Construction Software Company Slate Technologies Buys Splash Modular
Contech firm brings AI and machine learning for proptech company in-house
Construction software company Slate Technologies announced Tuesday that it has acquired Splash Modular, an artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning firm active in the design manufacturing and assembly (DFMA) market. Splash will operate as part of Slate, according to the acquiring firm.
In Charlotte, N.C.-based Splash Modular, Slate Technologies is adding another form of industrialized construction (IC) to its platform of services in the increasingly digitized contech sector, said Joel Hutchines, former CEO of Splash and now vice president and head of IC for Slate.
Founded in 2019, Splash uses its AI and machine-learning design process to improve the productivity of construction professionals by enabling better, earlier decision-making to help them manage construction site initiatives, according to the company. Its software connects design teams in the construction process with the manufacturing, assembly and supply chain stakeholders, helping general contractors identify, integrate and manage IC.
“The idea with Splash was we actually marketed prefabricated bathroom parts,” Hutchines said. “Rather than being a manufacturer, we licensed the assembly to somebody else. The reason we did that was so that we could showcase how we could productize a design process. So what we did was we codified the design [and] automated the entire process. Then we licensed the assembly to somebody else.
“The whole approach there was to show that we could actually streamline the process, making the projects far more efficient and less costly. The next step for us was to create a marketplace full of components. As we were getting ready to do that and starting to work with clients, we were acquired. So we never really created the marketplace.”
Splash’s ability to automate and streamline the component design process fit into Slate Technologies’ overall AI-focused contech platform.
And the momentum to further industrialize construction is growing rapidly, according to Hutchines.
“Components are being industrialized, and we’re seeing chunks of buildings built off site,” he said. “There’s really a need to help with the design and integration for those components. What we’re doing is going to those suppliers with what we’re calling a scripting-as-a-service model, working with them to automate their design process. Then, through a design virtual assistant that we have in the Slate system, we are pushing that out into the hands of designers. So designers now, rather than having to engage with an industrialized construction supplier or collaborate with people early in the process, have this tool that helps them design for those components.
“Second to that, with the dynamic scheduling that we have, now the system can recommend and quantify the benefits of our industrialized construction and help with the integration.”
Based in Pleasanton, Calif., Slate Digital Assistant analyzes data and learns as it goes, to offer transparency in the building process, according to the company. Data sources include enterprise resource planning systems, emails, radio-frequency identification (RFIDs), 3D models and other construction-related information. Other sources include public information such as weather, labor figures and traffic; dark data locked in silos; and non-integrated systems within general contractor and subcontractor organizations.
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