May 16, 2020

Are housing construction and building software opposites?

building software
housing construction
4 min
Are housing construction and building software opposites?
Five reasons housing construction and building software are not complete opposites

On paper, home construction and technology are complete opposites; b...

Five reasons housing construction and building software are not complete opposites

On paper, home construction and technology are complete opposites; both centre around different environments, industries and skills. But what about the values between the two? When you break down the principles behind construction and building business software, the two share more similarities than many realise.

Building things which mean something to people is what home construction is all about. Working closely with customers, making sure what is being built is the right thing, for the right reasons, the right way and not skimping on detail. It is all about building something customers want, and building it well. This concept is exactly the same with software.

With software now becoming integrated to businesses, schools, hospitals, research facilities and more, it is crucial for developers to take pride in the workmanship behind the software, just as the same with housing construction. From construction sites to cutting edge technology, quality craftsmanship is crucial for overall success in both fields.

The above point is the key link between construction and software development. Even though the product is different, the philosophy is the same. Both are building something important which will be used by people every day - and that’s what drives both fields to strive for excellence.

There are five key reasons why building construction and building software are similar in planning, execution and delivery.

1.Both need a solid foundation

No matter how large or extravagant the house, if it isn’t built on a solid foundation, it isn’t going to stand. The same holds true for software. Both construction and software need a lot of time spent on research, learning what the customer’s requirements are and working with engineers to make sure the solid foundation is created successfully.

2.  Building the customer’s vision—not yours

Customers interact with software all the time at FileMaker, and there are always pain points which need to be fixed and altered, especially in the development stages. This is the same with construction. What’s really important is not to get too attached to an idea. Providing consultancy is important, and it must be centred on what will make the product better, not on personal opinion and preferences.

3. Listen and communicate

When building a house you can’t work in a vacuum. Managing products which work for a lot of people in different ways can’t happen in isolation either. Collaborating with every stakeholder - including future customers - is the only way to be successful. As with software, being in constant communication with customers and engineers to find out what’s needed and what’s best, ensures the best decisions are made.

4. Don’t be afraid to make difficult decisions

In construction it’s better to fix something while it’s easy to fix rather than after everything has been completed and is inaccessible. There isn’t a better metaphor for software product management. Users don’t have time to deal with technical glitches and bugs - they just want the app to help jobs get done. For software, if someone working in frontline support questions what looks like an error in a new product, the company will potentially end up stopping production to fix it. It will be a difficult decision to make, but it will inevitably prevent company and customer headaches in the future.

5. Making quality the centre of all decisions

If businesses are creating something which is going to affect someone’s life, it has to be perfect; making sure attention is paid to the little things - even if nobody else sees them. It is crucial to take pride in knowing the product which has been created is going to positively benefit the target audience.

Ultimately, it is the skill and pride in workmanship which are the traits which cross over between construction and business software product management. When building houses, you imagine what memories the families who moved in would create. With building software, it’s important to think about the development process being just the beginning - what companies do with the software and how they utilise its benefits in every day practises, is only limited by their imaginations. 

Robert Holsey is Project Manager at FileMaker


Follow @ConstructionGL and @NellWalkerMG

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Jun 14, 2021

XYZ Reality receives £20m to develop Assisted Reality

Dominic Ellis
3 min
XYZ Reality to use funding led by Octopus Ventures to springboard into USA and automatically report issues through Assisted Reality

XYZ Reality has announced a £20m investment round led by Octopus Ventures.

Founded in 2017, XYZ Reality aims to "revolutionise" the construction sector with its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality (AR) solution, Holosite.

Designed to enable an on time and on budget delivery of construction projects, by eliminating building errors, HoloSite has been available to select customers through an early access programme and has already been used on projects totalling a value of over £1.5bn in the last year. 

With approximately 98% of construction megaprojects facing cost overruns or delays and 7-11% of project costs being spent on correcting errors, XYZ Reality’s purpose-built integrated AR solution directly addresses these issues.

With its safety certified AR hardhat, cloud platform and in-built proprietary software, Holosite accurately positions high fidelity 3D design models on construction sites, enabling teams to build it right, first time. The technology system has been used on complex construction projects including data centres, pharmaceutical facilities and airports.     

This funding will be used to accelerate the company’s ambition of transforming projects by preparing for HoloSite’s commercial launch in the USA and continuing investment in strengthening research and development. The company is also growing its London team to include key hires across technology, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

David Mitchell, Founder and CEO of XYZ Reality, said developing its engineering-Grade AR solution helping construction teams identify errors in real-time is just the start.

"The next phase is Assisted Reality, where our spatial computing technology will have the intelligence to automatically detect and report issues in the field. And ultimately, the goal is builders building from holograms. Our vision of developing world changing products aligns with Octopus Ventures’ mission of investing in companies that are powering the next industrial revolution. We look forward to building history.”

The latest round of funding is led by Octopus Ventures, one of the largest and most active venture investors in Europe, known for its commitment of investing in companies and founders that are changing the world. Octopus Ventures has a strong track record, spanning investment in health, fintech, consumer, B2B software, and deep tech. This includes WaveOptics, one of Octopus Ventures’ early investments in Augmented Reality, which was recently acquired by Snap Inc. 

Rebecca Hunt, early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures, said: "We’ve always invested in entrepreneurs leading industry change and XYZ is doing just that. It's solving a massive problem that costs the construction industry billions every year, using its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality solution to spearhead a shift in the sector’s approach. The founding team of David, Umar and Murray have deep domain and technical expertise, which we believe makes XYZ uniquely placed to drive this transformation.”

XYZ Reality also announces a new partnership with Mace, for the construction of a hyper-scale data centre in Europe. With speed to market being particularly essential for mission critical builds, HoloSite’s AR technology will have a significant role in supporting an accurate and time effective build for Mace, which last week appointed Jon McElroy its new Managing Director for International Technology.  

Mace Technical Director, Stephen Henley, said: “Mace has built a reputation of redefining the boundaries of ambition, always bringing efficiency, innovation and responsibility to our projects. With the implementation of XYZ’s groundbreaking AR system, we continue to be committed to delivering projects faster, safer and better than ever before.” 

Five years ago, Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs Research expected virtual and augmented reality to become an $80 billion market by 2025.

But according to new research by global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, nearly 28 million augmented and mixed reality smart glasses will ship in 2026, while the total global AR/MR market will surpass $175 billion in the same year.

"Major tech players across hardware, software, and services look familiar in the consumer space, contributing to strong and consistent overall growth," says Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director for ABI Research. "Those big tech names, with active investment and product ranging from already available, to announced, to all-but-announced, are creating a consumer AR market that will be dynamic and welcoming rather than struggling and immature."

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