Latista adds mobile business intelligence

Latista says its BI toolset will help users quickly identify and resolve issues by highlighting key indicators and trends, and BIM seems to be firmly on the roadmap.

Latista logoI have mentioned US-based mobile construction solution provider Latista only occasionally since 2010, most recently in connection with its now parent Textura, who acquired the Virginia-based business in November 2013. Latista provides a mobile and cloud platform for documents, commissioning, quality, punch list, and safety management applications. It has started 2015 by adding business intelligence (BI) capabilities to its platform (see the Latista news release) and BIM features heavily on the roadmap.

According to the company, Latista BI will help users quickly identify and resolve issues before a project is impacted, enabling improved collaboration between project stakeholders and keeping the entire team informed and coordinated. A library of standard reports can highlight key indicators and trends:

Owners, general contractors and architects can easily compare and cross-reference performance among projects right from the reporting dashboard within Latista. Power users can access the advanced data analysis tools to create custom reports that track specific issue, inspection, and commissioning metrics.

Business intelligence capability has been added by most of the leading UK-based SaaS AEC collaboration vendors in the past 2-3 years. Conject (then BIW) launched its BI toolset almost three years ago, for example; Asite and McLaren launched their BI offerings in March and April of 2014 respectively; while the Viewpoint/4Projects acquisition of MCS last month added further mobile BI capabilities to its portfolio.

Mobile BIM construction competition hotting up

Latista is one of a growing number of mobile data-capture and reporting tools being developed for construction use in both the US and Europe. In the US just last month, for example, I noted Trimble’s launch of  ProjectSight, though, as a budget product in the Trimble Buildings portfolio, it is not as sophisticated as Latista. The latter is increasingly being positioned as a BIM-ready tool, while others remain largely focused on the traditional sharing of 2D drawings and documents. Here I would mention US vendors such as PlanGrid, FieldLens, Corecon, EADoc, FluidCM, Procore, and – eventually – Viewpoint for Collaboration. Mobile BIM offerings are also being developed by, among others, design software giants Bentley and Autodesk (see my 5 December post: Autodesk raises its BIM cloud game), and UK-based mobile-centric software developers Cadbeam, BaseStone and SiteDesk.

Currently Latista apps are only available for users of Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows devices; Android device support is on the roadmap. Latista marketing manager Fendi Liu tells me the solution supports IFC and many other formats:

“We also support federated models and import and export to COBie. Equipment and components can be extracted from BIM to be available for use in other modules. Offline, users can navigate through BIM using mobile devices. Project engineers can create issues that can be shared to their subcontractors directly from a specific location within the BIM. Users can annotate BIM with markups when they create issues.”

However, it’s not clear how far Latista would support the Level 2 requirements for UK BIM adoption of a Common Data Environment, set to be clarified further this Spring once the final digital Plan of Works and classification elements of the digital toolkit are published. Parent Textura is currently little-known in Europe, and while the 2014 appointment of former Conject CEO Colin Smith will, I am sure, see it localising some of the Textura CPM capabilities to meet UK commercial needs in 2015, it may take longer for the Latista platform to do the same in the context of BIM.


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