COMIT at SAP in Feltham

Our Autumn Community Day was kindly hosted by SAP at their impressive offices in Feltham, London. About 50 people attended including a number of guests and new members. As usual we had a wide range of presentations and also a technology demonstration by Wates. In the afternoon SAP gave a Showcase presentation including a visit to one of their research labs.

New Members & Guests

We were very happy to welcome 3 new members to COMIT who have all joined (or are in the process of joining) since our last Community Day in June 2018. They are:

We also had guests from Audacia, Stantec, Technics Group, Total Mobile and Visilean.

Membership & Management Changes

COMIT membership is continuing to go from strength to strength. Stuart Young reported that 10 out of the top 16 UK Contractors by turnover are now COMIT members. With the recent addition of major international client companies like Shell and solution providers like SAP and British Telecom the potential for future development is very exciting.

In similar vein Stuart announced that Tony Shooter is moving on from his position as Technology Chair and we welcomed Dr Max Mallia-Parfitt (Director of Fulcro Applied Technologies) as the new incumbent. Max is well known by COMIT members and is a multi-talented, energetic and outspoken member of the community. It will be interesting to see what he gets up to!

Max Mallia-Parfitt, new COMIT Chair for Technology

Tony is not leaving COMIT but will be focusing on his work with leading the COMIT Drone Community, which he was in large part responsible for creating. The Drone Community is an off-shoot of the main COMIT Community and aims to develop the technology and legislative and training frameworks necessary for the rapid and safe adoption of drones in construction.

The next Drone Community event is being held on the 31st October. This will be a global FREE conference that can be attended in person in the UK and India, or online via webinar. Details and booking information will be on the website shortly.


Sally Keill from Morgan Sindall described how the company has transitioned from using traditional methods of site data capture to using mobile devices. Drawing examples from their work at Heathrow Northern Runway she explained the significant benefits it delivered, both cost wise and with greater customer reassurance on quality. Sally also showed how the approach lead to significant costs savings from improving the management of plant hire.

Rachel Schofield from SES Engineering Services (part of Wates Group) talked about the work they have been doing with the Oculus Rift headset. She roped in a very brave Mahsa Chadry from Colonel Duck Productions to take part in a live demonstration.

SES have been experimenting with combining gaming and BIM technologies to create interactive VR based tools for use in the construction sector.

Jim Kernahan, Director at Trellisworks, described the origins of their new IP-CCTV solution, Safestart and Tim Wesgate from BAM described how he had used it on several key projects. Safestart allows 24/7 monitoring with automatic alerts. Tim described how it had been used on a Network Rail contract at Reading Station bridge development at Cow Lane. This site required constant surveillance but had no power and Safestart was the ideal solution. The entire camera network ran from a single 4G device which also provided site internet access.

Mark Austin from Kier shared their “#Forwardthinking” model. In a deliberate drive to foster an innovation culture they created an Innovation Forum which currently has 800 actively members and has created 400 new ideas. Their philosophy is to Engage, Capture and Share. One of the lessons they have learned is that language is very important. To get people to share innovations for example it is more effective to simply ask them what they are proud of. They also encourage engagement by thanking contributors and holding annual awards.

SAP Showcase

Ceri Carlill, Senior Director at SAP described their global strategy for the construction industry. SAP recognise the fragmented nature of construction and want to enable a single platform that can bring silos together and provide a single view of any enterprise. Their annual R&D spend is £3.2 Billion but they not just investing in their core services, but in other allied and supporting technologies that their customers may be using. This was made clear in the afternoon when gave a demonstration of some of the technologies they are developing.

10 Minute Soapboxes

  • Martin Zilliacus from Visilean described their solution. VisiLean is a cloud based construction management service that supports lean production planning and control workflow and a direct integration with BIM. It is supported on both iOS and Android mobile devices.

  • Graham Mills from Technics Group and Fred Newel from Turner and Townsend described a case study for Staysafe, a lone worker solution. Staysafe uses a mobile phone to monitor an individuals location in real time. Fred explained there were initial issues with adoption due to the fear of "big brother" but these diminished as the value of the solution was recognised.

  • Peter Mayo described an apparently new approach to software based network acceleration. This can be used, for example, to improve performance over slow connections.

  • Mahsa Chadry of Colonel Duck Productions showed how they are working to make site inductions less repetitive an more interactive by integrating site specif technology. The aim is to remove the monotony and help people to THINK safety rather than just act safely.

Dates for your Diary

  • Thursday 6 December: Community Day, hosted by Dropbox in London

  • Thursday 14 March 2019: Community Day, hosted by SCISYS in Chippenham

  • Wednesday 12 & 13 June 2019: COMIT’s annual conference, Digital Advancement Academy, (Bentley’s Offices), Gracechurch Street, London. Note this incorporates the June Community day and this is FREE to COMIT members

Other Business

Stuart announced the Digital Construction Community Webinars. We are reintroducing these and broadening their scope. These will be monthly, hourly long webinars. Contact Stuart if you’d like to run a session. The first one will be done by SAP in October.

Now that the Drone Community has really "taken off" we are looking to create a Productivity Improvement group and are looking for suitable projects. We have already had some expressions of interest but if any other members are interested then please contact Stuart.

Many thanks to our host SAP and to all of our delegates and presenters. COMIT holds four Community Days a year which are free to attend for COMIT members. If you work in construction or construction related technology and think your organisation would benefit from membership then please contact us.

#events #communityday

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