This post is part of our new Future of Construction series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Dale Beard, president and co-founder of Intelliwave Technologies.
1. What’s the history of Intelliwave? Where and how did you begin?
DB: The Intelliwave founders created a commercial partnership in 2007, also around the same time when the company first formed, with a leading contractor in western Canada, to help provide feedback on SiteSense by working directly with field users on active construction projects. This allowed the development team to iterate faster on a mobile and web-based software product, as well as understand the best solutions for the harsh conditions in northern Canada. If the product was suitable for the brutal winters in Canada, it should be able to work pretty much anywhere in the world. Having a close-knit partner in construction helped Intelliwave cross the gap faster from early adopters into the mainstream markets. Today Intelliwave products are being used all around the world.
2. What specific problem are you solving? How do you solve it?
DB: Management and control of construction materials have always plagued the construction industry. If work crews don’t know where the materials are for installation (or even if they have been ordered, shipped or arrived at the project site), then this is where construction delays can set in, and out-of-sequence construction can start to occur. When that happens, project and construction managers are typically in fire-fighting mode, creating chaos and decreasing productivity of their work crews.
SiteSense Site Materials Management gives workers the visibility into their materials (including item details, status, locations, last seen dates and more) right in the field from mobile devices or tablets. This saves workers magnitudes of time by not having to walk around looking or asking others, they just get informed right on the spot. In essence, we are improving productivity in construction with real-time information on critical building resources, creating more of a closed loop environment like one would find in highly productive manufacturing applications.
3. What’s the future of construction?
Prediction #1: Fully integrated supply chain with site materials management, from engineering right through operations of the asset.
Prediction #2: Automated or partially automated construction progress reporting with IoT, mobile, and drones (to name a few integrated technologies required for that to happen).
Prediction #3: Less site installation from workers by use of pre-fabrication and site-fabrication techniques (think large scale printers).
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in construction?
Trend #1: Mobile devices being more widely accepted and used on job sites.
Trend #2: Software as a Service applications that are improving access to data while also reducing the IT overheads of setting up project environments, thus drastically improving time to getting a project setup for field data collection.
Trend #3: IoT devices are becoming more popular for monitoring critical construction materials, equipment, tools and even in some cases workers themselves.
5. Why is the construction ripe for disruption?
DB: The enabler that is helping disrupt construction is the use and acceptance of Apple, Android and Microsoft mobile products, which today have enough performance to be very useful in the field. The next phase is having the killer construction apps that workers want to use and once using them would be extremely difficult to go back to older paper based processes.
About Dale Beard
At Intelliwave Technologies Dale Beard is the CEO and co-founder. Prior to co-founding Intelliwave in 2007, Dale was a Product Manager for HP in the San Francisco Bay area, and for Fluke in the Seattle area. Dale received a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering with Honors in 2000 from the University of British Columbia and an M.B.A from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington in 2007. Dale is currently registered as an active member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA).