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Part Shark Tank, part America’s Go Talent, and part Battle Bots, TAUC’s “Startup Battle’ is an annual event where technology startups in the construction innovation space “battle” it out for $20,000 and the title “IGI Startup Battle Champion”.
It is an exciting event, bringing small companies who have yet to receive Series A funding by January 1st of the year of the event. Participating in the startup battle ensures these innovators get to meet construction executives, venture capitalists, and potential customers giving them incredibly valuable visibility and feedback they need to make a splash with their industry changing ideas.
Eight technology startups entered the “arena” by creating short elevator pitch style videos to be posted on-line and voted on. Four moved on to the next round based on the online voting they received via social media. These lucky four then present live on-stage to make their pitch at IGI22 and be whittled down yet again. Then by majority vote of those IGI22 attendees based on the quality of the idea and presentation, two finalists stood before a panel of three venture capitalists in a final bout to answer a series of questions on their market viability.
This year’s finalists were Argyle, an augmented reality application that promises to solve many of the issues that have befell the attempts of previous AR ventures, and PLOT Jobsite Management, a communication and digital workspace focused on facilitating communication and coordination with those in the field.
Both innovations bring great ideas to the space. Argyle converts your BIM model into an AR ready format which aligns and connects “environment to environment” providing a complete real-world view of your jobsite both present and future. But in the end, it was Chris Callen and his company PLOT that took home the prize.
PLOT Jobsite Management brings a reimagination to a common problem of logistics in the construction space. The ever-moving target of where materials need to be, what routes to use, when something could and should be delivered, all on a communication platform that works better than emails, texts, and phone calls.
Mr. Callen said of his software, “Even though we have all the robotics and AI and all of that fun technology, we believe at a fundamental level, we need to work on communication.” And that is what PLOT does
“A lot of tools out there really focus on Office to field, we … focus on the participants that are on-site, around the table, on that jobsite coordination meeting, GCs and subs, and then subs communicating with their suppliers.
It all starts with “where.” PLOT replaced the common “logistics plan PDF” with a logistics map. All the markups and notes are now latitude and longitude-based geo locations. With this, a driver can arrive exactly to the right gate and precisely to the unloading area where the delivery is needed.
Then we have “when.” PLOT integrated a shared calendar where subs and the GC can book their deliveries, ensuring the availability and visibility for all GCs and sub-contractors on-site and ready to receive. With PLOT, any driver can navigate directly to the jobsite entrance and go directly to the unloading area without picking up the phone, sending an email or a text.
This transforms the logistics plan from a PDF updated and emailed numerous times into a living, auto-updating document, removing the friction of multiple stakeholders coordinating what should be one of the simpler parts of the job. The project team always has on hand up to the moment information of the what, where, and when.
As job sites inevitably change, access roads shift or gate access updates, PLOT makes these transitions seamlessly. The software even ensures the “who” by translating all text-based communication and updates automatically into 51 different languages, to accommodate for the workers where English might not be their most accessible language.