- Bluebeam, Inc. has built a prototype sensor for the construction site
- The Pulse will monitor conditions such as temperate, humidity and light
- Bluebeam’s Innovations Team worked closely with customers to optimize the device
- The “Internet of Things” allows constant collection and preservation of data from the jobsite
- Limited Pulse pilot program already underway with builders around the country
Bluebeam, Inc. is embarking on a pilot program to place data sensors on construction jobsites. The announcement was made by Peter Noyes, Principal Engineer at Bluebeam, in his keynote address at the company’s annual eXtreme Conference, which took place this year in downtown Los Angeles.
Bluebeam, which makes the digital workflow and collaboration solution Revu, is a leader in the field of construction and design software. However, the foray into hardware represents a new direction for the company. Chief Technology Officer Don Jacob said that he, Noyes, and others on the Innovations Team drew on experience in the industry to come up with the Pulse, which will provide up-to-the-minute readings on temperature, humidity and light data—all important elements that need to be carefully monitored during the construction phase of a building. For instance, temperature and humidity must be within a certain range for wood flooring to be installed optimally. In places with high humidity, or extreme temperatures, this is especially important.
“We have examples of people having to constantly go take readings in the darkest days of winter. Being able to collect this information remotely and report it back to a centralized system is something that our customers found valuable. That inspired us to really take the Pulse from just an idea and a concept to an actual prototype and a pilot we can bring to our customers,” said Jacob.
“Bluebeam has had the desire to go beyond software for a while,” adds Noyes, who spent many hours in the lab soldering, wiring and adjusting the apparatus. “The field has a lot of untapped data that we could record, and it seemed like a logical move to try to collect that data so that our customers in the field can make better decisions.”
By offering customers an easy to use tool, Bluebeam is taking advantage of the possibilities offered by the Internet of Things. Besides real-time feedback, the sensor data will be archived and preserved so that it will be available for reference in the future. In future disputes, for instance, the GC can point to the records to help prove that their installation was according to best practices; the data can also prove useful to facilities management companies by providing a history of when materials were installed, and under what conditions.
Pilot Program Takes Off
After two years of testing in the Innovations Lab, the device is being deployed to jobsites around the country in a limited pilot program.
The Innovations team produced many iterations, settling on the current open-format Bluetooth Low Energy sensor for its ease of use and long-lasting efficiency. Utilizing valuable early customer feedback, the prototype design was eventually improved to the point where the sensors are ready to be deployed to a select group of users. “The fun is in getting the feedback and altering plans,” explains Jacob, adding that Bluebeam has a long history, going back to its founding, of working elbow to elbow with its customers to create the most optimal solutions, together.
“It was an evolution,” says Noyes, “and it’s fun all these years later to go back to our roots and do this process again with something new. It fits well with our DNA in that a lot of what Bluebeam is, is based on PDF, another open standard. We’re committed to open standards and using Bluetooth is extending that into the hardware we’re creating.”
Jacob echoed that sentiment. “What’s great about Bluebeam is we like to solve challenging problems. The hardware challenge—underline hard in hardware—is a little different than software. Being problem solvers, being investigators, it’s been a really interesting problem to work on.”
Now the Pulse can beat on its own, pumping valuable information to contractors, engineers and users at all stages of the building process.