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Themes from Bluebeam eXtreme and ConTechTrio

Accessing your (photo/video) information where and when you need it

August was another busy month. I presented at Bluebeam eXtreme in San Diego and was interviewed by the excellent ConTechTrio for their podcast on new construction technologies- and that was just one of my weeks!

One theme that presented itself several times - from the CEO of Bluebeam, Richard Lee, as well as in the ConTechTrio podcast by the JB Knowledge team including “ConAppGuru” Rob McKinney - was the rise of construction technology and all the related “apps”. Professionals want to be able to access their information wherever they need it across platforms. That topic hits home for us since we’ve been hard at work on this.

Newmetrix has built in the ability to link to specific photos, videos and sections of videos. In September, we’ll be rolling out a new “live search” linking capability. This powerful feature enables you to create a single link from the results of a tag search in our product and then put it in another system like Bluebeam (or BIM 360 or Procore or Plangrid) where it can be automatically updated. For example, you can have a reference to all above-ceiling photos from the project, organized by room and floor. Any time new photos are added to Newmetrix and tagged (either manually or via our automatic “SmartTagging”) as “above-ceiling” they appear in your other system via this live search. Data needs to travel freely and we are building features to meet that need.

Our presentation at Bluebeam focused on this theme of data mobility. Bluebeam accepted Newmetrix as the first vendor to present on stage with a panel. With over 1,000 attendees, it was their largest conference to date. Chatting with eXtreme long time attendees, including Jason McFadden (@McFaddenJason), Ben Bringardner and Joe Williams (@vdcjoe), they commented on the first few Bluebeam conferences where there was no more than a hundred folks attending. Now they have 1,000 attendees and have 1 million users overall!

Bluebeam eXtreme Conference 2016 This year’s Bluebeam eXtreme conference was the largest yet at 1,000 participants

Our presentation was standing room only - roughly 350 attendees. I started with the story of Vela Systems becoming Autodesk BIM 360 Field. While about 30 people raised their hands having heard of Vela Systems before, pretty much everyone had heard of Autodesk BIM 360 Field! So, kudos to the Autodesk BIM 360 (@BIM360) marketing team on that! 

It was great to present with Allen Angle of BRG (JLL) and Nathan Wood of Spectrum AEC (formerly DPR). Key points from this presentation were:

  • There are lots of sources of data out there and lots of apps. What if we can enable ecosystems of applications through Trust? “Trust ‘Newmetrix’ to access your photos and videos?” (Nathan Wood)
  • Organizing photo and video data for handover is challenging and needs the right structure - which may come from Autodesk Revit. This data then needs to have content tied back to it. Alan Angle is uniquely positioned to understand the challenges having done hundreds of handover packages (or data exchange as he’d prefer it called). There can be faster, easier data handover through tags (or SmartTags) not folders. When you use a traditional folder mechanism you need to put the same file in multiple folders.

Smartvidio_Interface.png Allen Angle of JLL showed that the same video needs to be loaded multiple times if you use folders. With Newmetrix you simply load the video once and use tags and search links to create one place to access it. This reduces time required and allows you to more easily update content (only in 1 place) as it changes.

Last but not least, a quick shout out to the ConTechTrio! It was really great to work with James, Rob and Josh and awesome to be on the show. As construction tech pros who understand construction and the technology, they do a great job profiling the potential impact of innovations for the industry. Special credit to Rob who has come up with a name for our Machine Learning (Artificial intelligence) engine… Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, we have … Vinny (the superintendent). We’ve seen a couple of folks use a new hashtag #VinnyAI.

Our travels continue - look for us at the UAV Commercial Expo in October where I will present with Skanska Autodesk University in November. Wherever we go, I’m sure the theme will remain…data wants to be free to travel.  


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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