News & Press

Bay Area Tech Forum Offers Insights to New Trends in Construction Technology

AGC of California hosted its inaugural Bay Area Construction Technology Forum on July 8 in Fremont, California. The event attracted over 60 local construction professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area and offered participants the opportunity to network with leading and emerging technology companies who offer innovative solutions from integrating mobile apps, labor productivity reporting, document management and storage, to automated safe site collaboration.

Sponsored by ARC Document Solutions, The Tech Forum was held at the ARC Document Solutions Technology Center, located 40 miles southeast of San Francisco in the core of the Silicon Valley. The fast-paced event began with rapid fire technology demonstrations from eight industry-leading solution providers that showcased their innovative apps and platforms on 84-inch PlanWell SmartScreen displays provided by ARC.

Mobile Timekeeping for Construction
Co-founded by U.S. Navy Veteran Zach Scheel, Rhumbix combines wearable sensors with big data analytics - the company’s solution to data and project management that lets you build smarter, build safer, and put workers first.

The Construction App that Works for You
As a leader in construction field enablement software, PlanGrid’s mobile platform is becoming the construction industry standard. PlanGrid’s David Barden, explained how its mobile platform is building the largest digital blueprint repository in the world and offers construction companies complete collaboration. 

Daily Reporting for Contractors
As the fastest daily reporting app, Raken was named the #1 Daily Reporting Software & Top 5 Mobile App for Construction by AGC National. Raken’s Brad Brennandemonstrated how the app allows you to detail job site activities for the day and distribute reports to your team in just minutes. After completing reports, these items can be converted to a PDF and emailed to the office. 

Environmental Compliance Made Easy
If you’re struggling with the costs and hassle of stormwater permit compliance, Mapistry is your solution. Founder Ryan Janoch showed us how their easy to use mapping tools can quickly produce site maps and SWPPPs, as well as conduct inspections. 

The Construction App for the Field
Fieldwire takes on task management with a mobile-first collaboration platform that enables project managers and foreman to create a list of tasks and rank them based on priority. Fieldwire co-founder and CEO Yves Frinault said the app was designed to make construction workers more efficient by making sure the foreman and workers in the field know exactly what they need to do next, eliminating back and forth information by phone or walkie-talkie.

Safety Management Simplified
Peter Grant, CEO and Founder of Safesite, found that the process for dealing with safety issues onsite required a lot of time-consuming paperwork and running between the construction site and office. His solution to this problem was Safesite, a mobile-based platform that allows construction sites and high-risk industries to record, communicate and resolve safety issues on the go using mobile devices. 

Building Enterprise Networks Top Down
With a vision for more effective and efficient ways for the construction industry to do business, BuildingConnected makes the pre-construction process more efficient by allowing professionals to communicate their specific needs and qualifications through free enterprise grade RFP hosting. CEO Dustin DeVan associates his solution as the “LinkedIn of Construction”.

File Sharing and Sync Designed for the Field
Skysite was designed from the ground up specifically for the construction industry. As a product of ARC Document Solutions, ARC Product Manager James Mercado explained how ARC developers created Skysite as a file-sharing collaboration platform with real-time document synchronization with all the security, scalability, and manageability needed to successfully complete a construction project.

The “Tech Talks” Session of the event featured three guest speakers who offered best practice methods for integrating apps for the jobsite, virtual design and construction technology, and managing big data securely in the cloud.

They don’t call him the Construction App Guru for nothing!
Also emcee of the event, Rob McKinney is a self taught Construction Technologist. As a former safety professional, Rob is a Construction Risk Engineer for XL Catlin and Chair of the AGC of Georgia Technology Committee. His highly successful blog, proclaimed as the “ConAppGuru” provides personal reviews for new apps and technology to improve the construction industry.

Rob provided the attendees with his take on the need for Apps & Mobile Devices, the differences between Point and Integrated Solutions, and scenarios to realize ROI. Mobile devices such as the iPad have allowed field staff to take their office workflows into the field for real-time completion and data entry. Examples of these workflows that construction teams can move from paper to digital include plans, photos, safety, daily reports, and time entry.

What’s the Big Data?

Bay Area Cloud Nerd, Matthew Trescot, is a Senior Solutions Architect with Amazon Web Services. Matt has worked with a number of startup and enterprise people to help them get the most out of their cloud experience.

Matt discussed the pros and cons of cloud computing for construction companies, and explained the Three V’s of Big Data: Volume, Velocity and Variability. Data that exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems requires that we look at alternative ways to process it. It is now possible to rent large amounts of space on cloud servers to run projects, export the data back to your company server, and move on to the next project. He explained how this is a cost effective option that does not require the upfront capital expense of buying a servers, paying an IT professional to install it, and/or worry about the ongoing daily maintenance.

Applying Virtual Design & Construction in Project Delivery
As the Director of Virtual Design and Construction Services for Hensel Phelps, Thai Nguyen provides corporate support and project BIM related needs throughout the company. This includes recruiting, training, technical assistance, hardware and software, as well as research and development.

Thai explained the VDC Planning process used by Hensel Phelps that involves six steps to develop a plan, implement people, and process technology. The VDC team at Hensel Phelps combines the benefits of 3D laser scanning and BIM during the construction phase to provide a non-intrusive way to collect data and get accurate measurements in minutes.

To close out the event, attendees enjoyed a networking mixer where they were able to meet with presenters and ask further questions about the applications they provide. And what’s a technology forum without a tech giveaway? ARC graciously sponsored the Apple Watch giveaway that was raffled and won by Tim Roche from Oracle. 

AGC of California looks forward to offering similar events to this one in the future and would like to thank the following sponsors: ARC Document Solutions, BuildingConnected, Fieldwire, Mapistry, PlanGrid, Procore, Raken, Rhumbix, Safesite and Skysite.

View the event photo gallery here.