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Roy Danon, CEO of Buildots – Interview Series

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Roy Danon is the CEO and Founder of Buildots, an AI that uses state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms to track all activities at construction sites, and provide companies with the information necessary to make the best decisions. He is a graduate of the most elite R&D unit in the Israeli army, Talpiot. He holds B.Sc in computer science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an M.SC in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from Tel Aviv University.

Could you discuss the genesis story behind Buildots?

In late 2017, 10 years after Aviv Leibovici (CPO), Yakir Sudry (CTO) and I first met in the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) elite unit Talpiot, we agreed it was time to join forces and found our own company.

Without any prior experience or link to the construction sector, we decided to spend the next few years of our lives helping close the technology gap in one of the world’s biggest and most traditional sectors.

It took us over 6 months to fully understand what today seems almost trivial to us, and that is a construction site is a manufacturing facility. It’s a one-off, temporary and extremely dynamic one, but at the end of the day, a building is a product, built according to highly detailed designs and timelines.

Buildots provides construction companies with a seamless way to turn construction sites into digitally managed environments. Tracking and logging any activity, from a single electrical outlet to the installation of windows. This data, together with actionable insights, reports and alerts, optimizes the way we construct buildings, keeping track of all processes.

What is Building Information Modeling (BIM)?

Until very recently highly complex projects were still being planned in 2D CAD, with elements such as walls represented with a plain line. In addition, each type of works had a separate set of plans, making it impossible to distinguish if objects were clashing, leading to a huge headache for teams to execute the plans.

BIM is a 3D database, which contains the visual representation of each object and additional layers of data. With BIM we are able to input anything from costs, to time, specific models or serial numbers, potentially making BIM models the central databases for the entire construction process.

How does Buildots enable construction workers to generate BIM?

Buildots adds another layer of data to BIM models, which is the actuals. Our solution utilizes wearable cameras and computer vision algorithms to automatically determine the status of each construction element that appears in the model.

Essentially, Buildots is transforming the model into what the industry calls a “digital twin”, a digital representation of what was planned originally together with what is being built in reality at any given point during the construction.

What type of data is collected from the computer vision system?

Buildots’ Computer Vision system transforms unstructured visual data, the output of wearable 360 cameras, into structured data. This data represents the status of each activity on the construction site. Buildots’ system analyzes the designs and schedule information to understand what is expected at each point in the 3D space, and automatically determines whether activities are on track, or not.

What are the different types of insights that can be gained from BIM?

By generating the digital twin with the Buildots system, we create what we call The Construction Mission Control Room. This control room is the equivalent of what exists on any other manufacturing plant, a place where controllers and managers visit to find answers to questions they have regarding the ongoing processes.

The type of insights ranges from a delayed activity, a misplaced electrical socket, or a specific subcontractor constantly delivering late. The insight we provide is all focused on tasks that can improve efficiency on the site, for example, responding early to situations with all the relevant information to take into account.

Can you discuss the online process management system?

In addition to the dashboards generated by the Mission Control Room (accessible through our secured web interface), we also provide project teams with a native tablet App, that can be used while walking through the construction site, providing specific insights and issues in each visited area. This drives more value from each “site walk”, and also helps reduce the response time for different issues on the job site.

How much of a difference in efficiency and quality does using BIM offer construction companies?

The whole planning process became much more collaborative once BIM was introduced, allowing many issues to be resolved during planning, these actions at the early stages of the project led to significant financial savings during construction.

But the benefits go way beyond more efficient planning. BIM is an enabler for many of the new construction technologies out there. Systems like Buildots rely on the existence of BIM to operate, unveiling tremendous value for the industry.

In their latest major industry research, McKinsey claimed that the sector’s productivity can be improved by 50% through the introduction of modern process control systems (such as Buildots), and that is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the technologies BIM enables.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about Buildots?

Buildots generates data that is critical to current projects, but it also enables the option to produce insights for future projects. For the first time, the process is continuously measured and analyzed in such depth and accuracy that it’s creating huge potential for rethinking how to design and plan our buildings more efficiently.

As in any other industry, once quality data exists and is structured in such a way to make it actionable, the possible ways to use and benefit from this data are endless.

Thank you for the great interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit Buildots.

Antoine Tardif is a Futurist who is passionate about the future of AI and robotics. He is the CEO of BlockVentures.com, and has invested in over 50 AI & blockchain projects. He is the Co-Founder of Securities.io a news website focusing on digital assets, digital securities and investing. He is a founding partner of unite.AI & a member of the Forbes Technology Council.