Not strictly a collaboration solution, more an expertise-oriented social network, start-up Senubo is set to launch in early 2011.
Yesterday I attended a half-day workshop organised by the Construction Productivity Network focused on how to get the UK construction industry to deliver “more for less” – a topical ambition given that tomorrow the government is set to announce some major spending cuts in its Comprehensive Spending Review. Perhaps a sign that the pivotal role of ICT is now being recognised, building information modelling featured among the ideas raised by many of the tables (although it was equally recognised that technological advances also need supporting changes in industry structures, processes and people), but the potential of social media got hardly a mention – apart from when its potential value in knowledge management was suggested by somebody at my table.
I talked to that person, Eddie Horkan (owner of a Carlow, Ireland-based piling and foundation company, Terradrive), afterwards, and his colleague Conor Heffernan. Belfast-based Senubo.co.uk is described on its (currently one-page) website as “private social networks for the construction industry”. While the website imagery of mobile phones made me think of a private Twitter-type network, like Yammer (post), Eddie said the company aimed to help companies create internal LinkedIn-type networks where the expertise, experience and project-related knowledge of individuals could be researched and shared via a handheld application:
“Senubo provide construction companies with a means to leverage their teams’ knowledge. Creating a powerful database of expertise and insight, Senubo delivers connections right across your team, enabling you to stay in touch with, and on top of, projects and groups throughout your organisation.”
Given my ten-year background in construction collaboration technologies and my related interests in knowledge management tools including wikis and intranets, we had an interesting conversation about the appetite of the construction industry for such tools. While I have seen growing interest in recent months in use of Web 2.0 tools among UK construction professionals (eg: Mace – post), they are still some way short of being regarded as mainstream as email or intranets, for instance. But maybe this will change. Senubo plans to launch in the UK in early 2011.