Connected information

Finding what you need, when you need it. 

Instant gratification, that's what we're used to. We've become an impatient society.

But at work, we still sit for hours, wasting our time watching spinning wheels trying to get the information we need. And when we access the file we want, we may still have to spend time manipulating it to get to just what we need.

While network speeds can take some of the blame, the architecture of many solutions is really the key issue - what we store or how we store it, defined files or structured content.

At Clearbox, we’ve been focused on storing the information as data as opposed to files. This approach allows better access to what you need, when you need it, aggregated and compiled into the form you need it and connected to what it refers to. It also allows users to manage the models and collect information in the field and link it back to the objects it refers to. 

We’ve always held the belief that you should manage the data on entry not on exit, as people tend to do for document handovers on completion. If you normalise data when you import it, then it makes it much easier to manipulate it and deliver benefit to the users throughout the process.

These days everyone talks about a CDE (a common data environment). To many, this is a new name for the document management tool but this has the risk of treating everything as files, connected together by document codes instead of underlying relationships. When your CDE is file based, it can often really only be a CDE in name, which often means you need specialist teams to update certain pieces of information, rather than just getting on with it and doing it yourself. It also means you can’t just easily see information that’s associated to a particular object.

The more connected everything is, at its very heart, the easier it is to analyse and get what you need from it.

Take Google maps as an example. It started out as a route planner, but when Google enabled users to access all the other rich information it stores on shops, restaurants, activities etc., it meant you could also plan your day wherever you were. You can see reviews of restaurants and tourist attractions and make educated decisions on where you want to go and what you want to eat. It’s also intelligent enough to give you the best route depending on whether you’re driving or walking, and you can see what public transport is around.

When technology solutions are data-centric, it enables users to really be able to use information how they want. That information can be manipulated and updated easier, you can look at visual representations of that data but also get the information behind those visuals. You can get reports on whatever bits of data you need. The possibilities are endless.

Our fundamental backbone architecture is built with data at its core, so that we can continually expand our products and grow their potential to keep up with the latest demands, without having to plug bits in and end up with randomly formatted and disconnected information.

We’re continually working to look at the best ways to improve or provide solutions that deliver our customers the information they need, when and how they need it. BIM is changing and the move to the language and outcomes represented by the concept of the Digital Twin will place even more focus on a data managed approach that connects all of the information together.