Aug 08 2017

24OnOff makes time management mobile

Start-up 24onoff has announced the UK launch of a new project management app for web and smartphones (Apple iOS and Android), helping digitise everyday paper-based tasks such as creating timesheets and invoices, as well as tracking man hours and managing documents (read this BIM+ article).

24onoff was originally launched in Scandinavia by the Heimdal, Trondheim, Norway-based founders some 2-3 years ago, and has accumulated some 5,000 users in northern Europe, mainly in Norway, Sweden and Denmark (the app also has a Polish language edition). CEO Sondre Blaasmo says: “24onoff removes the paper trail with a easy-to-use, ‘field friendly’ web and smartphone app for construction workers of all ages.”

Blaasmo has been studying management and entrepreneurship at London’ University’s Goldsmith’s College, so it was perhaps inevitable that it would be launched in the UK. Ole Jørgen Næss, head of product development said: “We realised we needed to make a unique and customised software for all the small builders in the UK. We’ve now created a product that has helped companies reduce the time spent on paperwork and administration by an average of 50%.”

The company piloted the application with more than 50 small builders, plumbers, electricians and property maintenance companies around the UK, and the majority of these are said to have now purchased the software. In a launch promotion, 24onoff is offering teams of up to three employees free use of the software, with no hidden fees.

Competitive market

As regular readers may recognise, 24onoff is targeting a massive market of small-to-medium-sized businesses (95% of UK construction, for example), and it’s also a market being targeted by several other providers around the world, including Copenhagen, Denmark-based GenieBelt (one of the better-funded ones – post – vital if a SaaS business is to reach a widely dispersed, fragmented, and relatively low-tech SME market), Australasia-based TidyBuild (post) and Small Builders (post), and US-based eSUB (post), Corecon (post) and Jobsite Unite (post). I also recently looked at another UK provider, Builderstorm.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2017/08/24onoff-makes-project-management-mobile/

Jul 27 2017

Collaboration tech people moves

In a sector like Software-as-a-Service where it is often the quality of the management that matters just as much as the technology they provide, it is useful to keep track of moves between, into and out of the main industry players.

Aconex logo 2014At Aconex, for example, the business has a new CFO, Paul Koppelman, who took over the reins from Stephen Recht in February 2017 – the same month when a new chief technology officer, Craig Fulton, was appointed (post) to work with co-founder Rob Phillpot. In the Middle East, Aconex has appointed Baraq Hadi, previously vice president at Bentley Systems, as general manager of the Middle East – reporting (like former BIW and Conject executive now UK and Ireland general manager Steve Cooper) to Henry Jones, senior vice president of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and global accounts. And I recently met the business’s new EMEA marketing chief Jan Jivmark (formerly EMEA marketing director at IntraLinks, and, before that, head of marketing at Acronis).

Jivmark will presumably be reporting to Gabriele Famous, announced this week as Aconex’s new Chief Marketing Officer. Famous was previously VP, Global Product Marketing at Zendesk, and held leadership positions at Salesforce so has, as Aconex CEO Leigh Jasper says, “proven track record in Software as a Service marketing”.

Other people moves

In March 2017, former COINS, BIW, Conject and Textura Europe CEO Colin Smith became the new CEO at Buckinghamshire, UK-based Causeway Technologies, with the previous CEO Phil Brown taking a more strategic role as chairman. Causeway provides a broad range of construction software applications, including a collaboration – or enterprise content management, ECM – solution based on OpenText.

In the US, former Viewpoint VP of global product management Bob Humphreys has joined Seattle-based Viewpoint development partner VPApps, along with Viewpoint colleagues Anthony Mavricos and Todd Weber.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2017/07/collaboration-tech-people-moves/

Jul 26 2017

Asite launches BIM clash detection

Asite logo 2012As anticipated a month ago, London, UK-based SaaS construction collaboration technology vendor Asite has added clash detection (the recognition and inspection of an interference at the intersection of multiple objects within a 3D project model) to the tools in its Adoddle cBIM (collaborative Building Information Modelling) suite.

According to the company’s news release, this function will enable designers to discover conflicts at an early stage of the project lifecycle, allowing for significant time and cost savings. Conflicts that would have been discovered in person, can now be seen in the office before anyone sets foot on site:

With the intricacies of several models (Structural, Architectural, Mechanical, MEP, etc.) being integrated into one main BIM model, Clash Detection is a crucial component in increasing efficiency. Adoddle’s cBIM solution also allows Clash Detection to be possible for objects within objects. For example, a steel rod that has been completely immersed within a concrete wall can be recognized with the Clash Detection tool.

Asite says it supports two main types of clashes:

  • Hard Clash – when two components occupy the same space or two objects pass through each other. Example being a column running through a wall or pipework through a steel beam.
  • Soft Clash – when objects encroach into geometric tolerances for other objects

The Adoddle cBIM clash detection tool lets users merge BIM models of various work sets for clash detection, discover and identify clashes between different non-proprietary software applications, examine the clash from multiple angles including adding mark-up and redlining, and initiate workflows to help collaboration and resolution within project teams.

The tool includes a clash browser enabling list summary of clash objects. Views of clashes can be captured in a 3D pane and used to initiate workflows, and attributes of clash objects can be displayed to help rectification.

In other news, earlier this month Asite also announced that the University of Cambridge has chosen the Adoddle platform to be its standard Project Information Management tool for their BIM Level 2 project portfolio.

Cloud BIM battleground growing

BIM is a key functionality battleground among the collaboration vendors, particularly in the UK, where the use of open standards-based ‘common data environments’ (CDEs) is increasingly required by major clients, especially in the public sector. Along with fellow UK-based vendors 4Projects (now Viewpoint – post) and GroupBC (post), Asite invested heavily in BIM-related research and development during the early days of the UK BIM push, while others – notably Conject (now part of Aconex) – seemingly dithered before finally entering the BIM race in 2015.

Established international SaaS players such as Aconex and Think Project! have also been developing their BIM capabilities, while design authoring giants such as Autodesk, Bentley and the Nemetschek group, have added and expanded cloud collaboration in their product portfolios. And there are also more recent startups targeting the sector – UK-based 3D Repo (post) and Clearbox (post) are just two examples.

BIM in the cloudAs adoption of BIM-based processes and technologies grows (the recent EU BIM group handbook showed this is now a Europe-wide movement), CDE platform support will become a basic requirement, while the options to support design tasks such as clash detection and model validation and verification, will see SaaS vendors encroaching into territory that was once largely the preserve of the authoring software providers. In June 2008, I wondered if BIMaaS might become a reality – maybe it’s getting closer?

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2017/07/asite-launches-bim-clash-detection/

Jul 20 2017

GroupBC revenues up 33%

Re-energised following its November 2014 MBO, UK construction collaboration vendor GroupBC is growing revenues and increasing profitability.

Reading, UK-based GroupBC (previously known as Business Collaborator) is one of the longest-established SaaS construction collaboration technology providers in the UK. It started as part of the software solutions arm of the Enviros environmental consulting and software group in the 1990s, and (as outlined in November 2014, when its current managers bought the business with backing from YFM), went through several changes of ownership (CodaSciSys in 2003, Coda in 2006, Agresso Unit 4 in 2008) before establishing today’s independent business.

The 2008-2014 period also saw various brand changes – from 2010 until the MBO the company traded as UNIT4 Collaboration Software Ltd – but the core SaaS platform remained ‘Business Collaborator’ throughout. The business also learned a lot about integration of its system with other products during the UNIT4 years: several GroupBC customers were using other UNIT4 solutions as well as its collaboration platform. GroupBC also has some strong owner-operator relationships in the UK retail sector (Monsoon, Primark, and the SSP retail and catering outlet provider), in local government, the water sector (notably Thames Water, Southern Water and United Utilities), with leading contractors including Balfour Beatty and Costain, and consultancies including CH2M, Atkins and WSP.

2016 revenue growth

While trading under the UNIT4 banner, the business did not report its financial performance. However, it has resumed publication of its audited annual report and accounts, with the latest detailing the year to 30 November 2016. The figures are not comparable with the company’s pre-2010 reporting – at the time of the MBO, CEO Sanjeev Shah told me GroupBC would be switching to a SaaS subscription approach. The recently published report shows total revenues of £3.795m (c. US$4.9m or €4.33). This showed sales up 33% from £2.857m in 2015. The business also increased profitability (EBITDA) from £0.445m to £0.797m (c. US$1.029m or €0.908m) – a 77% year-on-year increase.

Vendor turnover July 2017

The upward revenue growth is in line with that experienced by other vendors recently:

  • global market leader Aconex last year announced underlying organic revenues up 31% (post)
  • in the UK, Asite reported its revenues up 14% in 2016 (post)
  • in May 2017 Viewpoint for Projects’s Steve Spark said its 2016 EMEA revenues were up 24% (post)
  • Munich, Germany-based think project! reported 2016 revenues up 35% (post)

In all these cases, businesses cited adoption of building information modelling (BIM) as a contributing factor to their growth, and this is certainly the case with GroupBC. It has been investing in its platform’s ‘common data environment’ capabilities to support teams working to UK BIM Level 2 and beyond, while its research and development into “semantic BIM” (Connected BIM) recently saw it launch its GeoConnect+ service at the GeoBusiness event in London in late May 2017. Developed by GroupBC following joint and ongoing research with consultancy PCSG and Ordnance Survey, GeoConnect+ connects BIM information with geospatial data in a way that helps large asset owners and operators manage large, disparate estates better; datasets include OS open data, OS mapping data, land and property data, flood, river, and road network data (read PCSG’s blog post).

The core platform has not been neglected. BC7 has just been released with a couple of clients (including Thames Water) already using it ahead of a wider roll-out in September 2017. Enhancements include a streamlined interface, cross-browser and device access (using HTML5) with a zero-install redline/markup capability, and security improvements including two-factor authentication and e-signatures.

Sanjeev ShahNew GroupBC customers won during the year include retailer Sainsbury’s (now hosting its OneProperty asset management platform on BC) and fellow retailer JD Sports, along with Jarvis Construction and the Houses of Parliament (UK hosting and an ISO27001 accreditation were factors in the decision on BC). A differentiating factor for some customers is that the platform can be set up on a dedicated server in GroupBC’s UK hosting facility, allowing clients to flex the system and benefit from localised development and systems integrations. This hosting and software flexibility helps retain customers; Shah, right, is proud that GroupBC’s ‘churn rate’ is under 5%.

While growing its customer base, GroupBC is also expanding its team. During the year to November 2016, its headcount grew from 20 to 45, with further expansion planned through to the end of 2017; one appointment was a new sales and marketing director: after more than 10 years at Union Square (prior to its July 2016 acquisition by Deltek), and before that at Eque2, sales director Stuart Bell joined GroupBC earlier this year, “excited by the opportunities at the best kept secret in the CDE space!” The company has also established a graduate training programme with Pareto, with the first two graduates progressing well.

[Disclosure: While I have provided marketing consultancy services to GroupBC, this post is unconnected with that work.]

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2017/07/groupbc-revenues-up-33/

Jul 19 2017

Holobuilder launches 360 Construction Documentation Solution

Holobuilder logoHoloBuilder is a San Francisco, US-based construction technology company that designs, develops, and sells enterprise SaaS software. Its core product offers reality capturing solutions for progress documentation and construction project management, using 360° imagery, computer vision and AI. HoloBuilder says its customers include 40% of the Top 100 General Contractors in the United States, while it investors include Brick and Mortar Ventures and Tandem Capital.

Holobuilder, which recently rebranded, has just released a new construction documentation solution to enable project teams to capture, comment, and view a 360-degree construction project in real-time. It includes collaboration support for unlimited accounts and project download for an offline deliverable once the project has reached close out. A new pricing model is offered, based on project size.

The scalable SaaS solution can be deployed company-wide across projects or at an enterprise level, where it offers:

  • 360-degree reality capturing with the JobWalk mobile app
  • TimeTravel for progress documentation
  • a measurement tool to measure within 360° images, and
  • annotations.

Users can now collaborate with their whole team and enjoy enterprise level service and security. Having the entire team on board allows users to set up large projects quickly while allowing the project owner to decide who has access and editor rights. Notifications are shown when team members update the project and allow everyone to see who is working within HoloBuilder at the same time.

During project close-out, the project can be downloaded and saved as a view-only deliverable for the owner to keep throughout the lifetime of the building.

HoloBuilder says it is the first reality capturing solution [it uses 360-degree photography] that enables efficient progress documentation for large-scale construction projects. With collaboration, the responsibility of capturing progress is distributed, data silos are removed, and reliability is increased by providing a workflow that is built around an entire construction team. Andrew Cameron, Area Superintendent at SFO Airport Terminal 1 Construction site by Hensel Phelps, says:

“We have been able to leverage HoloBuilder’s collaboration platform for about two months now. To be able to arm multiple staff members with a camera who can jointly collaborate to track the status and the history of the project, not only for us but also for our clients and stakeholders, makes a lot of sense.”

Mostafa Akbari, CEO of HoloBuilder, Inc, says:

“Our new solution is the result of co-development between HoloBuilder and many of the top U.S. General Contractors. In countless discussions and beta projects, we’ve learned what is most important to them and the construction industry as a whole. Together we have been thinking about all stages of a project, from project set up, to the building phase, and the close-out phase. HoloBuilder is the best in class for all three categories. To provide truly unlimited scalable projects, now unlimited collaborators can work on one project with different access settings. With our new Handover Package, projects can be downloaded and kept offline in a view-only mode for decades to come. It was important that our new solution provides all enterprise requirements that work for the industry. I am proud that we have not only achieved this but also offer the most scalable reality capturing solution in the market.”

Update (22 July 2017)  – In response to some follow-up questions I posed to Holobuilder, I received the following from marketing manager Harry Handorf:

Any connection with Microsoft’s Hololens? -There is no direct connection between the Microsoft HoloLens and HoloBuilder. We are an independent company with an independent product. With our roots in the Virtual and Augmented Reality technology space, we are inspired and fascinated by the idea of connecting the virtual and physical world. This is what we are now realizing for the construction industry through an efficient reality capturing process. The idea is also reflected in our new logo and branding, which symbolizes the point of intersection between the digital and physical world.

How many customers and/or end-users? – We have more than 3,000 construction projects on our platform at the moment, we are hosting more than 500,000 photo spheres and our customers include 40% of the top 100 general contractors in the US.

How would the pricing work for a civil engineering / infrastructure project (as opposed to a building measured by sq ft or m2)? – For very large [projects] we provide individual solutions that are custom tailored to the customer’s project individual requirements. We can also provide them with on-premises solutions on their own servers.

What about other reality capture (photogrammetry, laser scans) and BIM support?  – Currently, you can add your own renderings from BIM models (e.g. from Revit) if you export them as a cube map file. And we are also working on extended image format support and are also actively working with point clouds in our development, which are generally supported by the web platform (which can easily handle 3D models, due to its roots in the VR/AR space). In general, terrestrial laser scanning is a fantastic technology, that we just see in a different usage scenario. It is a very precise, but comparatively expensive and slow process. Thus we consider it to be perfect if when you need precise measurements, want to compare as-builts with original plans or want to connect the reality with your BIM models on a detailed level. Our USP is, that HoloBuilder is the fastest way to document construction progress. By capturing and organizing 360° pictures on sheets as fast as foremen can walk the site, we allow our customers to communicate current site conditions to their stakeholders and keep the documentation for many years to come.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2017/07/holobuilder-launches-360-construction-documentation-solution/

Jul 10 2017

CMAP targets project accounting needs

In a fragmented, SME-dominated, project-oriented industry like construction, there’s plenty of opportunities for SaaS vendors to help small businesses run their projects online.

In my previous post, I had a first look at BuilderStorm, and mentioned how the financial capabilities of its platform might be attractive to SMEs looking for online ERP/accounting functionality. This puts this in the same kind of space occupied by Union Square (acquired by US player Deltek almost exactly a year ago) and Rapport 3 (post) in the UK, plus US-based e-Sub.com and New Zealand’s TidyBuild (both targeting the SME AEC market – post).

CMAP logoAnother firm in this sector is Wilmslow, UK-based CMAP Software, whose focus is on AEC project accounting (thought it also has service offerings to business consultancies, healthcare and creative businesses). The business was founded by Dave Graham, and, like other companies in the J-Media group, was incorporated in 2015, but the CMAP website says “we’ve been writing software and generally been in love with all things tech since the year 2000.”

CMAP business manager Paul Ard told me:

“CMAP handles the full cycle of a project from winning the project, delivering it on-time and on-budget, to billing. Feature-wise this covers CRM, job costing, projects, resourcing, timesheets and expenses, and reporting.”

One of the stand-out features in CMAP’s SaaS platform (hosted by Microsoft Azure since August 2013) is a business intelligence tool, complemented by a mobile BI app (available in Apple iOS and Android versions); CMAP’s platform also offers a personal mobile app (iOS only), allowing staff to manage their timesheets, expenses, contacts, activities and time off.

The system also offers integrations with other financial packages (Sage, Xero, QuickBooks, COINS Global), an Outlook integration, plus integration with Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM platform, and with other AEC tools including photo management tool OpenAsset, and project information management toolset Newforma (so similar in this respect to Rapport 3; Newforma launched its Cloud Services Connector strategy in September 2016).

Ard says CMAP’s headline clients are Grimshaw Architects, Paul Davis and Partners, Morgan Sindall Professional Services and Eckersley O’Callaghan. The latest addition to the client roster is London-based architect David Miller Architects (CMAP blog post), while the company has also been shortlisted for Technology Provider of the Year in the 2017 New Civil Engineer TechFest Awards (coincidentally, NCE’s editor Mark Hansford was at the IBP communication and PR awards last week and he told me about the TechFest conference in London on 14 September).

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2017/07/cmap-targets-project-accounting-needs/

Jul 03 2017

BuilderStorm targets SME contractors

UK start-up BuilderStorm seems focused on the SME contractor market, and it is claiming to be BIM level 2 compliant.

A relatively recent arrival on the UK SaaS construction software landscape is BuilderStorm. Incorporated in Brighton in 2014 and now based in Horsham in Sussex, BuilderStorm was founded by construction project engineer David Lawrence and software developer James Sandwick, and provides cloud-based construction management software that aims to cover almost every aspect of running a contracting business, whether it is involved with small-scale house extensions or multi-million pound projects.

Like many small start-ups, the business faced early challenges in scaling up its operations, as Lawrence recalled: “I know we have a great product, but sometimes it was lost on potential clients because we were just a small company.” However, the founders raised money in late 2016 through an equity crowd-funding initiative run via CrowdCube, and the initial £100k target was achieved within 15 days, with more than 80 new investors backing the business to the tune of £149.1k, which was to be used to expand its marketing and support activities.

Saas platform features

The BuilderStorm platform is accessed via a standard browser, and is said to be ‘ultra-responsive’, allowing use on a tablet, notebook, desktop Mac/PC or mobile. Hosting is provided by Amazon Web Services. The platform incorporates a wide range of features, arranged in five groups (plus ‘other’):

  • project tools (including a scheduling tool – offering an online alternative to MS Project or Primavera)
  • storage solutions (including drawing and document hosting and an “interactive drawing” tool)
  • quality controls (RFIs, snaglist, etc)
  • financial (quotations, variation requests, valuations, invoices, tender Hosting packages and timesheets – making BuilderStorm potentially attractive to those looking for ERP/accounting functionality online)
  • logistics (asset manager, inductions, deliveries, etc)

According to the website, early adopter customers include Bellway, WSP, Avanti Architects, IDM Properties, EHA Group, and I & H Brown (deploying BuilderStorm on a £18m multi-storey carpark project in Warrington). Pricing is said to be “super-competitive” (“We will not be beaten on price. If you can find a competitor with a similar package and same features, we will not just match their quote, we will beat it.”), with (according Lawrence’s description of the Warrington project) packages that start from £2850 per year, with no set-up fees or limits on the numbers of users or projects.

BuilderStorm and BIM

BIM is said to be part of the offering, but seemingly only at a somewhat basic level (which I would describe as Level 1; this NBS article helps explain the levels). However, BuilderStorm insists it can help its customers be Level 2 compliant:

“We offer all the tools and features you need to demonstrate you are BIM Level 2 compliant. We can provide on-line drawing hosting with robust revision control and full audit trails. Our RFI system means that everyone Is on the same page when looking at design queries. Project photos keep track of the project as it changes over time, and the whole project and all data can be exported at the end for hand-over to the client.”

While it can share model outputs such as drawings and other project workflows, it is unclear whether BuilderStorm could provide any kind of model sharing viewing or more advanced levels of data exchange and export such as IFC or COBie. However, given that many UK SME contractors are, sadly, still some distance from achieving BIM Level 2 this may not be an immediately pressing customer demand, but when that demand is expressed, BuilderStorm will perhaps have to invest to add to its platform’s functionalities.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2017/07/builderstorm-targets-sme-contractors/

Jun 30 2017

Collaborative BIM developments

I visited the National Infrastructure Forum exhibition and conference at London’s ExCEL earlier this month and talked to staff on a couple of the technology vendors’ stands. Both the conversations focused on BIM and collaboration….

3D Repo

I have talked to people from London-based 3D Repo at various BIM events in recent months (and wrote about their BID4Free platform in March 2017). At the NIF event they were talking about a new version of their cloud-based BIM collaboration platform that offers additional support for leading software packages such as Autodesk Navisworks. It also provides enhanced support for large 3D models typical of infrastructure projects, as well as integrated VR functionality for applications such as training, safety and project consultation. CEO Dr Jozef Dobos said:

“The support for native file formats and software platforms further highlights our commitment to collaboration. We want to make project information as accessible and usable as possible, which is why we engage with as many open source and proprietary formats as we can, allowing users to share 3D models, issues and ultimately knowledge with the wider project team, in the cloud, but still in the context of the original model.”

The latest versions of 3D Repo’s Open Source, Starter, Professional and Enterprise packages include advanced integration with Autodesk Navisworks project review software. A custom plug-in (available free from the Autodesk App Store) allows data to be uploaded directly to the 3D Repo knowledge base without the need for file exchanges. Users can then view models and collaborate with the wider project team through their web browser, even on very large and complex projects. The Professional package is £100 per month for unlimited projects, issues and collaboration.

3D Repo has also announced support for the BCF file format, allowing import/export of collaboration and mark up data for issues tracking to software such as Solibri quality assurance solutions, Trimble’s Tekla product family and 3D architectural BIM software ArchiCAD (from the Nemetschek Group’s Graphisoft business).

Bluebeam

Over the years, I have talked to several organisations that use Bluebeam‘s Revu PDF creation, editing, markup and collaboration technology to support their design and construction workflows, but I haven’t dug too deeply into the application, primarily as it was originally a locally hosted, PC-based solution rather than a cloud-hosted application (my core focus). As a then US-owned business, Bluebeam also did not have a high profile in the UK or mainland Europe.

Nemetschek logoHowever, Bluebeam has been mentioned in this blog when other vendors talked about integration (Box.net and Motion Computing in 2010, for example) or about their competition (Plangrid in 2014, Combinder in 2016, for example) as mobile apps grew in importance; and, of course, I couldn’t overlook the US company’s acquisition by Nemetschek in October 2014 – particularly as this put Bluebeam alongside a host of design authoring applications collaboration products (including Allplan, Vectorworks, the above-mentioned Graphisoft, SCIA, DDS and Maxon), since augmented by other tools including Solibri (December 2015) and dRofus (December 2016), in a group publicly committed to Open BIM as a basis for collaboration.

Bluebeam logoAt the NIF event, I talked to Bluebeam staff about Revu, and, in particular, about Bluebeam Studio: a centralised collaboration platform included with every seat of Revu that connects project partners worldwide in real-time. This, of course, puts Bluebeam in competition with the SaaS construction collaboration technology vendors I’ve focused on, and not just in relation to conventional 2D documents and drawings, but also in relation to 3D BIM. For Revu CAD version also allows creation and markup of 3D PDFs from Autodesk’s Revit and Navisworks, plus Sketchup Pro and any IFC file. Bluebeam Studio Prime also has integrations with other collaboration products including:

  • Procore – hot on APIs (post), Procore users can create Studio Sessions for submittals
  • Egnyte – enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) services, and
  • Fieldlens – recently acquired by WeWork (post), Fieldlens can be linked to selected Studio Projects, used to monitor for changes and alert users when it’s time to sync – ensuring updated drawings are available instantly to everyone in the field.

I also think Bluebeam has potential to work as the collaboration ‘glue’ between the many design applications in the Nemetschek Group portfolio. The group has historically tended to let its acquired businesses continue to run relatively autonomously and I have written previously about some of its collaboration-oriented projects such as Nemetschek bim+ common data environment (November 2013) and, in February 2014, Graphisoft’s BIMx Docs app for iOS devices (in March 2014, Graphisoft also launched its BIMcloud platform).

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2017/06/collaborative-bim-developments/

Jun 30 2017

think project! raises French profile

think project! rebrands French subsidiary hoping to accelerate expansion in Europe.

Thinkproject-logoLascom AEC, the Paris, France-based provider of PLM (project and plant lifecycle management) acquired by the Munich, Germany-based construction collaboration Software-as-a-Service technology provider think project! Group in September 2015 is being rebranded to think project! France. The move will strengthen the think project! brand and, the business says, accelerate market expansion in Europe.

Lascom AEC has a strong customer base and growth position in France; customers include Vinci, Alstom, Eiffage, Technip, Setec and RATP. think project! CEO Thomas Bachmaier says:

“France as the second-largest economy in Europe with leading companies in construction and a significant number of private asset owners is an important market for our international expansion. With the renaming to think project! France, Lascom AEC becomes part of our international brand. Our focus is to ensure that our product portfolio covers all customer needs – not only for PLM but also for cross-enterprise collaboration.”

Sabine Noisette, managing director of Lascom AEC, says:

“With the renaming we will be more obvious part of a strong organisation with a large international presence and a clear focus on AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) businesses. We benefit from the experience and structures of the international project business of think project! as well as from synergies in technology especially in the SaaS business and with BIM. Our goal is to join forces to become a strong partner for digital transformation for our customers in France and internationally.”

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2017/06/think-project-raises-french-profile/

Jun 29 2017

A mobile Site Diary – at a price!

Script and Go’s Site Diary complements a mobile-first construction project management application but the suite is not competitively priced compared to others.

Since the 2007 advent of smartphones and the later launch of tablet products, the number of mobile applications designed for construction has grown and grown. I have seen numerous apps for snagging / punchlists / quality control – some stand-alone, others integrated with SaaS platforms – and talked to businesses about apps for health and safety, permits to work and other workflows (see previous post about construct.pm, for example).

Site diary applications have also occasionally featured in this blog (eg: Contract Communicator in 2009, and Note Vault in 2014), while a quick web-search for the term pointed me to, among others, Site Diary Plus and Tradies. A new addition to the market comes from Rennes, France-based software development company Script&Go.

Script&GoScript&Go already offers a mobile-first construction project management application BatiScript, which can be accessed by tablet, laptop or smartphone.

In September 2016, Script&Go acquired another application, Site Diary, from Appear Network (incidentally, a backer of an EU-funded project called MobiCloud which I have seen presented at COMIT events). In the last nine months this app has apparently been developed further and was launched on 21 June 2017, priced at €12 per month (c. £10.50 or US$13.70).

BatiScript pricing

(Updated – 17 August 2017) Strangely to me, the BatiScipt product appears to be licensed per device (see pricing) suggesting that if you want to access the BatiScript platform across all three platforms, you will pay €84 (Premium use on Tablet) plus €44 (back office on PC) plus €19 (on smartphone) – a total of €147 per month to rent the software (for a minimum of two years) or to purchase the software, a total of €2270 (€1290 + €690 + €290), plus 20% maintenance (€454).

However, the company’s Khaldon Evans (see comments) says:

“… We have to improve the pricing web page so it’s clear. Our highest price is €84 per month that’s it. With the €84 per month, the person doesn’t need to buy back office or smartphone. The smartphone version is if you have subcontractors and you want to have access to your site and collaborate with them about defects etc. You can negotiate with the subcontractors about who will pay the €19 per month.

The back office (PC version), is for people who work in the office and rarely to never go to the field. They will be able to manage the progress of their subcontractors, issues raised, create reports, assign task etc. A back office user doesn’t need to buy the premium €84 version for tablets.

Based on all the features that BatiScript offers, our price is less than the competitors.”

Reflecting on Khaldon Evans’s explanation, I would say that while the rental cost to individual users might be a maximum of €84 per month, the costs to a construction business may still aggregate to €147 per month if they have a smartphone user, a back-office user, and a subcontractor who quietly adds an allowance for €19/month to their invoices.

The rental approach (“… the ‘rental’ mode engages you in a 2-year commitment period”) certainly differs from the flexible, no minimum period, pay-as-you-go approaches of many other vendors of cloud-based construction software – which are often available at no extra cost on other devices (and would you commit to using this system if your construction project was, say, only 12 months long?).

Contrast this approach with, for example, Asite (one of the few UK-based vendors who don’t base their pricing on project-based licensing); the London-based construction SaaS vendor offers its basic product for just €19 per month, with the most expensive subscription still half that of Batiscript at €75 per month.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2017/06/a-mobile-site-diary-at-a-price/

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