Construction Computing Show 2006

I have just spent two days at the Construction Computing Show at London’s Barbican Centre.

BIW took a stand this year, taking advantage of an arrangement between the organisers and the IT Construction Forum whereby ITCF IT Partners could get space at a special rate. I also presented an ITCF seminar each day entitled The Extranet Evolution: How web-based construction collaboration technologies are changing project team communications (both were well-attended – it was standing room only at the first one!).

In my presentation, I summarised the NCCTP market research but focused on the wider challenges of encouraging collaborative working within the UK AEC industry. I then suggested customers now need to look beyond document management and simple processes and look for “collaboration-plus” technologies – platforms that also support key business processes which were often previously managed by separate ‘point solutions’.

Other collaboration vendors at the show included 4Projects, Business Collaborator and BuildOnline. The latter left the show before lunchtime yesterday, their marketing guy complaining they “hadn’t met a single client” – and following my post about Mark Suster and Koral, I was told “Mark now spends almost all his time in the States”. Union Square also had a stand, complete with a masseur offering therapeutic massages. I also spotted visitors from Asite and from Aconex (had a quick chat with Yuval Attias).

BIW certainly picked up a few sales leads, and I renewed a few old acquaintances (I was particularly pleased to meet Rob Howard, an architect turned academic whose past work on collaboration I quoted in my book, and Paul King, who has just joined Bentley after several years with TPS Consult in Croydon, where we were colleagues for some years).

Overall, my impression of the show was that it was smaller than in 2005, and while the co-location of the event with a Bentley conference may have attracted some delegates, it may well have deterred some exhibitors – some Autodesk resellers didn’t exhibit this year, for example. From my perspective, it was also a good networking event. On the down side, however, some fellow exhibitors felt the organisation efficiency could have been better (particularly during stand build-up).

The Construction Computing Awards (reception and dinner held on the evening after the show’s first day; see my previous post here) were a bit of a farce. One of the BTC organisers opened proceedings but his remarks were almost completely unintelligible, and the comedian Ray Walker was almost inaudible to most of the guests sat in the rear half of the room. Total attendance was around 160 (which included a few friends of BTC staff), several firms used it as a staff social event so there were relatively few industry customers, and with networking opportunities therefore limited few lingered after the award presentations (incidentally, I would be interested to know how many people actually voted in each category – for there seemed to be some very strange decisions! I think my doubts back in August were well placed).

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