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  • Aidan Lewis

The Beta Broadcast: An Interview with Digital Cognate

As you may have already seen, BETA and Digital Cognate are teaming up to help kick start the debate on how best to meet the new Golden Thread compliance requirements for the construction industry. For full details, check out the announcement here.

So, who are Digital Cognate and how can they help in finding a solution for the Golden Thread? We spoke with Steve O’Donnell CTO at Digital Cognate to explain their role and value they hope to bring to the party.

Hi Steve! Can you start off by telling us a little more about Digital Cognate?

Digital Cognate is an innovative Regulatory Technology (REGTECH) software provider, with a focus on securing data integrity and digital trust within a low trust environment. Our solutions address digital certification, ESG, governance and regulatory compliance. We deliver the absolute trust that is necessary in the critical business data that sits at the heart of complex multi-party processes, transactions, and agreements. What’s important to understand is that all these challenges are in fact opportunities.

What separates Digital Cognate from other competitors in the industry?

We combine multiple capabilities to provide an overarching solution designed to assure and secure complex multi-party transactions. A prime example of this would be Golden Thread compliance in the construction industry. A highly scalable solution, Digital Cognate enables fast, unique, secure, transparent and immutable transmissions between multiple participants, with data originating from different platforms to ensure maximum trust for all parties within a complex ecosystem. Digital Cognate can secure both digital and physical records, including photographs, paper documents, and drawings to construct and maintain a single golden thread across the construction process.

Due to its unique digital construct, a Digital Cognate is legally binding and verifiable. Digital Cognates enable previously unknown, separate and multiple parties within an ecosystem to securely connect and transact with each other in complete trust and transparency.

The Digital Cognate platform incorporates workflow, event triggers, smart contracts and dashboards to simplify integration and create value.

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry right now and how will Digital Cognate tackle them in the coming months/years?

Driven by the new UK Building Safety Act, the construction industry is facing a number of stringent new building and fire safety regulations. This includes the much talked about Golden Thread compliance. Fully digitising this process is a transformative and exciting step forward for the industry. But, ensuring the safety of a building requires multiple parties, multiple systems and multiple document types to be involved – and how this should best be done, is not yet eminently clear.

We see these challenges to include:

  • Complex ecosystems made up of multiple and unconnected parties.

  • Potentially massive amounts of data across many different systems and platforms.

  • The need to reference a mix of physical and digital assets in numerous file formats.

  • The ability to track, monitor and manage all of this data with real-time access to dashboards, reports and search functionality.

  • Consolidating all this data, for to be easy to access, transferable and secure throughout its lifecycle.

How is Digital Cognate providing new solutions that respond to the UK Building Safety Act?

At Digital Cognate, we have been developing and tailoring our solution so that it underpins BSA Golden Thread compliance, providing immutable digital records that remain available and unchanged for the life of the building. Data can be entered and accessed easily by all contributors and stakeholders in a building construction project. These records are immutable and legally admissible.

Digital Cognate easily integrates with existing Document Management and BIM systems, for both physical and digital assets, providing both a real time control layer for BSA/GT compliance and all necessary longer term auditable records and data. Benefits of our solution include Regulatory Compliance; Scalability of solution; Ease of access; Transferability; Data tracking, reporting and storage; Seamless integration of digital and physical evidence; Clear audit-trail, ownership, accountability, and provenance and Delivery of a solution that is easy to update and add to throughout lifecycle

What do the next 1-3 years look like for the company?

We see an exciting time ahead, with things going from strength to strength for Digital Cognate as we roll out our solution to the many adjacent industries to construction.

We anticipate significant development in system functionality, including, multi-lingual support, the ability to read and understand the content of documents, and taking actions based on that content.

Sustainability will continue to be a high priority agenda item. Digital Cognate is a responsible business and we are committed to playing our part for a better future. Ensuring that the highest of Environmental, Social and Governance standards are continually met, sits firmly at the heart of our innovation and sustainability aspirations. In short, we believe Digital Cognate will become the trust technology of the future!

What made you choose BETA as a partner for this industry project?

It’s been great joining forces with BETA - We’ve found them to be very easy to collaborate with. They have broad connections across the construction industry and host well-attended networking events, speed networking sessions, and other initiatives to connect businesses with technology innovation. The feedback received from the various built-environment companies at these events has massively reinforced our understanding of how our technology can play a pivotal role in the industry, delivering against both the Golden Thread regulatory requirements and the widespread drive to digitise.

It’s one of the main reasons we have partnered with BETA in regard to Golden Thread transformation – to collaboratively engage with them on such an important issue; bringing together industry experts, for networking, conversation, discussion and debate in the hope that collectively together, we can build the best and most appropriate solution for all!

So what's next?

BETA will be partnering with Digital Cognate to deliver a series of panel discussions and information sharing sessions over the coming months. These sessions will aim to bring together collective industry knowledge and produce several key recommendations for the built environment sector. Keep an eye out for more information in the coming weeks...


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