelligent and Automated Jobsite – Robotic Engineering
Incidentally, the early bird registration fee – registration opens 1 June – for this two-day conference is £300 (£180 for COMIT/Fiatech members). This compares to the fee being charged for a forthcoming one-day BIM event in London: £395 plus VAT per seat! No wonder, as a result, I (and others) are more likely to attend events like Leeds Beckett University’s ThinkBIM series, BIMnet and others run by some of the CIC’s BIM4 groups.
[Disclosure: I am a member of the COMIT steering group, have been invited to join the DCW steering group, and supply paid support to ThinkBIM events.]