Construction is a series of big and small contracts. A startup has developed a tool that allows you to make proposals and contracts in one minute with a smartphone.
“The concept dates back to 2013. We built an app that could show the same image on two smartphones simultaneously. One of the users could draw on the image and the other would hear and see your explanation at the same time,” says Tomas Westerholm, Founding Partner at Sessio Software and CDO of Tietoa Finland. “The app got praise but tumbled over incompatibility issues on Android phones.”
From the initial idea, Sessio Software came about in December 2015. It started to develop applications for audiovisual collaboration.
In November 2017, Sessio’s team won the first price at Ultrahack. The jurors praised the team’s innovativeness and “out of the box” thinking.
How to Make a Contract in Under 30 Seconds
Construction and maintenance require a lot of paper work, albeit it can be digital. It takes time away from productive work. In fact, around 70% of a construction worker’s time does not add value. Any solution that can ease communication, make information quickly available, and reduce errors has a huge ROI in construction.
Two days before I met with Tomas, he had experienced first-hand the power of video contracts. He wanted to have two redundant buzzers removed from their office’s front door and one moved to another place. With Vontract, Sessio’s phone app, the whole process with the contractor took less than a minute.
Now, Tomas wanted to demonstrate to me how easy it was. We role played that Tomas would want me to move a monitor from one wall to another in the conference room.
He started the app and explained that we’re agreeing on an alteration job. He snapped a picture of the wall and drew a line around the monitor. He, then, took another snapshot of the wall where the monitor was to be installed, drew a rectangle of its placement, and scribbled the height of the monitor’s bottom from the floor. Finally, we added our headshots with the app and signed on the screen – all this took less than 30 seconds. The app sent me an SMS that contained a link to the video contract.
A Useful Tool for Construction
“The app in itself is versatile. You can use it for all sorts of collaborative situations, even if the parties are not physically in the same place. However, we’ve decided to zero in on contracts at this point,” says Tomas. He’s an architect and, therefore, especially interested in construction-related applications.
An intuitive app like this has many potential uses on a construction site. The client, contractors, construction managers, and designers can quickly communicate their requirements and instructions as micro-agreements. Suppliers can use a video to negotiate a deal and turn it into a proposal.
In addition to professional users, the app could prove handy for consumers who order small repair jobs. There’s little room for error when both parties show and tell what they’re agreeing on.
As the final result is a video in a cloud service, you can place its URL in an email message, in a digital document, or on a page in an online contract portal. The video itself can be the contract or it can act as an appendix to it. Sessio has integrated Vontract with Signspace, an online electronic signature service.
A Future Standard?
Sessio released the iPhone app in February 2019. It’s free to download and offers up to 300 seconds of video contracts for free.
Currently, the videos are made on a single smartphone. The original idea of synchronized video communication between two phones lives on. Sessio will be implementing the technology in the app’s future versions.
The company has filed a patent application for their solution. There are existing patents that augment written contracts with videos, but nothing exactly like Sessio’s solution has come up during the process.
Tomas thinks that, one day, the ability to make contracts their way will be part of the phone standard. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for that to happen as we already have a working solution.