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On the road: From Silicon Valley to Manhattan. Up next: San Diego & Vegas!

I’ve been on the road a fair amount the last couple of months, attending events and visiting customers in the SF area, NYC and elsewhere. 

And the travel continues - we’ll be speaking at Bluebeam eXtreme in San Diego, followed by the Commercial UAV Expo  and Autodesk University, both in Las Vegas.  At each event, we’ll be jointly presenting with a customer on their use of our platform.  At Bluebeam eXtreme we’ll be on a panel discussing intelligent handover deliverables with Allen Angle (@allenangle) of BRG (JLL) and Nathan Wood (@nathancwoodof Spectrum AEC (formerly of DPR).  At the Commercial UAV Expo and Autodesk University, we’ll be co-presenting with Skanska’s (@SkanskaUSA) Oliver Smith on the subject of drone and field personnel-created content for milestone documentation.

Being in the field with customers and being able to see our product in action is one of the most important things I do. To be able to combine these learning visits and simultaneously support a customer's own event is a two for one value. This happened recently with customer BONE Structure, where they celebrated the completion of the structural phase for the Silicon Valley home of Stanford Professor Marc Jacobson, using our technology. Speaking of “the valley,” you know you’re there when a) you turn on the radio and it’s a simulcast of an entrepreneurship forum from Stanford, and b) you attend a customer event that also features the CTO of Tesla, the head of construction for NEST (Google), and others of that ilk.  

The BONE Structure home I mentioned is zero waste and zero-net energy, featuring four Tesla battery packs, regenerative cooling on the roof, and no use of natural gas (all electricity). We were thrilled to pen a joint case study on the project, which highlighted some interesting themes. First off, there are some basic similarities between commercial and residential construction. One being that photo documentation is key for oversight and communication. Secondly, both industries are seen as places where things have “always been done a certain way”, but now both are being disrupted by innovation. The BONE Structure design and fabrication system was built to change the structural phase of home building. By moving to a pre-fabricated steel assembly system, they enable zero-energy homes through tighter envelopes, new designs through use of steel, and, perhaps most importantly, reduce the time required for the structural phase from weeks to days!  

My next trip was to NYC. Unlike Silicon Valley, you know you’re in Manhattan not by fancy tech folks and countless Teslas on the road, but from the amazing views (see below).

Manhattan views

I connected  with the CIO of a large NYC-based contractor who was an inspiration for us when we started Newmetrix. His story is one that many firms could tell. The contractor was facing a $4M claim and had to dig up visual documentation of proper in-wall installation throughout the building. The good news was that they eventually found it. The bad news was that the only way they found that footage was by emailing everyone on the project. Luckily, one of their field superintendents remembered that he had taken video of in-wall and had it on his hard drive. So, I asked the CIO whether he’d be out of $4M if this person had left the company, his hard drive had fried, or he didn’t read that email asking for the footage. His answer? “We need a better way to manage our photo and video assets across our company. It should be a standard operating procedure for key milestone documentation and handover.”  It had been a while since he and I had spoken and I was happy to show him, how with our SmartTagging system, he would be able to mitigate that risk and easily search for key videos and images within our platform.

If you are using our system today, thanks for joining us for the journey.  I’d love to come visit you as well!  If you are considering trying out Newmetrix, check out our free trial here.  


Written by Josh Kanner

Josh Kanner has been involved in enterprise-focused software startups since 2000 with a focus in the AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) industry since 2005.

Most recently he was co-founder of Vela Systems, a pioneer in the use of web and tablet workflows for construction and capital projects. There he led the company’s product, marketing, and business development functions. Vela Systems grew from bootstrapped beginnings to include over 50% of the ENR Top Contractors as customers and deployments all over the globe. The company was successfully acquired by Autodesk in 2012 and has been rebranded as BIM 360 Field.

Prior to founding Vela Systems, Josh was responsible for product management and strategy at Emptoris (now part of IBM), a web-based strategic sourcing software company with customers including Motorola, GlaxoSmithKline, Bank of America, and American Express.

Kanner graduated from Brown University and earned an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He still gets excited to put on a hard hat and walk a job.

View more posts by Josh Kanner.

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