Following the success of the Oracle Industry Labs in Reading, UK, and Chicago, Illinois, the third Oracle Industry Lab is now open in Sydney, Australia.
With a specific focus on the construction and engineering sector, the vision for the new lab in Sydney is to showcase the art of the possible via live application of technology. It is not a static demo or exhibition. By providing fully immersive experiences and access to Oracle subject matter experts and technology partners, construction and engineering professionals can trial new technologies and integrations.
Steven Brant is the senior director of construction and engineering solutions and heads up the new lab. In this Q&A, Brant identifies the lab’s mission, who should attend, and what visitors can expect.
Rick Bell, Oracle Construction and Engineering senior content marketing manager, led the discussion.
STEVEN BRANT: The Sydney lab is a lifelike construction environment where we have combined multiple partner technologies with Oracle’s Smart Construction Platform to explore and validate construction and engineering applications working together. The lab is unique in the region in that it gives visitors a very tangible experience of how technology is rapidly changing the way we build.
It's comprised of a modular outdoor area with a site trailer close by and can accommodate up to 10 people per visit. We’re able to customize each visit to showcase several technologies—for example we can go over to a corner of the site where we've got an environmental sensor, and five steps later we're looking at anti-collision technology.
STEVEN BRANT: The Chicago and Reading labs are shared by several Oracle business units whereas Sydney is construction and engineering only. They follow the same design and identify appropriate partners, which we introduce to each other, helping them enter new markets.
We plan to create specific events here in Sydney, like tech days and industry summits.
STEVEN BRANT: I am the Sydney lab leader and host, and I set the partner strategy. I joined Oracle after 13 years as an executive at Aconex. I took this role after Aconex was safely settled into Oracle, and the opportunity allows me to use my technical and industry knowledge to help others. I know a number of vendors in the technology ecosystem. And this is a great chance for me to work with technology, build the Oracle partner ecosystem, and solve problems for clients. I'm meeting them, finding out what they're doing, how they're addressing their problems, and exchanging ideas with them.
STEVEN BRANT: Customers can make it a quick visit or spend a full day at the lab. We have built end-to-end experiences in which clients participate to solve typical industry challenges. We avoid PowerPoints and simple demos; at the lab we get our visitors involved.
We have an engineering and construction focus. We want them to feel like they're at a building site. They don't just sit in the site shed and watch. They are walking out on the site and inspecting things and coming back to discuss their experiences. Since the site's outside, the lab is customizable to fit the customer's interests or imperatives.
One of the most successful lab visits we had was the soft launch. We had five different general contractors here—tier-one companies, the absolute top. And they said that it was tremendously insightful. They really enjoyed the visit, but one of the things that they got out of it was talking to each other, which they don't often get the chance to do. These executives got together at the lab to talk about technology. I could just prompt with a question, and they would take it away and have the conversation among each other. It was immensely satisfying.
STEVEN BRANT: So, two groups—people delivering projects and the people responsible for technology innovation in the way projects are delivered.
We want to meet with anyone who is interested in using technology to improve safety or productivity on their building projects, from CEOs down. PMs and site engineers are definitely a focus for us. And then you've got the folks charged with technical innovation who study the landscape of technology, study how it can be used, and bring it into the company. They want to experience new technologies, but they can't try them on a live construction site with cranes swinging overhead and forklifts driving through. They need a safe space to know that it works and what it's working to achieve.
Coming to the Sydney lab gives them a chance to test the technologies we have here. They can bring a technology vendor that they may be thinking of using, or they'd like to investigate, or suggest them to us. We'll investigate and bring them on if they're interested and put them to the test. Some of our partners brought their devices, installed them here and they've worked from day one. And some devices have taken a bit of work on our side to solve bugs to get them to work. That's a real service to the industry and the customer.
We also welcome industry participants like engineering companies and architects. They're not necessarily direct customers of Oracle, but they're critically important people in the industry. They need to understand technology to know how it can help them. We've also had visits by TAFE, and I know more will happen here with TAFE and with universities. It's fantastic to see potential entrants to the market who thought that construction was only bricks and concrete realize how much technology is in use in construction. It increases our chances of getting some new blood into the industry.
STEVEN BRANT: Their account manager is the first point of contact. They can visit our website and request a booking to the lab or contact me at email@example.com.
Oracle’s Industry Labs provide a testing ground where customers can explore, ideate, and innovate solutions to their toughest challenges. To learn more, go here.
The Oracle Smart Construction Platform combines our industry-trusted applications with a common data environment and an ecosystem of partners to help owners and delivery teams work together and continuously improve performance. The platform connects teams and data, synchronizes work, and empowers individuals to make informed, proactive decisions. Power performance with proven Oracle Construction and Engineering solutions for scheduling, portfolio management, construction project management, project controls, construction payment management, and more.