ConTech startups most poised to shake up the industry
Newsletter cover photo
This isn't even the weirdest thing we've photoshopped
Good morning,
We've trained 10 months for this moment.
All those resistance bands triceps extensions in our living rooms, all those modified push-ups, all those items from the grocery store that have the word "keto" somewhere on the packaging.
It's all going to be wiped away in the hurricane of one day: Thanksgiving.
Douse everything in gravy. Turn on the big game. Say "Wait... Andy Dalton is still in the NFL?" Have that extra slice of pumpkin pie. Nobody will judge, they're doing it too. We've all earned this. But first, this week's news and notes—

Construction

From
For Construction Pros
, a feel-good story that should probably be adapted into a movie, AR and VR on electrical contractor Rosendin’s jobsites
got a recent boost from gamers
inherently familiar with the technology. Bringing in fresh perspectives removed entirely from construction, Rosendin thought outside the box by seeking the critique of gamers to find new uses of AR and VR within their BIM division to complete projects.
The concept of hiring employees with gaming experience has proven a logical fit in the BIM environment. Said Fred Meeske, BIM VP at Rosendin: “Gamers have a natural affinity to see and think in 3D space, so what better environment than the construction space? After all, this is what they are passionate about anyway—building environments in a virtual world.”
Our personal gaming-to-construction pivot resume is filled out nicely with our recent decision to relocate Blathers’ museum onto some terraformed land overlooking the water directly in front of Nook’s Cranny in
Animal Crossing
. We’re expecting a call from Fred Meeske any day now.
Even without clever worlds-collide stories like these, it’s logical to assume that
Minecraft
-submerged Gen-Z’ers are tomorrow’s billion-dollar general contractors. All those contech articles raising their fists to the sky over construction’s tech stubbornness will be non-existent as soon as our children born with iPads in their hands grow up.
From
TechCrunch
,
an insightful article
on the promising tech-infused future of construction: "Construction tech startups are poised to shake up a $1.3-trillion-dollar industry."
The pandemic's effects on construction over the better part of the last year is summarized (including a triggering reference to the word "essential"), the four main industry-wide problems that were especially problems are delved into (high fragmentation, poor communication, lack of data transparency, and skilled labor shortage), and we learn which tech companies from each section of the value chain from conception through post-construction stepped into the fray to remedy those problems (including Procore, Levelset, Smartvid.io, and Buildr).
From an article by
Buildr
, read about how general contractor Gardner Builders
continues to achieve their platinum standard
by teaming up with Buildr to accelerate closeout and over-deliver to their clients on project handover.
Gardner
is known as a hospitality company in the commercial construction business for a reason, and we’re beyond honored to partner with such an awesome group of people who are so clearly devoted to their clients. To answer your questions: Yes, we know our name is the second half of their name. Yes, we’re jealous they have the “e” and we don’t. No, we have no (immediate) plans to change our name to Gardnr Buildr.
While we're in
self-plug mode
, we may as well mention that this will be our last reminder to enter our iPad Pro + Apple Pencil raffle (winner drawn Black Friday; 11/27/20). Some of our GC partners like giving their clients iPads fully locked and loaded with their digital turnover packages that we help them create and standardize across all their projects. To enter, simply "follow" us on LinkedIn for one (1) entry ticket in the raffle
here
.
From
Construction Dive
, the people want what the people want and
they apparently want to gamble
. Voters passed several initiatives that expand gambling limits across the country and will specifically boost the hospitality industry in Virginia and Nebraska where casino construction is about to soar:
Portsmouth, VA: Rivers Casino Portsmouth ($300 million)
Danville, VA: Caesars ($400 million)
Bristol, VA: Hard Rock ($400 million)
Norfolk, VA: Norfolk Resort & Casino ($500 million)
Sioux City, Omaha, and Lincoln, NE: (unnamed) ($300 million)
Further initiatives passed that relax gambling restrictions in states including Colorado, Maryland, Louisiana, and South Dakota. Massive casino projects are in the works in Mississippi and—this may come as a surprise—Nevada. All these projects will create a multitude of much-needed construction jobs in markets (hotel/motels and restaurants) that have seen -67% and -77% plummets, respectively, since COVID-19 began. The aforementioned states plan to put it all on red in an attempt to get out of the red.
Leo A. Daly
looked ahead to the future of workplace design and construction in a post-COVID world in
their case study
: “The Future of the Workplace.” As the worldwide pandemic has throttled many businesses into reimagining the concept of their workplace, office construction will look a bit different moving forward.
The average worker saves $4k per year by working from home while the employer saves $11k per year for that same employer (not taking into account hypotheticals involving childcare). These savings scaled across entire companies will provoke many businesses intent on keeping a “home base” to shrink square footage and maximize functionality. Expect conference rooms to be converted into chit-chat closets and water coolers to become upside-down Yeti hydro flasks.
From
REJournals
,
interviews with forecasting experts
from Dodge Data & Analytics and Cumming reveal that the largest state’s construction industry least affected by the pandemic is [drumroll] Texas.
Texas’ total building construction value is down just 6% from this time last year. Fluctuation stems from massive hits to the hospitality and retail sectors but growths in the residential market and renovations and repurposing of existing buildings.
The author notes that the construction volume rebound following the 2008 recession took 10 years and that the one we currently find ourselves in is expected to take 3-4 years to fully return to 2019 levels.
Fred Mills from
The B1M
exclusively interviewed
Sir Richard Branson in a video following Virgin Hyperloop’s first official (and successful) passenger test. Last month, we delved into West Virginia’s selection for the US Hyperloop’s
$500 million certification center
and a bit about what it would mean for the future of transportation (mostly for the purposes of making a
Simpsons
monorail joke
). Some interesting tidbits from the interview include:
The original concepts for Hyperloop originated in the 1930s but laid dormant until now due to technological constraints.
Hyperloop is apparently a bit of a space race. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and Hardt Hyperloop are in on the action, but Virgin Hyperloop has officially moved ahead of the pack with this passenger test news.
Branson’s discussion of making two very separate airports in Dubai the same airport once linked by Hyperloop makes us realize The Simpsons’ monorail isn’t even the best Matt Groening proxy to this story, but Futurama’s
tube transportation
.
From
Freeze Lists
, check out this
well-edited timelapse and graphics video
showing how mega construction projects that look like they must have been put together by giants actually come together.

Non-Construction

Worry wart
: Did you know
scheduling worry
is actually really healthy for you? You know, as opposed to what we’re used to doing all the time, spontaneously worrying.
Apple concentrate
: In case you missed it, enjoy Apple’s November event
condensed into 10 minutes
, like one of those gags where the springy snake toy is shoved in a can. Do those still exist? Did they ever exist?
System overload
: Lots of video game consoles are dropping this holiday season, just in time for quarantine to still be an excuse for logging 90 hours of
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
in one week. Here’s IGN’s
review
of the Xbox Series X and Marques Brownlee’s
review
of the PS5.
Baby Yo-duh
: In
a marketing move for the ages
, NASA sent The Child to space with some astronauts. Surely, this stunt will propel this little-known television character into pop culture icon status.
0 to 94.5, real quick
: Outdoing the Pfizer vaccine’s lowly 90% effectiveness, Moderna’s
94.5% effectiveness
“changes the game.” At the current rate of effective vaccines dropping, we’ll have upwards of 94.5 different vaccines available by 2022. Great news for earth!
Beam me up
: In that special sort of tech news that we haven’t yet decided to be impressed or scared about, meet
the SoundBeamer
—a device that shoots music into your ears without the need for headphones. Brb, spiking our now-defunct AirPods on the sidewalk.
Side-dish network
: Now look, no need to reinvent the wheel here. We shouldn’t mess with the classics: creamed corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce... [Michelin-star chef recommends adding clams and oysters in stuffing.] Okay fine, I guess we’ll consider
this link
of Thanksgiving side-dishes that several famous chefs swear by.
Fleetwood iMac
: Twitter is introducing “fleets,” which are Snapchat-esque tweets that
disappear after a little while
. Twitter assumes people will be more inclined to post their opinions if there’s a shorter window of time someone can screenshot them.
Worst to burst
: In a new study, even
as little as a 12 minute
burst of vigorous exercise has a tremendous impact on our long-term health. Does tweeting like there’s no tomorrow for 12 straight minutes count?
RIP Alex
: Losing his much-publicized battle with pancreatic cancer, Alex Trebek sadly passed away. This compilation does a good job of rounding up some memorable Alex moments, including that time he hosted
Jeopardy!
without pants
.
RIP Tommy
: This link will be for a very select sliver of our readership, but here are the
top 5 rants
by the late Tommy Heinsohn (commentator, coach, NBA Hall-of-Famer) who also just tragically passed away. For anyone who grew up watching Celtics basketball, this wonderful man was your uncle.
That’s it this week. If you'd like some news and notes in your inbox every other Wednesday morning, be sure to
subscribe here
.
Until next time.
PS Have a Happy Thanksgiving!