A quick mobile AEC catch-up

Mobile-first SaaS construction collaboration vendors Cadbeam, Finalcad, Sherlayer, BaseStone and GenieBelt continue to compete for attention in the UK.

The thirst for mobile applications in the architecture, engineering and construction market shows little sign of being quenched, and there is scope for new start-ups to carve out a niche for themselves. Competing with relative veterans such as Viewpoint for Projects Field View, other SaaS specialists who have embraced mobile (eg: Aconex, Asite, Business Collaborator, Conject, Newforma, Zutec [previous post]), and domain experts who’ve branched out into software (eg: Dome), are several young businesses targeting the UK market with mobile functionality.

Finalcad speeds up Lexicon

In May 2015, for example, I wrote about another London-based start-up Cadbeam, also offering site-based issue management and integration with MS Project; in the same month, I also covered SherLayer. And in July 2015, I looked at a recent arrival from France: Finalcad. It recently completed a project with London-based residential developer Mount Anvil, working on the 36-storey Lexicon project in the Islington area, where supply chain members used Finalcad competitively to close-out their defects as quickly and efficiently as possible – one user estimates a time saving of 60-70% over using traditional paper-based processes.

Basestone builds profile…

I have also written fairly regularly about Basestone since I first met founder Alex Siljanowski in January 2014. This start-up’s solution has been used by Crossrail, and Alex recently spoke at the Rail Industry Association’s “Unlocking Innovation” event, delivering an “Elevator Pitch” covering the importance of connected data and collaboration for engineers, and innovations such as machine learning to intelligently work with Big Data on projects (Basestone blog post). Meanwhile, there is a new Basestone iOS app, its PDF functionality has been improved, and the London-based firm even featured in the capital’s Evening Standard.

… and GenieBelt gets proud

Meanwhile, just over a year since launching its Free Forever collaboration offering (unlimited users, unlimited tasks, but a maximum of 50 shared files), Copenhagen-based, but with a strong British contingent among its team, Geniebelt continues to push its workforce focus, urging individuals and teams to be “Proud of their projects” (GenieBelt blog post). The mobile-first SaaS business quietly launched its document management capabilities earlier this year.

Overseas providers eyeing UK…

However, it would be unwise to think that Europe-based vendors are always the first choice for UK mobile collaboration solution customers. The SaaS revolution has eroded international boundaries and made it easier for both vendors to reach new markets and buyers to test and adopt new products. As a result, I have been writing regularly about startups in Australasia (APE MobileProgressClaim, and SmallBuilders, for example), the US (eg: Plangrid, FieldLens) and other markets.

Bridgit logoOne of the most interesting north American businesses is Canada’s Bridgit (see August 2014 post Bridgit launches Smartglass push). Among other things, this has been pushing forward with wearable technologies, and attracting a lot of attention – last week, for example, it won a special Google Demo Day challenge competing against 10 other startups all started by women. According to co-founder Mallorie Brodie:

Bridgit wins at Google Demo DayPresenting at and winning Google Demo day was yet another great opportunity to showcase just how much construction technology is changing, and how quickly that change is happening. 2016 is going to be a huge year for software adoption across the entire construction industry. On-site and in-office construction teams now have the appropriate tools (iPads, smartphones, larger data plans, etc.) to use software in their day to day.

For Bridgit, we are already seeing the impact of this, with sales growing at over 20% month over month and sustainable long term growth opportunities. What are we planning for 2016? Expect to see a larger product offering that caters to more stakeholders in the industry. We’ve proven that the construction industry loves our software, and in 2016 we’re bringing it to a significantly larger audience.

Right now, Bridgit has its eyes set on US expansion. Over the past couple of months we’ve been building our customer base in New York City and Google Demo Day was a great opportunity to continue growing our U.S. network.

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  1. Hi Paul,

    Happy New Year!

    Don’t forget Union Square in the mobile space! We have an iOS and Android solution in the market. See CIOB/ITN video here for headline overview: http://www.unionsquaresoftware.com/experience/videos/union-square-mobile-in-action/ . We have over 30 clients utilising Union Square mobile, including contractors, architects and building surveying consultancies.

    Our mobile strategy is lead by Nick Nieder, a senior recruitment from VolkerWessels. Nick is leading a team plugged into the main development function specifically focused on mobile. Union Square has developed a powerful mobile platform and app range focused on snagging/defects management, observations, offline document access and other site based productivity workflows. This plugs into the clients main Union Square system enabling us to track and manage the full defects management life cycle from identification, to escalation to trade contractor through to completion/resolution.

    The extensibility of our forms framework means we can rapidly deploy client specific forms, with the added benefit of automating the capture of forms data, as well as auto creation of Word/PDF documentation in the capture-publish-archive process of so many site requirements. In the late Spring/early summer we will be releasing a client electronic forms creator to augment the core system, to enable them to pick off as many forms as required from their QMS.

    Nick is away on holiday for a couple of weeks, but I would promote you make contact to understand in more detail.

    Exciting times!

    Best regards, Stuart

  1. […] been deployed by property developer Mount Anvil on a multi-storey residential project in London (post). At Ecobuild, marketing director Aurelien Blaha updated me on two areas of Finalcad data […]

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