Perspectives

Virtual blueprints change the Construction industry

Virtual blueprints grant designers, engineers, and clients an opportunity to explore new designs and hone-in on what the client wants to a degree previously unknown.  Using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Augmented Reality, developers, engineers, and clients can move through and interact with the space before it’s built.  The result is fewer mistakes and faster installations..

What is BIM:  An introduction (Video)

Experience when and where you need it

One area that BIM with Augmented Reality is making an impact is in remote support, which allows you to leverage your expertise anywhere around the world.  The video below demonstrates a use case where what is being seen in real life in real-time is layered with BIM and help from an overseas engineer.  What’s important is that the on-site engineer is hands-free, the remote engineer not only sees what he sees, but is able to markup the image to ensure both parties are on the same page.

Engineers solve a problem in real-time, combining what the on-site engineers sees, blueprints show, and interactive markups from the remote engineer

Flagging and tagging design elements

One of the more straightforward problems BIM solves is properly identifying objects and assets.  A simple picture on-site can be taken and then scanned against design elements to help the on-site builder ensure compliance, take an accurate inventory, or proceed with the next appropriate step.

augmented reality

Rendering of what to objects can be worked on (green) and which cannot (red).  Source: The Atlantic (link).

Creating 3D images from real equipment

One of the greatest challenges is working with or around existing equipment in an environment.  You’ve relied upon 3D imagery to aid in upgrades and retrofits for a long time, but now scanning the equipment or space while maintaining the appropriate scale has never been easier.  Once in the system, the image can be properly flagged and tagged.

Effortlessly 3D scan and import existing infrastructure

BIM and Augment Reality Challenges

Augmented Reality and BIM can improve almost all stages of a project: design, construction, inspections, operations and maintenance, and renovations.  The challenge many businesses and AEC professionals face is that they are not comfortable with the technology nor the shift in how work gets done.  Projects already have a lot of moving parts.  The introduction of new workflows and technologies can carries risk.  It’s lead a lot of businesses to ask themselves how and when they will acquire the skills to compete in this new market.  Who will they turn to for help when they have questions?

Making BIM and Augmented Reality your reality

The Construction industry is changing in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. AEC professionals around the world are successfully adopting BIM and Augmented Reality to reduce costs, deliver faster, and improve customer satisfaction.  They’re doing it with the guidance of strategic business technology firms like Sherwood Chamberlain.  Let us help you to take control of your future, selecting the right products, and deciding where and how to implement these new technologies to maximize profit.  Leave a message, contact us, or send us an email at sales@sherwoodchamberlain.com.

Your remote workers don’t interrupt you often enough.

You’re standing by the water cooler when a team member says, “Let me ask you a question.”  You measure the team member’s body language.  The team member’s rigid posture tells you this won’t be an easy question.  You reply, “Sure – would you prefer to have the conversation in a place a little more private?”

You’re familiar with what happens next:  the team members gets a resolution to their problem, receives advice on what to do next, or you find out something valuable you didn’t know before.  This is what collaboration looks like on a daily basis and its born of a combination of proximity, availability, and social cues.

It’s also the kind of scenario lacking in decentralized, work-from-home style businesses.  That’s a big deal, because study after study finds that people produce not only more ideas but better ideas when face-to-face interactions increase.  This becomes an even greater problem when coupled with the reality that people go out of their way to make their day fit social connections.  And we all know the strongest social connections are built on face-to-face interactions.

As Sherwood Chamberlain and our clients have grown, we’ve increasingly felt pressure to address this problem.  How can we maintain the flow of ideas, the intellectual capital, and the personal touch that we and our clients have built our brands on?

The need for increased face-to-face interactions while overcoming geographic obstacles lead us predictably to video conferencing.  We knew that video conferencing the past 10 years had been a joke, and we didn’t want to be the punchline.  What we needed, then, was video collaboration:  the simplicity of a phone call but with faces.  What we also needed was a service that wouldn’t misuse our company data and worked across all devices (Bye, FaceTime!).

Welcome Highfive.

Highfive is everything folks have dreamed video conferencing would be.  It’s truly video collaboration, delivered.  Highfive allows us to start a call in just a few button presses (just like a phone call).  It’s easy to have another person join a call or share their screen, whether from a phone, tablet, or in a conference room.  The quality is crisp and works in areas with less than stellar signal or internet speeds.  And, of course, it integrates with Slack.

We believe in Highfive so much that we’ve become a partner.  Our promise of transparency remains.  As a Highfive partner we receive certain perks.  These perks are openly discussed and passed along to our clients.

If your remote workers aren’t interrupting you to bounce ideas around or you’re unable to see their body language, then you aren’t creating the best ideas.  In this day and age, the success of your business is determined by the speed and frequency at which you collaborate.  If you’re a business struggling to maintain the personal touch with your geographically diverse teams and clients, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  We welcome a conversation about how we can help.

Best Practice is the practice that works best

Your industry’s best practice contains helpful and, possibly, necessary advice, but don’t let it dictate the whole of your business operations.  You must take what works best, use it, and disregard the rest.  Your business is not the same as others in your industry.  If it is, you aren’t doing anything new and you can’t have a unique value proposition.  Your profits are in a race to the bottom.

Yet, more often than not, this is what we find businesses first attempt when it comes to technology.  The business buys cookie-cutter Cloud services, VoIP systems, CRMs and ERPs because the product name contains their industry and touts, “Best Practice.”  The business tries to adapt their processes to fit the product.  And, worse, it is all done in an effort to reduce costs in order to keep up with the competition.

This is what the race to the bottom looks like and it’s easy to see how it came to be this way.

Technology is often misunderstood.  What is best equates to whatever is Best Practice.  But Best Practice isn’t about doing something new; it’s about reducing costs.  The industry leader of a technology demands a premium, but the potential return is limited.  The technology is already late and it’s greatest value lost to the competition years ago.  This creates an opportunity for the cheaper, cookie-cutter products.  The savings never materializes, because the implementations grow too costly as one process after another must be changed to fit the business.

Best practice is the practice that works best for your business.  Technology is no different.  But we are.  We help businesses in the construction, legal, and financial industries to adapt and adopt technologies to produce new results.  Our responsibility is to position your business as a leader and innovator.  Let others learn what is Best Practice from you.

Vendors and clients as a stock portfolio

Beyond the service rendered or the money paid, you want a vendor or client who creates opportunities. When you hire a vendor or take on a new client, you make an investment. Traditionally, you spend dollars or time in exchange for dollars and time. A good investment strategy involves diversification and selecting companies with multiple revenue streams. The same holds true of your vendors and clients.

A client or vendor who actively introduces you to opportunities or shares a connection offers more than one product and market. The chances of their long-term survival and a better return on investment is greater.  This helps you to see the value a small business may bring over a large corporation and facilitates the creation of lifetime clients, no matter to what company the person may relocate.

When you interview a new vendor or client, ask who they work with and if they’re willing to make an introduction.  This should not surprise nor offend them.  If you’re doing business with a small business that isn’t creating opportunities for you, then you’ve accepted additional risk without a return.  Get out.  Select a large corporation or, better yet, move on to a small business that performs.

Sherwood Chamberlain helps businesses in the construction, legal, and financial sectors. We’re more than happy to help our clients and vendors to become acquainted.