London-based, but French-accented, CADBEAM has a mobile-first approach that embraces construction programme management.
The London tech startup community is internationally renowned and when Paris-based CADBEAM won a UK Trade & Industry entrepreneur competition providing funding to further develop its web and mobile construction technology, its two principles, engineers Laurent Biancardini and Alex Spieser had little hesitation in moving their company to London’s Shoreditch quarter and taking some space in The Bakery accelerator space.
I walked down from “Silicon Roundabout” last Friday to learn more about this early stage company. Like other London-based AEC-oriented startups I’ve talked to so far this year (eg: Blue Ronin/Basestone – post; HANDS HQ – post), CADBEAM grew out of frustration at the time wasted through relying on paper-based processes on-site. Civil engineer Laurent was working with contractor Vinci Energies and felt that mobile devices had to be better for capturing progress notes out on site and then updating systems once he got back to the site office. With systems engineer Alex, he set up CADBEAM, and, seeking funding, successfully applied to the UKTI’s Sirius Programme. Consequently, the business moved to London and is now looking to develop an application accessible from both Apple iOS and Android devices (to be launched in late 2014).
At the moment, the platform is purely a web-based Software-as-a-Service programme, with an intuitive dashboard that allows users to navigate quickly to their current projects and to get an at-a-glance overview of their project(s) progress. For CADBEAM, a key concept is the creation of zones to divide otherwise extensive large sites, particularly extensive floor-plates in multi-storey developments; editable PDFs are used for plan views of each zone. These can also be explored by specialism, meaning different subcontractors can quickly identify issues (marked by ‘pins’) that are relevant to their expertise. So far nothing that new, but as issues are reported, the application will also identify the potential time impact on the overall programme, with Gannt charts displayed to visualise delays and knock-on effects on other specialist trades. This was the stand-out difference for me.
Their mobile-first approach echoes that of FieldLens and Geniebelt (see recent post), but other vendors such as Mobile Computing Solutions Priority1 (post) have substantial adoption, already deploy pin-based navigation on Android tablets, and are adding rich levels of functionality beyond snagging and other site-based processes. In the meantime, the CADBEAM team are now engaged in growing the business, increasing their visibility, learning about the UK market and seeking their first testers and early adopters (and, despite the name, they know the future is more about BIM than CAD).