What's your name and what position do you hold?
Shemas Eivers, chairman of Client Solutions, a leading multinational professional IT services company.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
Currently, I am focused on brand and company awareness in the marketplace and also the development of an effective board with a functioning non-executive team, and getting all people new to the director role up to speed.
What is your professional background?
I’m a civil engineer by profession with a masters degree. I found software while still in college and transitioned on leaving to starting an early stage software company back in the mid 1980s.
Tell me about yourself away from work?
Cars, cars, cars… and a little gardening! I’ve been an angel investor for the last seven years and am co-founder/owner of the National Software Centre in Cork and co-founder of [email protected]
Tell us something very few people know about you?
I’m very effective with an axe or chainsaw!
What challenges do you see for the construction sector?
I am not operating in the sector and hence my views are somewhat limited, but I believe it faces the same challenge as many others, which is growth - and management of same - while still maintaining tight control of costs and margins. Resource retention, training and acquisition are the same issues facing the software sector and there is, in my opinion, a growing morass of regulation and the development of a coterie of companies whose prime function is to feed off the industry.
Specifically, what do you think are the key obstacles for innovation and technology adoption in the sector?
Outside of resource management, but a factor which helps, is the adoption by companies of new building methods, and the sector will have to convert users and purchasers to accept this type of building. This does not necessarily mean straw bale houses but simply factory-built housing or units. China is one of the best examples of rapid building.
Adoption of new technology is generally slow in the industry and there are many new materials and technologies which can be introduced depending on the sector (commercial, housing, infrastructure, etc.) Examples are self-healing concrete (which extends life) and new materials to replace glass.
This also extends to field force automation where communication can move to instant or faster adaptation and agreement rather than delayed meetings with oodles of emails. KN Group, for example, has worked hard to change the way it works to use technology in all aspects to eliminate any delay or source of argument (photos, portable devices, task and job management are updated immediately).
Where would you like to see the industry in 10 years’ time?
1) A completely integrated technology solution when the 'what by whom and where' is live for a site and control of next actions is governed by the project plan. There are huge inefficiencies in any large site and proper monitoring at the detail level will show what can be done. 20 years ago the idea of detailed tracking of a player in a match would have seemed daft or impossible. There would even have been a sense of: “Why would you do that? What impact would it have?”
2) Vastly improved use of mobility solutions with robust equipment such as wearable devices
3) A vast increase in 3D volumetric construction. However, architects need to be collaborative in achieving this
The CIF conference takes place at Croke Park on October 2nd. See www.cifconference.ie for more details.