A cloud-based project-management software company releases new apps and pulls back the veil on its app marketplace, boasting plug-in partnerships in construction-relevant fields from accounting to drone operations.
Users and inquirers packed the Doubletree Hotel in Santa Barbara on Feb. 16-17, 2016, for Procore Technologies’ user conference. With 500 attendees, sessions were standing room only, and the company turned people away because the venue was at capacity. In a keynote speech, Procore’s CEO and president took turns highlighting the company’s new capabilities and partnerships.
“We’ll have tight integration, with single sign-on for security, authorization and a host of different sources of info that can feed into Procore,” says Steve Zahm, president, Procore. He’s describing new capabilities stemming from the company’s partnership program, spurred by an open API released at last year’s conference. The program allows plugin access to Oracle, Box and Dexter + Chaney products, among others.
Botlink, Fargo, N.D, now joins the partnership ranks. Its software manages drone flight safety and automates flight paths for surveying. The Botlink app allows users to view a live feed of a drone flight and manage drone-collected data from within Procore.
“When you want instant data, you can grab it right now from the sky,” says Shawn Muehler, COO, Botlink. Every drone image collected is geo-tagged and geo-referenced and can be imported into Procore. It can be overlaid on geo-referenced CAD files to show contractors what to do on the job that day.
A user can draw a bounding box on a satellite map and input wind direction, altitude and speed; then, the Botlink app automatically computes the best flight parameter. “You then upload which drone you want to fly and push 'play,' and it takes off,” says Muehler. Theoretically, using the platform, an operator could fly as many drones as needed, but the company added a limit for safety purposes, he says.
By flying the same flight path at two different altitudes, the software also can create a 3D rendering from the photos. “It can get down to 1-centimeter resolution,” says Muehler.
In addition to adding partner-developed apps, Procore’s programmers created new tools.
“The Observations and Inspections tools are great,” says Moritz Schmid, superintendent at Consigli Construction Co. Inc., Milford, Mass., who beta-tested the app before its recent release. “The biggest thing is eliminating double entry.”
Schmid says superintendents at Consigli used to have to dig through a binder to find inspection notes. Observations made during a safety inspection, for example, were all handwritten. “If there was something good or innovative, there would be no way to make that observation aside from a note on the paper.”
Another of Procore’s new tools simplifies project specifications.
Pete Zafros, director of technology at EYA, Bethesda, Md., beta-tested Procore’s new specs tool for his townhouse development company. “Before, we were doing specs off memory because the documents were so dispersed, we wouldn’t go into the app and look them up. Now, we can get all that data through the specs tab,” says Zafros.
The tool’s ease of use encourages employees to use the accurate information, instead of relying on memory alone, Zafros adds.