Disperse, a UK-based artificial intelligence tech company has raised $16 million in funding as its platform is applied at District-area projects.
TechCrunch reports the company, whose systems help project managers track work and capture building site data, is working with Gilbane on jobs in Washington DC, as well as in New York.
“Founded out of London in 2015, Disperse effectively creates a digital version of an entire construction site, including visual snapshots that track the progress of work to help all stakeholders — regardless of where they’re based — keep up with things,” the technology news site reported.
“For this, someone employed on the site (e.g. a project manager) walks around equipped with a standard 360° camera at regular intervals, and the resulting imagery is fed directly into the Disperse platform which processes the visuals and applies computer vision techniques to figure out what’s happening.”
With the platform, contractors and trades can solve disputes about scheduling, as well as catching potential bottlenecks or problems while they can still be resolved.
“More broadly, Disperse combines drawings, plans, construction schedules, and all the elements that go into a construction project to help those at the helm keep on top of everything digitally, reduce risk, and ensure everyone is on the same page,” the published report says.
Disperse founder and CEO Felix Neufeld said the construction industry is perceived to be lagging others in technological adaptation, but this is not due to attitudes, but rather it is a case of insufficient access to digital technology that can really shift the needle.
“I actually consider this perception or construction as ‘laggards’ to be a misconception,” Neufeld told toTechCrunch. “Having worked for years on projects and with companies in both Europe and the U.S., we can emphatically say that there is no attitude problem — but there is a severe technology problem. A lot of construction companies and teams are willing to give new solutions a shot despite false promises from technology companies, and have ended up with more of a burden from using technology than a value add.”
Indeed, Neufeld pointed to a swathe of technologies spanning workflow, robotics, and BIM (building information modelling) tools as examples where companies invest in the next hot thing, but which ultimately go nowhere.