By 2030, the world’s third-largest real estate and construction market will be India’s, to the tune of $1 trillion annually. Contributing over 15 percent of the country’s GDP, it will also be India’s largest employer by 2022, with over 75 million people working in the sector. So any conversation about the future of the built environment and innovation in construction generally that does not include India is missing out.
In this environment, one Indian startup to keep an eye on is FalconBrick Technologies. Launched in early 2016, the mobile-based, end-to-end product aims to help construction managers and developers wrap their arms around their projects by communicating what’s happening on the ground to everyone on the team, up through the C-suite, in real-time.
The product conceptualizes a construction project as a series of “handoffs” – from the designer, to the builder, to the inspector, the end-user, and the facility manager. It assembles all of these players on its platform in order to help them manage projects collaboratively and with visibility from the field up to the project executive.
Co-founder Sashi Kiran and the startup describe their product – called HandOff – as “automating your end-to-end project; project execution, handover to customer, post-possession, and facility management. Every team involved (site execution, quality, planning, CRM, and even contractors) can monitor and manage the project on a mobile phone, right from excavation until handover.” Importantly, HandOff promises users the ability to receive early warning signs and automatic notifications of possible delays on the critical path that could impact the schedule and increase costs.
Twenty-five builders and developers have already used the product across 100 projects; the company is aiming for 350 projects to use the product in 2018 and is already planning to expand into Southeast Asia and the Middle East. FalconBrick touts a 20 percent reduction in project schedules and 15 percent reduction in construction costs from projects that have already piloted the product.
FalconBrick is monetized as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) rather than a per-user licensing fee. Other products currently in the market in the same space include Leansite Apps, Renovate Simply, Construction Automation, Inc. and Joist.
One problem as I see it with the civil engineering and construction markets generally – and which technology is starting to help solve – is the lack of analytics. These markets are highly fragmented with relatively low barriers to entry for new players meaning there is a great deal of competition across geographies. This makes it extremely difficult to analyze historical data about financial performance, claims history, contract terms and conditions, insurance matters, and so forth, as well as making other critical decisions at the leadership level.
For this reason, among others, I believe that tech-based solutions like FalconBrick’s (and others that we have profiled here already at AEC Labs) offer a lot of potential for capturing more data about trends and problems in the construction industry. From there, they can help create a virtuous feedback loop (like Amazon’s flywheel, for example) that could help increase productivity across the industry generally, particularly if they can be married with an AI or deep learning solution. But more on that in a future article.