Mobile Construction Field Management – Interview with Miikka Viljanen of Consight
In this interview with Miikka Viljanen, CEO of Consight, we discuss the company’s solution for mobile construction field management.
How did your company come about?
Consight was founded in late 2013. The founder, Niilo Kemppainen (M.Sc. Construction Management), had the idea for a mobile app specifically designed for construction project management. As a lecturer for construction supervisors, he started to develop the app with students and construction companies. An Android prototype was ready in 2015.
In early 2016, four new partners joined in, and we got public funding from Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. I became the CEO at the same time. We started to develop an app for the Android and iOS platforms and released a new version in October 2016.
What are the needs that you want to meet with your solution?
The quality of construction work and the transparency of the process are big concerns. We think clients should demand that contractors use specific systems to document how construction was done on the site. It will save time and money should any questions of quality arise during or after the construction work. Real-time documentation also helps project managers do their jobs efficiently.
There are several aspects of construction that you can improve with our solution. Firstly, we have a solution for task management, a critical duty. With the app, project managers can very easily and quickly register issues (tasks, punch lists, safety problems, documentation of work phases, etc.) in the field and share them with other project participants.
Secondly, collaboration on projects between different parties is a lot smoother when they all get the same data, in real-time. They can follow the progress of the tasks, make decisions, and chat through the app, as well. Another helpful function allows you to share information through the most popular channels, like WhatsApp, SMS, email, Slack, Dropbox, etc.
We also offer important features for workers. They can have their own task lists and ask advice from their supervisors.
Who are your customers?
We have ongoing projects with construction companies, for example, Skanska and Lehto. Certain engineering firms utilize our system for quality inspections and punch lists. Smaller contractors use it mostly in renovation projects for task management.
Additionally, the system is suitable for installations and maintenance work, and we have negotiations under way with companies from the solar industry and property management. Our app is flexible enough to serve even private house builders successfully.
Can you explain briefly what customers can do with your app?
We think of Consight as a digital toolbox or a project manager’s power tool. It consists of the mobile app and an online service with a web browser interface.
The core feature of the mobile app is visual recording and sharing of construction issues. You can take photos, annotate them, add location data and project management information, and so on. Managers get a quick overview of the project’s status through task lists and floor plans. They can add comments and generate reports for different contractors and disciplines.
In Finland, we have standardized occupational safety inspections. Consight makes doing the inspections and reporting them on a weekly basis easy.
The scope and content of quality inspections vary from one work phase and project type to another. Our system allows modification of the inspection templates.
What are the benefits that customers can expect to get by using your app?
Consight offers real-time data and status information from the construction site. People can focus on productive work instead of making phone inquiries, holding unnecessary meetings, sending email back and forth, and rambling around the site. Project managers can even work remotely if needed. The efficiency boost saves money and can even lead to shorter project lead times.
The second main benefit is transparency. Consight increases the transparency of the projects and eventually all the companies involved.
You have a mobile app and a web browser service. How do they work together?
The mobile and web apps are kept in sync in real time. Everything is saved in the cloud, and the service is located in the EU. The mobile app and the web app work interchangeably.
Does your app integrate or communicate with other applications that your customers might use?
Sure, records can be shared as PDF files on WhatsApp, SMS, email, Slack, Dropbox, etc. We have RESTful API and are ready to integrate the system and customize it for the needs of the customers.
How can customers start using your app, and what are the costs?
The mobile app is available on the App Store and Play Store. You can use it for free for 30 days. After the try-out period, Consight costs €15 to €40 per user per month, depending on the feature pack and the size of the project.
We are starting a summer campaign where international customers get the esteemed Finnish standard of occupational safety inspections with all features for €5 per user per month. It is an easy way to improve the safety of the construction site.
You’re a Finland-based company. Do you offer services to international customers now, or will you in the future?
Yes, we have an English version of the app available. Currently, we are doing market research in Scandinavia and some Eastern and Central European countries and looking for local distributors. We’ve also had inquiries from Asia.
What are your future plans?
As a small vendor, we are looking for partnerships and cooperation with companies that offer VR and BIM construction solutions, for example. In the future, we’d like to be able to exchange data with BIM systems. Also, a time-scheduling solution partner would help us create a complete task-management system for planning purposes, and we are testing indoor-positioning solutions that could open new markets.
Where can our readers find more information on Consight and contact you?
Visit www.consight.fi/en.html, or email us at consight(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)consight.fi.