Founded in the 1961, RIB Software continues to be a stalwart in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. In an interview with CIO Applications, Mickey A. Carr, CTO of RIB Americas, discusses the journey of the company, driving strategy, and the value addition they bring to clients across the industry.
What are some of the pain-points in the construction technology space that trouble the industry personnel?
Traditionally, technology companies have not been able to provide solutions that cover the full construction lifecycle. Technology providers created niche solutions that do one part of it: estimation, project management, or controlling, for example. Organizations utilizing these niche solutions do not have the connectivity or ability to manage data between tools which creates inefficiencies and sacrifices the opportunity to visualize true, real-time information across their enterprise.
Talent and technology adoption are also a major pain point in the industry. We have a workforce that is suffering a bifurcation of learning styles and technology adoption across generations. The generation that is entering the workforce is accustomed to visualizing content and working in 3D with mobile devices as their primary tool. In contrast, the more experienced workforce generally lags in technology adoption, instead focusing on traditional 2D methods and project experience. We believe in a combined effort marrying the power of BIM while delivering a user-friendly solution that promotes industry-wide adoption.
What are the features and functionalities of your solution?
Our platform iTWO 4.0 is based on Industry 4.0. The name is derived from a small 'i' and a capital 'TWO', which is about integrating two processes—virtual and physical. The physical construction should follow the virtual; we need to virtualize our project before any execution begins and then use that virtual model to more aggresively manage the physical execution. iTWO consumes various design sources including 3D models, 2D plans, and algorithmic data for purpose of utilizing the information contained within them to develop and deliver a project. The intelligence from the various design sources becomes the basis for quantifying takeoff and estimation within the platform. In the same platform,we are scheduling directly against the model using that as the basis of simulations and variations, thus creating an integrated 5D master plan for the project. By utilizing the 5D method, we allow users to look at all the potential contingencies and risks in that virtual world, such as contract methodologies, market risk, resource availability, etc. prior to beginning project execution.
Technologies that fully adopt the tenents of Industry 4.0 provide us the opportunity to take our digitalized content and integrate them with industrialized processes to revolutionize the construction industry
In addition, RIB has teamed up with Silicon Valley based Flex through a joint venture called YTWO Formative. The YTWO platform enables demand-driven, build-to-order production for the building and housing industries. Virtual design, supply chain, manufacturing and logistics scheduling are perfectly aligned with project execution to reach the target of just-in-time production and delivery. YTWO allows stakeholders to optimize build and risk models making the process more efficient by having a single platform aggregate all sources of data. This allows for a more predictive vs reactive working method in the virtual or planning phase of a project.
Once in project execution (physical), iTWO 4.0 uses the master 5D plan as a baseline to actively manage the project displaying budget vs cost and schedule vs performance integrated with a maturing BIM. This allows us to control the project, forecast cost, and manage schedule to completion while visualizing the content within a 3D Model.
Give us a brief explanation of iTWOfm?
iTWOfm ‘Facilities Management’ gives the content that was developed as an as-built model and turns it over to the owner. The deliverable helps the owner manage the asset by providing a history of everything that was installed during construction. Since everything is in one place, an organization can perform better lifecycle cost analysis in real-time to know what is currently happening from an operation and maintenance standpoint.
Tell us about an instance where you helped a client with a significant problem.
Clients talk about disconnected data that they spend so much time on. We helped a general contractor client that builds hotels and offices consolidate data for better cost and time management. Traditionally, the contractor put together a biweekly progress report that showed status on cost, time, and installed quantities. Their process involved utilizing detailed 2D drawings to compare what had been installed and what was missing. This process was labor intensive and took two weeks to put together, by which time, the data was obsolete and spread across multiple systems. As a solution, we were able to assemble the report almost instantaneously within iTWO and compare it against the 3D BIM. The iTWO solution allowed for continuous real-time information which led to a significant increase in productivity.
How does the future look like for the company?
RIB Software is starting to offer solutions that integrate VR and AR functionalities within the platform to further enhance the usage of the model and visualization demands. We have continued to explore IoT uses by incorporating senor data into the iTWO database. Through use of IoT and iTWO, we are gathering more information in a structured manner and are able to take advantage of it with advanced business intelligence U.S version Modeling. Not only do we see ourselves as being able to develop on this platform, but we also see the opportunity to allow the marketplace to benefit from this very important data. Most recently, we signed an agreement with Microsoft on a strategic alliance to build the world's first vertical cloud platform "MTWO" for the construction industry. MTWO is a cloud-based BIM 5D engineering software platform based on RIB's iTWO 4.0 technology, complemented by Microsoft's next-generation Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and mixed reality applications using HoloLens glasses. MTWO will operate as an end-to-end enterprise solution on the Microsoft Cloud Platform Azure. We see the opportunity to offer a technology platform where we can build the future of construction, today.