The summer is slowly but surely coming to an end. Of course, we always stayed in our cool office so that our iguana does not get red scales. Meanwhile, we made a few improvements and additions to SCALES – but let’s start at the beginning.
An entire construction site at a glance with one click – without bragging, that’s something only we can do. Alright, our chest swells a little bit with pride when we think of SCALES, but which parent would not feel the same about its kid? Because that’s exactly what SCALES is to us: our child. And of course, sometimes we could ground our offspring and tear our hair out of frustration, but overall the development of our digital prodigy is impressive.
In the beginning there was an idea
In the beginning there was chaos
Well, chaos is perhaps a bit harsh – but the start of eguana was the thought “That’s got to be easier!”
Construction managers who struggle with Excel sheets and manually process and evaluate the data of individual and separate systems? Folders filled with prints of y-t-diagrams which provide for hours of meetings? From the viewpoint of our eguana-founders, this seems neither satisfying nor contemporary.
They simply could not let this continue – “We figured that BIM created a push to use digital tools in the construction industry. But on the other side, many construction managers suffer high distress by the unpractical and error-prone use of Excel sheets.”, to cite founder father Florian Rathenböck.
So what to do?
Keep it simple! According to our motto, in the beginning it was all about developing a tool that simplifies the everyday work for our customers.
That’s why we created the unique platform eguana SCALES, which can process data of any kind and present it graphically to the user. ALL data, regardless of machine type and manufacturer.
“We were lucky that we could win the construction site Feuerbach and the sanitation of the Alzkanal as our first customers in early 2016 – Marti Geotechnik and Züblin Spezialtiefbau who recognised the potential and moved forward with us”, Florian remembers the development history.
Hooray, it´s a – data management-system!
Meanwhile, SCALES has accomplished its birth and lets construction site data management seem really simple since 2016. The program collects all manufacturing data of a construction project at a central point and enables simple processing, evaluation and analysis. Thanks to the central databank, SCALES is the “single-source-of-truth” for construction projects; stakeholders can access and use the data anytime and from anywhere in the world.
“Nothing in the history of life is more constant than change”
Even though that is already reason enough to pat our shoulders (it is not without cause that we won the Mercur – Innovation price with SCALES in 2018, in the category “Information and communication technology/technic), we do not just sit back and bask in glory. We keep working to further optimise our data management system.
“Thanks to our engineers and to Philipp, we have a team with people that are aware of the potential for improvement at construction sites and know what functions actually add value and create benefits. But also many of our customers are motivated to improve the system and give us valuable input. Additionally, there are customer specific change requests which either arise through personal interest or construction specific demands”, Florian is emphasising, who, as R&D team leader, is working on making the software better, faster and more extensive. “It does not always smoothly, but we also learn from our failures. Every day we gain insights because things do not work as we expect.”
What brings 2019? A forecast
Currently, our developers Meder, Bernhard, Cesare, and Florian are working on the improvement of our databank because its performance for our customers has highest priority. “With clean, clever database design we can for example reduce load times to one fifth for visualisations”, Florian explains. “This year, we have put our focus on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and have implemented many performance indicators for the drilling and grouting technology. This is a tool, which we wanted to tackle for a long time, but could not do it until 2019 because of lack of time. The feedback from the construction sites is also extremely positive. I think we have not received so much praise for any other functionality.”
This year, another improvement of the visualisation is planned. Also, we are still working intensively on a construction time forecast until the end of this year. The visual presentation of the entire construction site, including construction progress as well as finished and planned steps, is the most used tool of SCALES. Especially when it comes to the communication between construction management and executing personnel or between construction management and building supervision.
SCALES has successfully completed its childhood and the most exhausting teenage years and is in its current form a highly efficient cutting-edge system which comprehensively covers the requirements of daily work. Nevertheless, the development continues, catchword “Lifelong Learning”. “Of course, there are always new functions and improvements to develop”, knows Florian. “Regarding the automatic analysis of data, use for forecasts and pattern recognition, we are still at the beginning. There is a long way in front of us and we are looking forward to new and exciting challenges”.
We would like to take this opportunity to virtually pat our developers‘ shoulders and to congratulate them for their many clever ideas and complex coding of the past months.
At this point we have a special gift for our loyal blog readers: from now on you can sign up for our newsletter! Then you will be automatically informed when we upload a new exciting blog instead of hoping for the best every time you visit our homepage. All you need to do is to click on “Subscribe” on the bottom of our homepage.
We look forward to many subscribers and end with a start: our next article, by guest author Helmut Wannenmacher, will be about the exciting topic “Artificial intelligence in civil engineering” which discusses if and how AI could be used for grouting measures. And because we have always difficulties to find a title for our blogs, there is a small lottery at this point: Simply send us your ideas for an interesting title that fits the topic “AI in civil engineering” by mail to email@example.com. The best idea wins an original, almost unique eguana-mug. *