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Digitalisation isn’t just painting drones and building projects in virtual reality!

Digitalisation isn’t just painting drones and building projects in virtual reality!

This post is also available in Swedish: Digitalisering är inte bara självflygande färgsprutor och byggprojekt i virtual reality!

In the 80s the computer made a loud entry into the construction industry. Back then most often used for cost estimation, CAD and in the finance departments before eventually reaching out to the rest of the organisation. In the 90s we started using the internet and e-mail revolutionised our work life. If I’m being honest it feels like some parts of our work life hasn’t changed at all while others are taking leaps that sometimes baffle me. What use do we have for painting drones when parts of the industry still haven’t even started using the digital tools and aids that are available today?

If you’re reading this and recognising yourself when I tell you that the development of new technologies is starting to feel too far away for us “mere mortals”? If our idea of digitalisation only consists of robots putting up drywall, autonomous bulldozers and painting drones scaling ten story buildings easily while painting them at the same time I believe we’re way off! Digitalisation is so much more, right here and right now. My every day work, my tools and my information.

To make ourselves ready for the future to come we need to manage our own digitalisation journey. Are you ready to take on the digitalisation journey for your organisation, your department and yourself? What began so long ago has come full circle and it’s time to act again and start building anew. The construction industry is full of pioneers and it’s time to rise again.

Maybe not a digitalisation journey, but the first step is the most important one!

A digital journey for an organisation doesn’t have to be made in one giant leap. It’s all the small steps on the way that make up distance travelled. Facing this it’s no wonder people are dreading to embark on a digital journey with their organisation. But let us help you out, break digitalisation down into smaller steps and as with any journey, the first step is always the most important one.

Here at Geometra we’re passionate about being a bridge into a digital world for entrepreneurs in the construction industry. We strive to be the partner that helps our users take that first step. Once it’s been made, and for many it’s still a huge step, we’re right here along side you to help you develop your work processes and challenge you to think outside the box.

We’ve broken down digitalisation into 5 steps:

  1. Execution
  2. Data – Storage
  3. Data – Data processing
  4. Improva and extend
  5. Replace and streamline


Step 1: Execution

The first step is about moving from pen and paper to a digital tool. An easy example of this is moving the classic ruler, paper blueprint and calculator and start working with a digital tool to create your takeoffs and estimates.

In Geometra your work is very similar to that of the pen and paper model, making it an easy step to get started with, and it’s about four times as fast too!

Step 2: Data storage

Step two, often made in at same time as step one, is about how we store and manage our data that these digital tools generate.

If we keep using our estimate as an example; We’ve done our takeoffs, put in our cost parameters and we now have a sum for our project that we’re ready to send on to our client. Let’s say you bring home the deal. All your documentation is stored in binders in the office which is unfortunately going up in flames. What do you do? Or say you have a break-in and documentation goes missing! If you’re saving precious information in a laptop or a server at the office and they get stolen or crash? With a digital tool, built for cloud storage, you now have the possibility to effectively store all that data and make it available. If you keep storing your files locally or unstructured in files you’ve not gained as much as you could’ve. Data needs to be made available to make sure more people can access vital project documentation.

Sharing project information is key to streamlining the construction process. If we can succeed in bringing knowledge from the estimator out into the project leaders hands the amount of money and time won will be mind boggling. Making data like: square meters of drywall, lists of materials for procurement is an easy way to give insights into project economy and leads to a better cohesive vision of how to make this project a reality, within both cost and time budgets. Geometra, in it’s third generation, contributes greatly into making this a reality. Geometra is built from the ground up with an idea of organisation wide collaboration, even allowing for editing of project data in real time with your colleagues.

Step 3: Data – Data processing

Besides the security and collaboration aspects of the steps one and two it’s really in step three where we start seeing the real potential of our journey. This is also where we step up complexity a bit, so we hope you can keep up!

In the third step we start processing all the data we’ve generated much more extensively. Let’s say you’ve made it past steps one and two, if not feel free to make use of any web based digital tool for the construction industry with a green logo out there. By streamlining your work you’ve now made it possible to complete tasks quicker, spread accurate information to all parties and secured your data storage. Processing our data will allow us to make use of the same data to represent multiple things at the same time. As an example, our Area Annotations can be used to represent both floors, ceilings and walls without having to produce three separate Annotations to access this information.

Data processing also allows us to create analysis and reports detailing how many projects we’ve bid on, to which clients, how much material we think we need compared to the actual amount required once production is done etc. etc.

Step 4: Improve and extend & Step: 5 Replace and streamline

The two last steps of our journey are exponentially more complex than the previous three. In step four where we start talking about virtual reality and augmented reality. The technology exists today and is generally available for devices such as our smart phones. In step five we start exploring the possibilities of replacing manual labour with automated processes such as autonomous bulldozers, trucks etc.

I don’t want to dive too deep into steps four and five for a couple of reasons. First off, the technology is still quite young, and the development is still progressing in an extreme pace and changing rapidly. Two, if we haven’t made the first steps into digitalisation yet steps four and five might be too abstract and seem daunting.

Now remember; the first step is the hardest. (Anyone else getting a Cat Stevens vibe?) Once you’ve got the first step down you’re on your way. Why not set up a goal for your organisation’s digital journey? If you’re a decision-maker and you don’t do it there’s a risk that you’ll lose control over your organisation’s digitalisation resulting in things like people making use of their personal cloud storage account and tools in your business. Let 2018 be the year where you went digital! Secure your future, your organisation’s future and your projects. Create a S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Accepted, Realistic and Timebound) goal for your digital journey.

We offer you support in your digital journey by helping you structure and secure your estimation and bidding processes, improve your documentation and give you the possibility to collaborate in your projects, both internally and externally. All along the way we’re right here, ready to support and coach you as you go along.

The advantage of using Geometra as part of your digitalisation is our product itself. Geometra, being a SaaS (Software as Service) application, is in constant development and all updates are automatically applied and as we develop Geometra, so do we help you develop your digital organisation.

Last, but no least, I would like to make a case for an underrated feature in Geometra called Drive. Often overlooked, Drive offers you unlimited cloud storage for your projects and it’s built in right alongside our tools for collaboration and estimation. Most people simply upload a couple of files to Drive and then proceed onto the estimation view without even thinking about the potential that Drive offers. Our cloud storage is hosted at one of the world largest server providers. They’re running a very high security standard and follows applicable ISO-certs for cloud storage. The storage we’re offering with every Geometra license is unlimited, there is no data cap, and you’re able to upload any type of file. Storing all project documentation will allow everyone in your organisation access to their assigned projects and they’ll be able to access it from anywhere. Remove the risk of “bring your own cloud”, like private accounts (where company property doesn’t belong), make use of Geometra Drive right now! The solutions are already implemented, ready to be used.

I bet you’re thinking:
Now if only there was a way to place Geometra in the hands of every single person in my organisation…

I mean, who knows? Maybe there is? *hint hint*

//Christoffer Schmidt, christoffer.schmidt[at]geometrasoftware.com