A quadrocopter laser scanning system by Faro.
APDSP’s 2017 conference in October will feature a day-long educational session called Job Site University. This program aims to prepare reprographics professionals to provide services to modern job sites, beyond traditional print services. In this Q&A, Ron Perkins, owner of Job Site Tech Group, explains the basics of job site technology.
APDSP: Ron, what’s your background?
Perkins: I started in construction in 1984 as an estimator, so I learned a lot about the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements of a job site. I went on to work for a company called Construction Market Data, where I called on contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers, building supplies manufacturers, and others. In the positions I held with CMD over 16 years I learned about the business from a lot of different perspectives. Then I worked for Autodesk, and as a consultant to HP. For four years I was the business development director for NRI in New York (now BluEdge). While I was there we initiated a program called techsuite™, which outfitted construction trailers with technology. A couple of years ago I spun off that business and formed Jobsite Tech Group, which consults with businesses in construction technology.
APDSP: How did Job Site University come about?
Perkins: I met Keith Cox when he came to NRI while he was working on a program for Synnex called Load the Trailer. That was similar to techsuite. We realized we had the same vision of helping reprographics firms tap deeper into construction site technology, and we realized that a key part of that is being able to talk the talk. Reprographics firms that understand the technology are much better suited to sell it to contractors and become true technology partners. So later when I started Jobsite Tech Group, it made sense to connect with Keith and launch the Intelligent Jobsite and Job Site University.
APDSP: So what do reprographics professionals really need to know to get into job site technology?
Perkins: I think the number one thing is that they need to move from document management to real data management. The files that are created from the technology – such as laser scanning, BIM, virtual reality, drones, video and 360 photos – are huge. It’s just data, data, data, data. If a reprographics firm understands the technology creating that data and can help the client handle the data, the firm will be highly valuable. And since repro firms already have existing relationships with architects, engineers, contractors, and others on the jobsite, they are the logical ones to manage all that data.
APDSP: Can you give us an example of how a repro firm could fit into this world?
Perkins: Think about virtual reality. If you google it, you’ll see how it’s taking over the world. A lot of people are just now figuring out how the technology applies to design and construction. I recently visited with Gensler, a large architect in Los Angeles, and they have completely embraced VR solutions. McCarthy, a large contractor from St. Louis, told us they already feel like they have VR “figured out” too. But if you look at the data, you see that really there is only 7 to 8 percent penetration of the technology in AEC at the moment, which means you can still be early in the wave. So a repro firm can sell the VR technology, such as the goggles, hardware and software, and manage the data that is associated with VR. The real opportunity is to help the firms that aren’t as big as Gensler and McCarthy provide similar deliverables to their clients and projects. And in many cases the VR leads to printing, too.
A lot of firms engaged in virtual reality use tools like VIMaec™ and build on a platform called Unity. What if you hired a Unity developer? Gensler is creating virtual reality projects for various phases of design and selling them to the owners for their websites. Reprographics firms know those owners! They could be the ones creating those VR projects.
Learn more about Job Site University and the technologies behind in coming issues of APDSP Today, and stay tuned for more information about the 2017 APDSP Convention.