CM Labs Simulations, developer of Vortex training simulators, today announced an update to their Motor Grader Simulator Training Pack that includes a powerful operator scoring feature.
Efficiency on the jobsite through integrated software solutions
Viewpoint Software brings a blend of office and field products to help contractors with increased efficiency and lower costs
Forty years is a long time, and a lot can change over four decades when it comes to technology. Many construction software companies have come and gone during that time. One, though, has been operating for those full four decades and today continues to expand its offerings for contractors aiming to improve their efficiency and operations.
Viewpoint Software started in the mid-1970s and has been focused on construction software right from the start. "We are single-mindedly focused on the construction industry," said Matt Harris, Chief Products Officer for Viewpoint.
While many companies have a portfolio of software that stretches across a number of industry sectors, diluting their focus instead of being targeted on one area of expertise, Viewpoint has maintained their focus on the construction business.
Early on, Viewpoint targeted its products to enterprise resource planning (ERP). ERP software has taken the place of many management tools previously used in office environments, allowing businesses to integrate a variety of products for collection, storage, management and interpretation of data. Viewpoint offered support for companies that were starting to incorporate computers into their operational and financial management, Harris said. That focus hasn't changed, with ERP still a large part of the offerings that Viewpoint brings to the market. However, it's become only one part of a larger whole.
"We've developed ERP platforms and acquired and merged best-in-class ERP products with our own to create a formidable portfolio of ERP solutions," Harris said. "Recently, we've recognized that for contractors to realize true value in automation of their businesses, you can't stop with the processes that they're managing in the back office. You can't stop with managing and automating things like purchasing, payroll and contract management. You need to extend that automation, extend some of the value of the workflows to work in a project team, to work with subcontractors, architects, engineers and owners, and all the others who may be participating as part of a project on a broader scale."
Developing construction collaboration
Viewpoint's vision of truly collaborative software began with its Vista solution. This is a powerful, easily configurable and scalable platform used to build a system based on the customer's requirements That allows the customer to manage their entire system out of an office solution.
"When we attach a collaborative project management system to that, we immediately take all of the information you have in your system and pre-populate the project with that information," Harris explained. "All the contacts and people are set up, your equipment is ready, project phases are there, and your organizational structure and business units are set up."
Not only are the various applications ready to launch right off the bat, they also tie in to Vista and share information back and forth with ease, reducing the amount of reporting work that crew members are required to do on a daily basis.
"All that information is captured in our cloud-based application, then . . . written into logs kept within Vista so that you can report on them," Harris said. "If you want to capture information on the jobsite, we enable our mobile applications to capture information around crew time collection, equipment, material consumption - you name it. When you capture that information it writes that back into the office."
Staff on the jobsite are able to share details from the jobsite to the office, allowing executives to see how things are going and if there are issues to be dealt with. That can reduce the time frame for adjustments that might be needed, improving overall efficiency.
Building a suite of solutions
Viewpoint strengthened its ERP portfolio in 2017 when it acquired another major player in the construction software market, Dexter + Chaney. Harris noted that Dexter + Chaney's Spectrum ERP gives Viewpoint a well-rounded suite of solutions to meet the needs of all market segments.
Viewpoint's Vista solution appeals to larger contractors looking for configurability. The web-based Spectrum software is well-suited for mid-sized contractors and specialty subcontractors, while ProContractor is an ideal solution for smaller contractors moving off of home-grown systems or non-construction-specific software like Quickbooks.
Products like the browser-based collaborative project management solution, Viewpoint Team, aim to improve collaboration inside and outside of the construction organization by connecting teams in the office with subcontractors, suppliers, field operators and more to improve planning, coordination and project control, Harris said.
For users seeking productivity management, a product called Viewpoint Field Time that allows collection of time and productivity results from the jobsite can be added to the mix. The company's Viewpoint Field View helps resolve issues, reduce risk and improve the quality of products with accurate processes in the field.
Today's software users are looking for products that work both in the office and out in the field. Not everyone who needs access works in the field and can drop by the office to check a plan or work order.
"You need to give people on the jobsite the tools and mobility solutions they need to manage their projects, review and approve things, ask questions and get things done," Harris said.
More contractors in the construction industry are realizing the potential benefits of technology to their business and recognizing the vast number of applications available to them.
"Having good job cost forecasting tools, having tools that give them visibility into project management, material consumption, equipment utilization and similar data helps them manage their business much better," Harris said. "The category is becoming well established and people recognize they can use software to make a difference.
The proliferation of mobile technology has driven software development towards the Cloud, allowing users to take advantage of their devices in bringing data to the jobsite or wherever they may be located.
"Cloud-based platforms are great for two reasons: first, it's really easy to create a browser-based application that an entire project team can use - anyone can log into a browser and get access to a project management application . . . it also allows contractors to focus more on their business, which is building structures, bridges or highways, as opposed to managing IT," said Harris.
At the same time, those mobile applications can be a challenge to manage if the user is combining multiple platforms to achieve their goals. When users need to provide the same information repeatedly to operate several different apps, the time savings drops quickly. Integration with a core application is the best way to ensure that doesn't happen, Harris said.
"We ensure that mobile applications are highly and tightly integrated to the core application itself. If it's a mobile app for field productivity, then we make sure the time capture, the equipment management and material utilization is all tied into the job cost system you're using in the office," he said. "So, if you enter information around equipment utilization in the field, that's being tracked by the financial people in the office."
Viewpoint provides products that are integration-ready right out of the box, Harris noted. That cuts down on the time needed to get a system up and running.
"If the customer has Vista or Spectrum and they want to add on a field time collection application or collaborative project management tool, we can set that up within a day, and often within a few hours," Harris said. "There is some training on the applications, which are easy to use, and then the customer is off and running. Buying from disparate vendors, attaching various applications and getting set up can often take weeks or months if you're trying to stitch it all together yourself. That's a real benefit we can provide - we can integrate everything, and it gets up and running."
One of the measurements of success for software is the return on investment that the buyer experiences. Viewpoint's solutions improve efficiency quickly and easily, Harris said, and that translates into positive movement for the bottom line.
"Customers using our integrated solutions had 30 percent fewer project delays because they had more visibility on the overall project status. They had 30 percent fewer cost overruns, again because they had more visibility and they were managing costs and their projects more closely," Harris said. "Overall, they have had about three percent higher operating margins because they were more efficient. In a business where operating margins can be eight percent, a three percent improvement is really magnificent."
Financial and project predictability is the future
Beyond the cloud and mobile development of software solutions, the construction industry is starting to adopt emerging technologies like drones. Viewpoint has followed the industry into that area with a partnership recently announced with DroneDeploy to develop software that can integrate drone imagery into its products.
"With our cloud-based platforms, it's really easy to integrate information from various information sources like drones," Harris said. "About a year ago, we read some data that said construction was the second-fastest adopter of drone technologies of any industry. I've been in the construction software industry for about seven years now and I've never heard construction to be the fastest or second-fastest adopter of any technology."
Using drones for jobsite mapping and progress reporting and incorporating that information into the overall system is just the first step in sticking with new technology moving forward, Harris noted. He projected that predictive technology may be the next big move for Viewpoint and the construction software sector.
"What causes one job to be more profitable than another, from a job cost perspective? You can start looking at influencing factors, and when you do that you can become more predictive," he said. "You can then do that across the board - you can do it with financial predictability or project predictability. That, I think, is the future."
More from Construction Technologies
CM Labs Simulations, developer of Vortex training simulators, today announced an update to their Dozer Training Pack that includes all-new training exercises and teaching tools, as well as new high-precision earthmoving simulation technology.
Procore Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of construction management software, has announced Procore BIM, the newest product on its platform which unlocks the potential of Building Information Modeling (BIM) by providing field teams with performant access to 3D models on their iOS devices.
Komatsu's Proactive Dozing Control logic is integrated 100 percent of the time for boost in productivity
Komatsu America Corp. recently introduced its Proactive Dozing Control logic, a fully integrated dozing control system that allows operators to perform auto-stripping, auto-spreading and high-production dozing, as well as finish grading. Available on the Komatsu D51EXi-24, D51PXi-24, D61EXi-24 and D61PXi-24 dozers, Komatsu's Proactive Dozing Control logic is built on the company's existing intelligent machine control.
Automation is the word of the day for machine control systems, with more options for greater precision regularly becoming available. Automatic systems that take advantage of advancing technology are making life easier for operators while also improving the bottom line for owners.
B2W Software's recently launched mobile app for B2W Inform - which allows contractors to use the electronic forms and reporting solution in offline as well as online modes - is now available in both the Google and Apple app stores for both Android and Apple devices.
While other sectors boast of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), construction is now taking the lead, believes a panel of experts from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE).
Towering high above Toronto's tallest buildings at 306.3 metres, a new skyscraper will soon join the skyline. Located at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor Street, The One is set to be the tallest building in Canada. With a distinctive design featuring dramatic diagonal steel pieces framed by mega-columns on each side, the unique design is as visually stunning as it is complex. Both the developer and construction manager agreed they needed project management software that was comprehensive enough to manage one of the largest projects the city – and country – has ever seen.
Volvo CE makes big investment in R&D test track, 5G technology and sustainability at Eskilstuna facility
Volvo Construction Equipment has announced 16 MSEK ($2.23 million Canadian Dollars) of investments at its Eskilstuna site in Sweden, including an arena for customer demonstrations of electric and autonomous machines, a new R&D test track and an energy recovery system for the factory.
New robotics technology developed at University of Waterloo can make bridge inspections cheaper and more reliable
Powerful robotics technology developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo makes critical bridge inspections cheaper and more reliable by automating the process.
Technology is everywhere. It can be on any and every machine in your operation and it can improve accuracy, productivity and safety at just about any stage of the job. For many companies, the question isn't whether to adopt technology, it's about how, where and when to incorporate technology into the business for the best results.
Dodge Data & Analytics report in collaboration with Viewpoint shows new era of data use emerging in construction
A new report released today by Viewpoint, a Trimble company, reveals a sea change in the way project data is gathered and analyzed across the construction industry – change that is poised to improve key project outcomes according to construction managers, specialty trade contractors and design/build firms surveyed. Tied to increased technology use and advancements, 64 percent of those who participated in the report said that their ability to gather and analyze data has improved or improved significantly., in collaboration with construction management software provider
Construction industry software developer HCSS is launching its fifth-annual Construction Intern Awards scholarship program for college students in construction-related fields. The company will award $50,000 for 18 total scholarships, including a grand prize winner and three finalists, as well as 14 individual weekly online contest winners.
It's no secret that the construction industry can be a little behind other sectors in its adoption of technology. Many smaller companies – and some larger – have been slow to recognize the potential benefits of incorporating new developments in technology as part of their business, but as new, younger people come into the industry things are beginning to move in a new direction.
Hiab, part of Cargotec, will connect the majority of its equipment* as a standard feature from factory, starting in the second half of 2019. Customers will get equipment prepared for the future and enabled for our Connected Services, such as HiConnect.
Procore Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of construction management software, announced that Pomerleau, one of Canada's leading construction companies and a pioneer in sustainable buildings, has selected Procore as one of its valued partners to help future-proof its business.
Nureva Inc., an award-winning collaboration-solutions company, has announced that Refine Projects, a lean construction consulting firm in Europe, is using Nureva products to help effectively collaborate with clients worldwide. The mission at Refine Projects, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, is to transform the construction industry with new and radical lean consulting approaches, and Nureva products were chosen to enable this. A dual Nureva Wall system, Span Workspace and the HDL300 audio conferencing system are being used in a new Refine Future Lab, also known as the Digital Obeya Room, where daily scrums, client kick-off meetings, strategic planning sessions and lean construction workshops take place.
Power and precision converge with the new grade-guidance-technology equipped John Deere 470G LC excavators. First introduced for the 210G LC and 350G LC excavators, John Deere developed this solution in cooperation with Topcon Positioning Group. The integrated grade guidance system provides the operator with the bucket's location in relation to a 2D reference or 3D design surface. This information arms operators with the detail they need for precision excavation projects, such as digging trenches for pipes, shaping ditches or slopes or digging structure foundations.
Volvo Construction Equipment continues to unlock the full productivity potential of its excavator and wheel loader lineup with its basic package of Dig Assist – Dig Assist Start – now standard on new EC220E to EC480E excavator models, and its Load Assist system now standard on new L150H to L260H wheel loader models.
On today's construction jobsites, the way in which contractors and their employees approach safety has changed dramatically. Where safety was often an afterthought in the past, today there is a strong focus on making it a part of workplace culture – an overlying piece of every day's work that ensures everyone goes home safely at the end of every shift.
When Volvo first started to explore electromobility back in 2005, the main driver was the need to reduce exhaust emissions and fuel consumption in our cities. But it is really over the last two years that we have seen this huge shift from local to global – with electromobility being recognized as a key tool in tackling climate change on a much wider scale. The company says that electric trucks are vital for meeting EU legislation calling for a 15 percent reduction in CO2 emissions for heavy-duty trucks by 2025. And that begins in cities with buses, refuse trucks, city distribution and urban construction – all powered by electric technology.
Topcon Positioning Group announces new cloud-based photogrammetry processing powered by Bentley ContextCapture to its MAGNET Collage Web web-based service for publication, sharing, and analysis of reality capture data. The integration allows MAGNET Collage Web users who share and collaborate with scanning and mesh datasets to now process and add UAV photos directly to the MAGNET Collage 3D environment.
Trimble PULSE Remote Expert is an augmented reality (AR) tool that improves the productivity of field service technicians by connecting them with support experts via video, audio and spatial annotations in real-time.
Trimble has introduced Trimble Siteworks Software version 1.1, featuring full GNSS tilt compensation functionality in standing, walking and vehicle modes, and support for the Android operating system. Construction surveyors can now capture accurate points without levelling the pole, making surveying in areas such as building corners accurate, fast and easy. In addition, Siteworks version 1.1 now supports the Android operating system, giving contractors the flexibility to choose the field device that best fits their needs and budget.
Hatz is integrating light equipment as well as compact machines into the digital world of Industry 4.0 with its Connected Services. This advance means that the engine specialist is closing the gap between industrial digitalization and machines that were previously manually controlled and operated.
B2W Software named two Canadian contractors among the three winners of its 2019 Client Innovation Awards during the company's annual User Conference in March.
In a global first, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is among a small number of pioneering companies trialling 5G mobile connectivity. With the program set to make a big impact on construction innovation, we find out more from 5G expert Calle Skillsäter, Volvo CE's Technical Specialist for Connected Machines.
Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform version 1.9 comes with support for fully automatic guidance for excavator tiltrotator attachments and Trimble Universal Total Stations for motor graders. Full automatic support for tiltrotators makes the attachment easy to use and learn, even for operators who have never used a tiltrotator. Universal Total Station support allows contractors to achieve millimeter-accurate fine grading with a motor grader.
Trimble and Liebherr have introduced a Trimble Ready factory option for new Liebherr PR736 Generation 8 bulldozers. PR736 Generation 8 bulldozers that ship direct from the Liebherr factory are now ready for the installation of the Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform, which can significantly reduce the cost and complexity of the installation for the contractor. The announcement was made at bauma 2019.
Topcon Positioning Group introduces a new LN-100 hands free, voice activated heads-up display (HUD) solution. This wearable assistant provides visual layout directions via HUD glasses that guide the operator using an LN-100 to efficiently perform layout work at a construction site. The wearable assistant enables customers to use both hands to accurately mark layout points.
Topcon Positioning Group has announced a new automated edition of its 3D modular aftermarket solution for excavation — the X-53x automatic. The system uses the same components of the original system and adds hydraulic, automated control.
Topcon Positioning Group announces the introduction of Pavelink, a cloud-based logistics application designed to connect every stakeholder in real-time throughout the paving process. The mobile application is designed to complete a connected ecosystem workflow between the asphalt plants, delivery trucks, company office, and paving site.
Topcon Positioning Group has launched a new edition of its real-time 3D job site monitoring and management system — Sitelink 2.0. The update includes a new pay-as-you-go point-based service model, new features to Sitelink Support Desk, as well as a new Haul Truck application.
Topcon Positioning Group announces the release of major updates to its flagship 3D dozer machine control system — 3D-MCMAX. The innovative inertial measurement unit- (IMU) based system, without a mast needed for the blade, is now available for more configurations and diverse applications.
Moving dirt is the foundation of just about every project. This is where the job starts off fast or slow, exact or "close enough," on-time or late. Even the smallest variance in one direction or another can have a huge impact on timing, accuracy and profitability.
Precision is everything when constructing road surfaces. Tolerances are very tight, ensuring that the surface is smooth for vehicles travelling on it while also providing a long service life.
At bauma 2019, Liebherr will unveil INTUSI, its INTeractive USer Interface, to the public for the first time. Liebherr says that this innovative, adaptive and intuitive operating concept will revolutionize the communication between and with construction machines. INTUSI connects Liebherr construction machinery and material handlers to the Internet of things (IoT) and is combining an intelligent operating logic with clever machine intelligence. With INTUSI, Liebherr has created a completely new, modern control environment.
B2W Software unveiled key product developments to extend the advantages of its unified ONE Platform during the company's annual User Conference in San Antonio, Texas, March 3-5.
CM Labs Simulations, developer of Vortex training simulators, is releasing the Instructor Operating Station (IOS), CM Labs' dedicated solution for directing, monitoring and assessing trainees. Designed to complement CM Labs' Vortex simulators for operator training, the IOS provides rich functionality for engaging training sessions, while its smart monitoring tools enable a 360-degree perspective on trainee progress.