The beta Broadcast: An Interview with Sitedesk
Sitedesk is a browser-based, zero installation software solution that allows users to easily interact with their digital world. Utilising a range of innovative technologies including 360 degree imagery and LiDar, Sitedesk creates easy-to-use, virtual data replicas that help estate owners to digitally manage projects easier, faster, cheaper and more efficiently. Sitedesk is already integrated with systems such as IBM’s Maximo, and the company has ambitious plans to continue the expansion of its integration features. We sat down with Matthew Cunliffe, Director of Sitedesk, to explore digital adoption in the construction industry, and the company’s exciting plans for the future…
What is the biggest challenge facing the construction sector right now?
A lot of issues are rooted in a lack of digital adoption across the industry, mainly caused by how complex tech systems can be. For a lot of building owners, these systems are new and potentially daunting, going against the way people have always worked, so we have a real challenge on our hands to help drive a cultural shift towards tech solutions. Technology companies have a role to play in not only providing modern solutions, but in helping people to understand how to get the most out of them. These systems need to be designed so they’re simple to understand and easy to use, or we’ll never see full industry adoption.
What role does Sitedesk play in addressing this issue?
From our side, ensuring we offer simple, easy-to-navigate solutions is key. We’ve been around for 11-12 years and have a strong understanding of market needs and how industry employees work. Time is precious in this industry and simple, no-fuss solutions are vital. It’s why we’ve built a data-rich platform that is completely browser based, so there’s no need for additional apps or downloads to slow down the process. We’ve also designed our platform to easily integrate with other services and solutions that our clients might be utilising. Systems such as Matterport for 3D space capture, and Revit for digital modelling. This can all be carried over into the Sitedesk platform and help our clients understand and interact with their digital world. I think it’s this user-friendly approach that will really help to address those barriers to digital adoption. Data is key for these things to work, but people wont put in good data if the system is too hard to use.
How can traditional construction firms play their part in addressing those barriers to digital adoption?
Real change has to come from the top, with senior decision makers playing an active role in driving tech adoption. A big cultural shift is needed to encourage digitalisation across the sector, which is no easy task. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has definitely highlighted the potential of digitalisation, remote working, and flexibility. People have started to realise there are alternative approaches to how we live, work, design, and build and I believe this is only going to benefit the sector moving forward.
What do the next 3-5 years look like for Sitedesk?
Our service is broken down into two offerings: a ‘pay as you go’ model for smaller-scale projects, and an ‘enterprise’ model designed for larger-scale estate management usage. We’ve seen some great traction and momentum in the ‘pay as you go’ space, with a real interest in this service offering. We’re excited to watch that continue to grow, whilst we further develop the ‘enterprise’ model and help larger-scale clients with more bespoke project demands.
Another key focus for us will be continued integration and collaboration with partners. We’re already integrated with the likes of IBM’s Maximo system, Industry Foundation Classes, and MQTT but we’ll keep exploring opportunities for continued growth and collaboration.
Any advice for people looking to break into the construction technology space?
Collaboration is key and data is the new oil. Across all industries, we need to move towards more collaborative working methods where information sharing is at the core. With constant technological advancements, we need to build systems that allow for integration and a collective commitment towards societal advancements. More ‘plug & play’ solutions that are easy to use and easy to understand. Systems need to be designed like this, to allow for continuous development and progress that benefits all.
For anyone looking to break into the space, I’d say: put collaboration at the heart of your business.