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Extreme sports move over: Hardhat cameras coming to the job site

A technological turn for a sector in need of an update.
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Written by Greg Nichols, Contributor on
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Buildots

A company that uses construction workers as roving cameramen to analyze progress on the job site has secured $60 million in Series C funding. Buildots, whose growth is tracking a broader technological turn in the practically neolithic construction sector, will use the cash to expand its product offering in a bid to be the management suite of choice for construction oversight.

Construction accounts for 13% of the world's GDP, but while other traditional industries, like manufacturing, have increased productivity over the years, productivity has remained almost stagnant in the building sector. According to the European Commission, construction productivity has only increased by 1% in the past two decades. And with operational profitability often being only 5%, there is little room for error. 

That's led to a boom in technology development in the space to increase efficiency. We've covered scaffolding robots, which are aiming to disrupt a $50 billion global scaffolding business, aerial construction drones, cyborg-adjacent robotic suits, and various kinds of data capture devices and schemes. All of it aims to overcome the frankly strange fact that productivity in construction has actually fallen in half since the 1960s. The sector has not kept pace with innovation, and as I've written, the diesel-powered hydraulic machines you'll find on most construction sites today remain essentially unchanged from those rolling around 100 years ago. 

Enter Buildots, which uses AI and computer vision to help construction managers stay on top of job progress and identify delays and overruns. It all starts with what's essentially a GoPro mounted to the hardhats construction workers wear. The cameras capture job sites while the company's AI logs progress and is designed to spot errors as soon as they happen, eliminating costly backtracking when mistakes are uncovered later.

The company made an early splash with the booming construction sector, which a severe housing crunch has aided, and now it's expanding its suite of management tools.

"This funding round is fueling an essential expansion to our product offering, which in the process moves us closer to our vision of connected construction," said Roy Danon, co-founder and CEO of Buildots. "Facilitating better decision-making for construction teams is a key step in moving the entire industry towards greater collaboration and efficiency."

There's a parallel story playing out across industries like logistics, manufacturing, and biotech. Machine vision, which can analyze footage captured from inexpensive cameras, has unlocked a powerful tool for real-time quality control and regulation. This is symptomatic of a broader demand for extraordinary new levels of efficiency as the key driver of competitiveness.

"Traditional markets like construction are increasing their embrace of digital transformation," said Natalie Refuah, General Partner at Viola Growth, who will also be joining Buildots' Board of Directors. "With top-notch technology and a superb team, Buildots offers immense potential in terms of efficiency and profitability. We are excited for their continued success capitalizing on this market."

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