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Inaugural FMI/ABC Houston | 2020 Construction Technology & Innovation Conference

February 6, 2020

“But... what are you doing with the data?”

This line is a familiar chorus when you gather construction managers and technologists in the same room. At this new conference it was no different. 

As the means to wirelessly collect data become more and more seamless like what we are seeing from Recon Dynamics, Hilti, and Milwaukee (to a certain extent United Rentals), the management and visualization of data is getting more and more attention.

Not surprisingly this message was clearly laid out by keynote speakers, master storyteller Vincent Vasquez of Precision Story and Navy Construction Veteran Zach Scheel of Rumbix.  Your data and how it’s delivered tells a story. 

It helps your own people and your clients to see connections and to make decisions at an unprecedented pace. The ‘amount of time to understanding changes’ is getting closer and closer to the way we process our everyday life decisions thanks to technology that lets us actually see the intended effect of a decision before we make it. These real-time hypotheticals, proposed updates, and visualizations depend on a very complex web of inputs and cloud-based systems that have finally caught up to the images in our dreams.  This conference was proof of that.

From the amazing immersive telepresence technology of Imeve’s Avatour that lets you invite clients and collaborators join you in a real place in real time, to the client-centered reality of United Rentals and their end-to-end rental solutions systems, each company at this show had the same goal, to move construction forward by being smarter about how we use technology. 

Togal.ai was there demonstrating its takeoff software to help with estimates by detecting objects and spaces that we used to spend hours measuring by hand.  Perituza Software Solutions was there to help build custom software for companies of all sizes. Even Ekso Bionics was there with demos of their EskoWorks product for overhead fatigue reduction.  

From VR to rentals, software and bionics this relatively small conference covered it all.

Companies like Manufacton are bringing the efficiency of manufacturing to construction with amazing results. By default they are calling our attention to data points that we may or may not have been capturing about traditional job site inefficiencies, like the unmentionable challenges of scope, scheduling and supply chain management. 

While modular construction works helps in many ways there are still efficiencies to be found in putting the parts together. For example, Qnect provides niche software that shaves huge amounts of time by allowing you to import Tekla steel building drawings and then export fully developed steel connection specs as fast as the auto connect function with all of the calcs to actually get it done. They take data and turn it into tangible results that you can use right away. This is an example of ‘action from data’ that we at Recon Dynamics can relate to. 

It seemed that nearly every vendor was another example of the industry recognizing an inefficiency and building a technology to measurably improve the situation. In every case the ROI was immediately apparent, and the mutual respect in the room was palpable.

Even more down to earth companies like EyeSite a Mobile Site Security company based in Arizona and Texas had an understandably large presence to remind us that the real world is not in the cloud and that job site theft and vandalism are still very real challenges. While they are keeping an eye on the physical site, the rest of us can focus on the screens and people that keep the project moving forward. For that we are grateful.


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