IBM: Digital Transformation in the Construction Industry

Construction Global breaks down all you need to know about IBM, Red Hat and Cobuilder Spearhead’s OpenBuilt platform to accelerate digital transformation

Challenges in construction 

Long challenged with project delays, cost overages, waste materials, and poorly coordinated activities and resources. IBM explains that those in the construction industry have been searching for ways to innovate and increase the speed of their digital strategies, and move away from largely manual processes to explore more effective ways to work.

"In pursuing the broad goal of construction industry transformation, there is a critical need to break down the deep silos and fragmentation that exists in how we organise and operate design, manufacture, construction and operation processes. This is equally true in the emerging digitalisation challenge. To create more strategic and scalable intelligent workflows we need data and software to be part of a fully connected ecosystem,” said Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Consultancy and Independent Champion for Modern Methods of Construction in Homebuilding for UK the Government. 

What is OpenBuilt? 

Built on Red Hat OpenShift and running on IBM Cloud, OpenBuilt is a co-developed platform between Red Hat, IBM and Cobuilder Spearhead to help innovate and drive more efficient, sustainable and safer construction projects.

The platform has been designed to allow “the global built environment and construction industry to securely connect their current technology platforms and digital solutions to partners, suppliers or subcontractors in their supply chain via a single integration hub.” Its aim is to improve communication and secure exchange of data across the supply chain. 

"The global construction landscape is evolving and requires a new approach towards industry-wide technology platforms with new levels of openness, innovation and collaboration. Together with our partners we are creating OpenBuilt to empower the construction industry to break down its silos with intelligent workflows and play an active role in designing and driving its own transformation. Successful companies across the construction supply chain are coming together to embrace a digital future, harnessing the power of an open hybrid cloud approach and adopting new technologies to gain a real competitive advantage. We want to inspire other companies to join us and accelerate the march towards a truly digital construction industry," said Jon O'Donnell, Managing Partner, IBM Global Business Services EMEA.

Three core focuses for the platform 

  1. Establish OpenBuilt to enable construction companies to adopt a hybrid cloud approach and connect their supply chain, and gain access to a wide range of pre-integrated applications from trusted companies/solution providers. “This foundation of open-source software, security leadership, and enterprise grade infrastructure is designed to support companies hosting mission-critical workloads such as ERP systems - on the platform,” said IBM.
  2. Integrate independent software vendors making a wide range of software and services accessible. “Industry integrations can be developed ranging from Building Information Modeling and Digital Twins solutions with 3D Repo, digital project management solutions with Asite, data-driven building operations and maintenance services with Facilio and finding and researching building products for specification with SpecifiedBy,” said IBM
  3. Develop new flagship applications including the ability to search, filter and sort building product technical data, to quickly find materials with the right specification. “Cobuilder's data dictionary solution Define will be among the fundamental technologies enabling the use of a common language within the initial OpenBuilt flagship applications,” said IBM.

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