Communication: The biggest (business) challenge
Better communication and collaboration are the two pivotal virtues in the world of BIM. The problem with collaboration through communication is an existential one, and it would be unnatural if the construction industry was not hurdled by it. However, as far as problems and solutions go, the industry is getting better at communicating thanks to construction data experts such as coBuilder.
But who is helping US, the experts, communicate better?
Are machines better communicators than people?
Interoperable product data that manufacturers deliver through tools such as goBIM can be used in all types of software – be it modelling, FM or Asset Information Management. Through the use of common data formats it can ‘speak the language’ of all machines while its ‘message’ remains undisturbed by the transfer. Truly, the exchange of interoperable data achieves ‘perfect communication’. However, is that possible in the world of minds?
The Difference between Data Exchange and Dialogue
When you are in a meeting, are the attendants simply exchanging information? A meeting rather implies an intricate exchange of meanings that can be quite different or similar, but never identical. Unlike the way software communicate through data exchange, people co-create through dialogue. When people communicate, the continual emergence of a new content is common to all participants. So, the very idea of a dialogue goes beyond the notion of ‘perfect communication’, where the transmitter and receiver share the same message.
In terms of software then, is it possible to have machines help with this continuously co-created information exchange?
The answer is YES. And it lies in the platform.
Software systems such as Cisco Spark are an essential medium of dialogue in coBuilder’s daily business.
The software’s impeccable conference call function allows teams located thousands of kilometres apart to deliberate important issues and come to mutual decisions. It allows people to truly communicate in the current moment. This is much more valuable than any written communication, because allows for people to dig deeper for meaning than the surface of words. Seeing everybody’s body language and hearing their tone of voice is as essential a full on discussion as is water for a plant. In a multilingual company like coBuilder it is important feel able to communicate your passion even when language might fail you. And we know first-hand that this is how great ideas are born.
Is it possible to ‘speak the same language’?
One thing coBuilder has in common with many construction industry businesses is that operating a culturally diverse business is a great challenge. However, while there is software for mapping meanings to a common code that can then be decoded to denote different languages, the world of business meetings is a different story.
Language is much more than a code – it is a function of a society, a culture, in which the language, the speaker, and the hearer are all embedded. This is why we have to get creative when cultural differences stand in the way of the much-cherished productive dialogue. Cisco Spark allows us to supplement our virtual communication with different forms of messages. We can simply share screens and point to what we are talking about, we can share images or even draw on interactive boards. Exchanging information through be it binary bits, or pixels, or words is as close as we can get to achieving if not perfect at least GREAT communication.
Who watches the watchmen?
As software providers ourselves, we at coBuilder stand behind the integration of high-quality software platforms by all progressive business owners. In order to help the construction industry communicate and collaborate better, we need to first have these virtues in place in our own business.
That is why, when choosing our help we believe we have made the right choice. Just like a carpenter needs his tools in order to build a house, we need Cisco Spark to maintain the communication in our company in order to build the best possible software solutions for the construction industry.