Trimble Announces Construction Robotics and Cloud Computing Initiatives at Trimble Dimensions+

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As a record 5,600 attendees flowed into The Venetian Resort, Las Vegas for Trimble Dimensions+, the ranks of attendees swelled as this was the inaugural event that also included user conferences for the Viewpoint line of construction enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, and e-Builder solution for project owners.

While the Viewpoint and e-Builder acquisitions are years in the rear view mirror, there was plenty of news at the event from Trimble and its partners. Trimble made it a point to cover not only the net new items mentioned here, but the launch of Trimble Construction One, its suite comprised of solutions for across the construction value chain.

Robotic Site Printing a Hot Category

Trimble and HP announced a project to integrate Trimble's latest robotic total station with HP's new SitePrint robotic layout solution. HP’s offering originates from its research and development function in Barcelona, and on launch will join the Dusty Robotics site printing offering. The wheeled robots print the plan for tradespeople to execute the project directly on the project floor, eliminating manual site layout, improving accuracy and enabling new workflows as trade work can dovetail in a more agile fashion. HP’s offering is in testing while Dusty Robotics’ product has been through several iterations in large generals in the United States.

HP has told IronPros the product should be broadly released to market in 2023 and that HP is still to determine their go-to-market approach. The robot uses optical technology to achieve precise positioning and navigation driven by the Trimble Ri total station. Trimble Vision imaging rounds out the Trimble contribution to the tech stack.

Wheeled robots like HP SitePrint and products from Dusty Robots and TinyMobileRobots are designed for either a flat surface—a project site in the case of the two former or a paved surface or turf grass in the case of TinyMobileRobots. CivDot, a wheeled site-marking robot from Civ Robotics, along with company Founder and CEO Tom Yeshurun and staff. Trimble invested in Civ Robotics in September of this year, and the company has successful customer use cases in large-volume survey staking.

What sets CivDot apart is its ability to handle all terrains, which it addresses in two ways. The suspension and tires are optimized for CivDot is able to deliver good results under these circumstances. But the robots are also equipped with dual real-time kinematic (RTK) Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) antennas. This helps record orientation in space, including precise elevation of each point, on a level comparable to robots operating on flat surfaces.

Microsoft Azure Underpins New Construction Cloud

In a move that has real implications for how Trimble will likely be handling master data management, the company announced an enhanced partnership with Microsoft Azure. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appeared on screen during Trimble CEO Robert Painter’s morning keynote.

Initially, Trimble and Microsoft will focus on building the Trimble Construction Cloud powered by Microsoft Azure. This is part of an overarching trend towards broad construction application suites offering a data abstraction layer in the cloud to unite disparate applications used not only within contractor organizations, but across the extended project team of owners, generals, subcontractors and designers. The ultimate goal of these broad master data management programs is to support the entire built asset lifecycle, including post-commissioning maintenance, inspection and even operation.

"Trimble and Microsoft will create a powerful partnership to advance technology adoption in the construction industry. Using Microsoft technologies, Trimble will be able to more rapidly develop a construction cloud to connect stakeholders and workflows throughout the industry," said Bryn Fosburgh, senior vice president, Trimble. "We are building on our combined success to help construction companies use digital data to improve productivity, reduce costs, increase collaboration and create agility. By leveraging the Microsoft cloud, Trimble technology and our combined engineering capabilities, we will empower construction businesses to realize the benefits of the cloud and accelerate digital transformation throughout the construction lifecycle."

"Industry customers are accelerating deployment of cloud-based services and solutions to facilitate better decision making based on data-driven insights, gain efficiencies, reduce costs and engage customers in new ways," said Casey McGee, vice president Global ISV partners, Microsoft. "We are excited about our enhanced collaboration with Trimble as it will help customers, across industries, evolve their cloud strategies and realize business transformation."

 

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