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Get the most out of Dropbox as a Common Data Environment for construction

Get the most out of Dropbox as a Common Data Environment for construction

Shirin ArnoldIndustry LeadConstruction at Dropbox, and PBC Today discuss how digital technologies such as Verifi3D, the recent collaboration between Dropbox and Xinaps, can help the industry create a powerful Common Data Environment.

How do you see the evolution of construction in the next 3-5 years?

Between 2008 and 2015, the construction industry as a whole went through a difficult period. Less time was available during that time to innovate and digitize procedures. Collaboration and the manner in which partners collaborated on projects were challenging. In this period, we’ve seen significant growth in embracing Dropbox in construction. Now, the pandemic has accelerated digitalization as we see customers starting to embrace a digital workflow, and this trend will not be stopped. More construction data is consequently accessible due to the construction industry’s rising digitalization. You can clearly see that the SME market is quickly following the corporates who first set everything in motion.

As an industry expert, why did you choose Dropbox?

Throughout my career, the people I work with, the problems that need to be solved, and the impact I can have has always been the driving forces in my career. I am so passionate about using all of the brilliant new tools that the industry has access to, but only if those tools are being used correctly by teams that want to collaborate effectively. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch a building come together with the right team, the right process, and the right technology. This is coming from someone who started her career in construction learning about the latest technology in construction and then ultimately becoming the Construction Industry Lead at Dropbox.

So, it looks like you are on a mission?

Yes, for corporates it’s easy to digitize and innovate. To shape the market, they have networks, funds, and teams. Corporate entities use Dropbox. SMEs, however, frequently face challenges with their digital transformation since they lack the resources and skills to keep up with the big players. We believe there is an opportunity to better serve Dropbox’s devoted user base by adding more functionality to our platform. Our partners have been crucial to Dropbox’s success throughout the years. With the Dropbox app center, we make it easier for Dropbox partners to reach a significant group of potential customers. Creating value is what we want for our customers.

Could you please elaborate more on it?

Millions of users have access to Dropbox thanks to our partners, who also put a lot of effort into integrating their products to forge a robust ecosystem. We are dedicated to redistributing our success to benefit our partners. The idea that success is best when shared serves as our guiding principle. Our goal is for our ecosystem of connected applications to keep expanding and integrate Dropbox with an increasing number of the services that our clients use. Our technology partners help make this happen by developing applications that connect to Dropbox products, enhancing the experience for our customers.

What are the main challenges companies face when it comes to embracing new technologies?

Companies, particularly SMEs, face a number of challenges, including the inability to anticipate the potential digitized futures of their businesses, low levels of digital maturity among employees and employers, and—most importantly, the inherently limited human resources. Although SMEs are interested in digital technologies, they need assistance in determining which technologies are most appropriate for their objectives and processes.

Even throughout the same phase of a construction project, there is often a lack of cooperation between the professionals involved. The design and construction phases are sometimes not adequately coordinated and integrated, as construction companies are not involved in the design phase, and this leads to inefficiencies, delays, and potential errors. The possibility for stakeholders and professionals to influence design decisions and engage with other professionals on the methods, tools, and technologies to be employed is reduced as a result of this impeding the integration of construction knowledge among stakeholders and professionals.

To encourage all construction enterprises further down the value chains to adopt digital solutions, it is essential to promote collaboration among professionals throughout the various construction phases. One such tool that closed the gap in the design and construction stage is Verifi3D by Xinaps, and we’re thrilled about the value that the integration will bring to our customer base.

Why is Dropbox partnering with Verifi3D from Xinaps?

Given the recent and rapid emergence of digital technologies in the construction sector, the issue of standardization has been gaining importance, as it is pivotal for the interoperability of different digital tools. Like many other businesses, the construction sector is subject to a wide range of standards, regulations, guidelines, and specifications.

The transition to digital workflows has had a significant influence on construction companies. Although BIM and ISO 19 650 have been around for decades, in the last two years we have seen an acceleration in the rate of adoption within our customer processes. This is a great time to collaborate with companies like Xinaps to offer the existing Dropbox user base and potential Dropbox users the opportunity to build a Common Data Environment by integrating both propositions.

What do you expect from this partnership?

Our partners have been crucial to Dropbox’s success throughout the years. They worked hard to integrate their solutions to build a strong ecosystem and contributed to the availability of Dropbox to millions of users worldwide. We are dedicated to redistributing our success to benefit our partners.

The transition to a digital workflow is unstoppable. So, we see customers in general and also within other partnerships we have, will require more for data storage-only solutions. We anticipate that by creating an ecosystem around it, customers, particularly those in the construction industry, would design entire workflows around centralized cloud-based file repositories. This is what will take effect in the collaboration with Xinaps, the developer of Verifi3D. The Dropbox integration gives Verifi3D users the best of both worlds – the advantages of model coordination and clash checking combined with cloud storage and access without losing control of their data. A two-way sync enables model coordination at all times and in all environments enabling digital innovation and accelerating global adoption.

How would you like to position Verifi3D in relation to Dropbox?

You are just at the beginning of Dropbox’s next act. Dropbox has historically been known as a back-end infrastructure platform for file syncing and sharing, a market we still dominate. We devote a significant amount of time and effort to developing products, enhancing our infrastructure, and the legacy of our business. As more people work remotely, our users need more efficient ways to share data. Although Dropbox is the quickest, most secure method to sync and share your files, our customers are always evolving.

Verifi3D can be thought of as your IFC and .rvt files’ spell checker as they are stored in our repository. A significant problem in a building is inconsistent data. In construction projects, data quality can make all the difference between profit and loss. If data had been adequately reviewed throughout the pre-construction and early construction stages, 30% of building materials that end up being wasted would have been avoided entirely. Dropbox is thrilled to be working with a partner who places a strong emphasis on data quality, as this could lead to better margins as well as reduced waste due to fewer construction errors. This partnership with Xinaps will bring our customer base added level of efficiency, accuracy, and power to collaborate.

What are the best things about Verifi3D that you have discovered so far?

The advanced rule-based engine of Verifi3D is impressive! Imagine with the integration, users can literally check, clash and validate their building models without leaving the solution and bring in federated models from multiple sources. Best of both the worlds!

What advice would you give to AEC firms to help them be more comfortable in starting to use new technologies to improve their business/workflow/process?

The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry is in transition. Advanced technologies are driving it. For the majority of businesses, many significant technology-driven improvements are still on the to do list. It’s a fact that AEC businesses encounter a myriad of challenges, a majority of which make implementing new technologies challenging.

The good news is that AEC companies are progressing in their adoption of emerging technologies. Making sure AEC firms have the tools and infrastructure they need to support advanced technologies is one way to encourage more of them to use them. That includes end-to-end, multi-layered security, a cloud solution, and scalable storage capacity. The cloud is one option that meets all of the aforementioned requirements while avoiding capital spending, ongoing maintenance, upgrades, and labor costs.

When considering new technology for your business, consider the return on investment and the technology’s value to the company. To see how the emerging software tool compares to the existing methods, test it out on a real project. Companies must first identify where their needs are and where there are bottlenecks before implementing new technologies and solutions. The only way to scale and manage your business effectively is through technology. Safety, sustainability, and resilience must be made into key performance indicators.

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Contact us today to receive a proposal and take advantage of our Verifi3D and Dropbox integration!

Contact us today to receive a proposal and take advantage of our Verifi3D and Dropbox integration!

To read the article on PBC Today, visit here.


Milu Sini Lal

Marketing Executive

Milu Sini Lal

Marketing Executive

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