Remembering Kalexo. Now Flashback

Launched in 2009, Kalexo looked to change collaboration approaches, and was acquired by Autodesk. Now founder Hannes Marais has a new project…

Four or five years ago, I discovered a technology start-up called Kalexo which was looking at ways to advance task management, file-sharing, online meetings and video chat online in construction (see BIM: All change please). By managing and recording information-rich exchanges such as integrated voice, movie communications and online meetings, its application Kalexo Teamwork was looking beyond mainstream construction collaboration technology platforms, which were (and still are) largely focused on file-sharing and processes. A closer look at Kalexo in April 2009 opened up my eyes to its potential to share conversations related to building information modelling (BIM) using desktop sharing and screenshot functionality.

At the time, I thought Kalexo might be leading the way in adding multimedia capabilities to existing systems, and wondered if “the BIM giants might look at incorporating similar capabilities into their platforms?” It was subsequently acquired by Autodesk, and some of the ideas behind Kalexo Teamwork are now apparent in some Autodesk products.


Today I got an email from Kalexo’s founder and CEO Hannes Marais. He left Autodesk last year and is again looking at how multimedia communication and collaboration can be applied to the needs of professionals in architecture, engineering and construction. Savhy, his latest start-up, is focused on a video tool called Flashback. Users can share designs and their opinions on them by simply opening the tool, hitting a record button and speaking. Unlike conventional video tools (eg: YouTube), Flashback videos can be fast-forwarded and rewound, and you can use your mouse to zoom into or pan across presented materials.

The website explains:

Flashbacks are in fact animations driven from a cloud database. This allows full-fidelity viewing, hyper-fast-forward, hyper-rewind, tangential exploration, re-mixing, over-recording, online meetings, shared markup, and probably more things we have not thought of yet.  For example, … you can interact with a Flashback by pointing/high-lighting with your own laser pointer (in green), and also zoom in/out and pan at any time (we call this going on a tangent).

Flashback content is organized into lightweight “projects” with project members and a timeline of added content and recorded presentations. With all the designs and content stored in the cloud, it is easy for users to re-use existing content when creating a new Flashback.

The tool is clearly at an early stage of development, but looks promising (I have registered to get an invite to use the site). I would like to understand more about if and how:

  1. the tool might be deployed from mobile tablet devices (Kalexo had an iPhone tool)
  2. content might be shared beyond the Flashback projects platform (perhaps as ‘social objects’).

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  1. […] staffer for about a year. In 2013, Hannes was developing a new video tool – Flashback (June 2013) – and it seems he has since been working on a more advanced version of Kalexo’s video […]

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