Moorsel, Belgium — December 1, 2021. Balloon Inc., an engineering startup specializing in analytics software for the construction industry, announced that it won a VLAIO research grant to help construction companies build more efficiently, plan better, and drastically reduce failure costs. The grant was awarded within the imec.icon BOB project, which brings together industrial partners and academic researchers to accelerate the digitization of the modern construction site. To this end,Balloon, Inc is collaborating with BIM service provider D-Studio, construction companies Willemen Groep NV and Dethier and with the imec research groups IDLab (UAntwerpen/UGent) and IPI (UGent).
Modern construction companies are increasingly looking for better ways to bridge the gap between the planning phase and the construction process. Traditionally, Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been a tool to facilitate the building process since it offers a fully interactive 3D model of a construction site. However, the divide between the virtual model and construction reality is still vast. The new BoB Project(BIM on Building site) aims to close the gap by letting construction companies link real progress to virtual construction models by using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) on edge to pinpoint construction errors, delays, and more.
AICON, a product of Balloon Inc., is an AI & ML solution with smart cameras that analyze and learn what happens on a construction site. From personnel moving around over machinery and trucks operating, to the flow of goods and materials. Algorithms automatically detect activity in assigned regions of interest to provide construction companies with up-to-date information. Is concrete pouring ahead of schedule? Is the digging phase going according to plan? Which parts of the build are lagging? Cutting-edge algorithms analyze, learn, and automatically alert construction companies. The result is better planning, less waste, and more efficient and cost-effective construction.
Django Liénart, Balloon Inc. Business Developer, says: “Everything up to the building phase of a project has mostly been digitalized. Now it’s time for the construction site to catch up. With AI and ML, building companies get access to unprecedented data. How long it takes to pour the concrete, how many excavator hours were spent on a dig, how long a crane was operational on-site, and so much more.”
The BoB project will provide room to combine smart data from the construction site and overlay it with a virtual model so construction companies can build better. By comparing real and virtual progress live at every stage of the build, companies can adjust planning on the fly, keep budget overruns in check, and reduce failure costs. The new insights will be made available in an online platform to drive unprecedented growth in construction efficiency with real and live on-site data. Says Wouter Devriendt, Balloon Inc. CEO: “The new grant makes it possible for all partners to combine research, modeling, analytics, and apply this in a real-world construction environment. This will enable us to accelerate innovation in the construction industry. There’s no doubt in my mind we’re about to transform the way we will build in the future.”
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About Balloon, Inc.
Balloon Inc. provides analytics for the construction industry by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to uncover smart insight about the building process. It combines integrated camera hardware and proprietary software algorithms to help construction companies build better, faster, and more efficiently. Balloon Inc. is based in Moorsel, Belgium, and Boston, Massachusetts.