the Site Visit

From Concept to Cornerstone: The Survipod Impact on Construction Accuracy with James Reville, Founder and CEO at Survipod Engineering Solutions Ltd

April 03, 2024 Andrew Hansen, James Faulkner, Christian Hamm
From Concept to Cornerstone: The Survipod Impact on Construction Accuracy with James Reville, Founder and CEO at Survipod Engineering Solutions Ltd
the Site Visit
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the Site Visit
From Concept to Cornerstone: The Survipod Impact on Construction Accuracy with James Reville, Founder and CEO at Survipod Engineering Solutions Ltd
Apr 03, 2024
Andrew Hansen, James Faulkner, Christian Hamm

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Discover how a simple concept revolutionized an entire industry as we chat with James Reville, the mastermind behind Survipod. They specialize in advanced surveying equipment, focusing on enhancing building safety, stability, and accuracy, and are known globally by surveyors in the USA, Canada, UK and beyond,  We'll unpack the story of Survipod, a name now synonymous with precision and reliability in construction sites worldwide. From its inception and the clever strategy behind its catchy name, to the technical marvels of its different models, we promise a captivating look at a product that has become essential in projects that demand the utmost accuracy in construction industry.

Venture with us behind the scenes of a success story rarely told, the kind that arises from a single prototype and blossoms into a globally recognized brand. James opens up about the initial skepticism from industry peers and how strategic branding, a strong LinkedIn presence, and word-of-mouth propelled Survipod to its status as a household name in surveying equipment. Witness the transformation of a patented idea into a robust product line, and learn how it's contributing to safer, more efficient construction sites.

Finally, prepare to be inspired as we explore the future intersections of surveying, robotics, and construction. We'll share insights into the potential for drones and off-site construction to address the shortage of skilled tradespeople and revolutionize the industry. All the while, the conversation underscores the unchanging value of accurate, ground-based equipment—a reminder that in the face of technological advancements, products like Survipod remain irreplaceable for providing a reliable reference point on job sites.

PODCAST INFO:
the Site Visit Website: https://www.sitemaxsystems.com/podcast
the Site Visit on Buzzsprout: https://thesitevisit.buzzsprout.com/269424
the Site Visit on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-site-visit/id1456494446
the Site Visit on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5cp4qJE5ExZmO3EwldN1HH

FOLLOW ALONG:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thesitevisit
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesitevisit

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Discover how a simple concept revolutionized an entire industry as we chat with James Reville, the mastermind behind Survipod. They specialize in advanced surveying equipment, focusing on enhancing building safety, stability, and accuracy, and are known globally by surveyors in the USA, Canada, UK and beyond,  We'll unpack the story of Survipod, a name now synonymous with precision and reliability in construction sites worldwide. From its inception and the clever strategy behind its catchy name, to the technical marvels of its different models, we promise a captivating look at a product that has become essential in projects that demand the utmost accuracy in construction industry.

Venture with us behind the scenes of a success story rarely told, the kind that arises from a single prototype and blossoms into a globally recognized brand. James opens up about the initial skepticism from industry peers and how strategic branding, a strong LinkedIn presence, and word-of-mouth propelled Survipod to its status as a household name in surveying equipment. Witness the transformation of a patented idea into a robust product line, and learn how it's contributing to safer, more efficient construction sites.

Finally, prepare to be inspired as we explore the future intersections of surveying, robotics, and construction. We'll share insights into the potential for drones and off-site construction to address the shortage of skilled tradespeople and revolutionize the industry. All the while, the conversation underscores the unchanging value of accurate, ground-based equipment—a reminder that in the face of technological advancements, products like Survipod remain irreplaceable for providing a reliable reference point on job sites.

PODCAST INFO:
the Site Visit Website: https://www.sitemaxsystems.com/podcast
the Site Visit on Buzzsprout: https://thesitevisit.buzzsprout.com/269424
the Site Visit on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-site-visit/id1456494446
the Site Visit on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5cp4qJE5ExZmO3EwldN1HH

FOLLOW ALONG:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thesitevisit
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesitevisit

Speaker 1:

James hello, how are you doing? What time is it? You're in Ireland, right?

Speaker 2:

I'm in Ireland. Yeah, it's 5 o'clock in the evening, 5 pm.

Speaker 1:

No, that's pretty friendly, that's all right. So you're taking a little time into your evening. So thank you very much for joining us.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's no problem. It's something that I'm always willing to talk about. Our products, I can see.

Speaker 1:

You're sporting the heavy embroidered jacket there. I can see you've got a lot. It's a lot of thread there. There is a lot of thread there.

Speaker 2:

It's probably a bit overkill.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Site. Visit Podcast. Leadership and perspective from construction With your hostames.

Speaker 2:

Balkner business as usual, as it has been for so long now that it goes back to what we were talking about before and hitting the reset button. You know you read all the books. You read the evening, you read scaling up, you read good to great. You know I could go on. We've got to a place where we found the secret serum.

Speaker 1:

We found the secret serum. We found the secret potion. We can get the workers in. We know where to get them. Once I was on the job site for a while and actually we had a semester concrete and I ordered like a pre-finished patio. Oh fun, did you say, chillers? Today I was down at Dallas and a guy just hit me up on LinkedIn out of the blue and said he was driving from Oklahoma to Dallas to meet with me because he heard the Fabric Connect platform on your guys' podcast. I'm a crusher from the bottom and we celebrate these values every single day. Let's get down to it. So it's Servipod. Right, that's how I pronounce it Servipod.

Speaker 2:

Servipod yeah, servipod, servipod, yeah, servipod, servipod. Yeah, it's just a made up word that linked to surveying and individual or pod. So that's the word it came up with to link to the product.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm always fascinated how people come up with with names. Being an ex-branding guy, I was always thinking like, okay, I mean you get to that point where you're like, okay, I've got this thing, so what am I going to call this thing. And then, um, I mean, do you the pod part? Is the pod? Is that? Is that? Is that referring to the fact that it's a point of reference? It?

Speaker 2:

is that it's a post. It's similar to a tripod.

Speaker 1:

Oh, there you go, there you go, oh, yeah, so you've got a tripod and this is.

Speaker 2:

Originally it was called a monopod, but I changed it to surveypod and that's surveypod is surveying and pod to do with surveying. So that's why that's where I came up with the name surveypod. It's something that our our patent attorney's advised to get, something that links and is catchy to what you're trying to sell. So that's that's where it came from.

Speaker 1:

That's cool. It's so weird. The minute that you take the word try off pod, you suddenly go to AirPods and that's where the mind goes to Apple's products, like right away. So it's kind of weird, but that's cool. So that's actually a super relative word, pod Typically there's words that are uh, when you're putting names together, it's called clipping and then the branding world and naming worlds.

Speaker 1:

You basically clip two words and then you blend them and then that's a blended word. So that's uh, yeah, so it's a blended. So that's, that's really cool. So, um, as I, as we were talking earlier in the podcast here, I watched your um surveying with Robert. I think it is podcast. It was really really extensive. There's two guys um that were interviewing you about all the technical sides of survey pod and and everything it does.

Speaker 1:

And, uh, it was fascinating for me because I got a, I got a chance to sort of um think of myself on the job site. I got a chance to sort of think of myself on the job site. You know, it's typically a lot of the jobs that we see are you know warehousing that's going up, or you know tilt up warehousing, and that has to be very, very specific in terms of you know those walls coming up and you know where exactly everything is, down to the micrometer and then also multi-level on each slab going up. So it was kind of interesting listening. I was traveling yesterday. I was on a ferry on the way from Vancouver Island. I was like, okay, I've got this podcast, I've got to educate myself on all this stuff because it's quite technical, and so I was thinking of layout and also a different podcast that we had on with the SuperDroids guys, do you know who they are? They have the little robot that goes on and marks everything I know of a product called SitePro.

Speaker 2:

It's a similar thing. So it marks the slab. So you have a clean slab and then it'll mark out where everything goes, but you still have to have an EDM or a piece of surveying equipment set up to tell it where to go Exactly.

Speaker 1:

So this is the cool thing. So you basically. So let's just talk. You have a number of products I've seen. You've got a right angle version. You have a bolt-on version. You've got one that gets set into the concrete. They're in these sleeves. So let's just, for those people who are maybe not experienced in doing layout and how this works, maybe just explain for the layman who might have a referral for you. Hey, I heard this podcast. They got this great product. How would someone else sell this as a new piece of information that they know of a product that they could talk about at a meeting or something? Give us the pitch.

Speaker 2:

Well, I suppose it's used as an alternative platform to a tripod, where a tripod can't be set up. If you have a concrete frame construction, usually there's a form of deck at the very top to form the next level, and usually there's nowhere to set up a tripod. Some people set up on the deck, which is not very accurate and vibrates and moves while other operatives are working in the area. So the survey pod is a platform that provides a stable and accurate platform for layout. So you cast the sleeve into a concrete wall or column and then you drop the survey pod down into it and then you place your instrument, your surveying equipment, on top of it and it provides a stable platform to layout. But then also your instrument won't get knocked over, which tends to happen. It would, yeah, and usually it's either by the crane or it's by another operative working in the area.

Speaker 2:

The main benefit of using the survey bot products it will prevent that from happening. But then also it gives you a platform where you don't have a platform to lay out from. So that's the main selling points against your standard tripod. But then you also have serving equipment that can cost up to $50,000, $60,000 sitting on top, robotic instruments sitting on top of your tripod and it can be very precarious. So I suppose if it's bolted down or if it's put down into a sleeve, it's not going to move, it's not going to fall over, it's not going to. There's no insurance claims, there's no downtime. So that's the main benefits of using the products over the standard tripod.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so this makes perfect sense. Now. I mean, obviously I watch your videos, I already know what it does, but to everyone else, so that's kind of cool. So I mean, what percentage of GCs? And then obviously their sub-trades who come on, who bring on their own equipment as well. I mean, are they all just using tripods these days? Or I mean the conversion rate into your product.

Speaker 2:

It varies. So in Europe it tends to be a contractor that comes in and marks out the deck themselves, and they'll mark out for the whole project.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Whereas it tends to be slightly different in Canada and the US. They tend to have separate trades, so you'd have plumbing, they'll have their own layout guys, electrical will have their layout guys, the former contractor will have their layout guys. So there could be three or four different layout guys on top of a deck at any one time. So it's slightly different in the UK and Ireland but, yeah, you tend to have a general contractor as well that may be up on the deck to check everything as well, so you could have four or five different uh layout guys on top of the deck at any one time trying to mark out and check and all their different services that are going through the slab.

Speaker 1:

Wow. So yeah, I mean that. Um, that sounds like a recipe for disaster, obviously. So I mean, the great thing I think about your product is from a XY axis, you pretty much have a source of truth, starting point that never changes throughout the project. No is who is setting up at that time, so you don't have to worry about, you know, tripods being, you know, just a little bit off or this. So when sub trades come and interact, you see them um sort of lining up or do they have to schedule using that thing? I mean, obviously there's timing where they have to sort of overlap on each other no, it really.

Speaker 2:

what you do is, no matter how many times or how often you have to set up, overlap on each other. No, really, what you do is, no matter how many times or how often you have to set up, the initial setup will always, you will always check back to your starting point. So you do a thing called a resection and it's done by triangulation. So you check three minimum, three known points, known coordinates, and once you triangulate back to the point that you're set up in and then you can mark out the deck. As long as you do that all the way up through the structure, it'll work very well. The structure will be plumbing itself and everything will be marked out correctly, right?

Speaker 1:

So with your product specifically, I thought one of the products that was actually pretty cool was the 90 degree, because that's on a post. Yes, yeah, that's the offset version?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that was pretty cool. So let's just get down to how the hell did you even I did listen to the story, so maybe you could repeat it a little bit. It was on the other podcast, but you know sort of you know what you were. You said you were in manufacturing before.

Speaker 2:

I was working for a concrete contractor in London and we were working on a high-rise structure. And we're working on a high-rise structure and what tends to happen? As I said, there's normally nowhere to set up on a deck, so the lift core and the stair core tend to move higher or faster than the deck level, correct? Yeah, so there was nowhere for me to set up the tripod. So I had an idea for a while and this was this was 2010, 2011. I had an idea for a while to use something like this and to to get it going.

Speaker 2:

So I, I, um, I patented it initially and and got one manufactured, and and and put it out to some. Uh, I tried it myself, obviously, and and was very happy with it and put it out to some. Uh, I traded myself, obviously, and and was very happy with it and put it out to 10 different contractors in the london area. They all bought and then it led on from there, kind of I manufactured more increasingly, uh, as, as the demand was there. So it was initially it was kind of wore them out. Um, when people used it, they were happy with it and they just bought more and more and it was. It was really, uh, it really spread in the uk, um, and then it went from there to most parts of europe, uh, australia, um, ireland, obviously, where I live, um, and Canada and the US. I've been over to the US a good few times to different resellers that I have over there, and it's really spread mostly by LinkedIn, I suppose, and word of mouth. That's how I found you.

Speaker 1:

So the first iteration of the product you have was that the bolt-in, or the other in the concrete form, a sleeve.

Speaker 2:

The first one was the sleeve version. So there was a safety system on site at the time that utilized the sleeve and I thought to myself I could use that sleeve for surveying. So I manufactured a product that fits snugly down into the sleeve. So it slides down into it and it wedges itself in there so it can't move. And that's where the sleeve. So it slides down into it and it wedges itself in there so it can't move. And that's where the sleeve version was the initial version and then led on to.

Speaker 2:

There's five versions now for different applications and can be used in. If you use them in 80% or 90% of your applications, they won't always work. A tripod will be suitable for some applications, but if you use them in 80% or 90% of your applications, they won't always work. A tripod will be suitable for some applications, but if you use them in 80% or 90% of your applications, the chances of having you're reducing the risk of having an accident or inclement weather causing an accident hugely and so you're not down time and losing time and trying to lose work time, I suppose, from having a damaged instrument.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. Yeah, so the um, so the, when you, when you, when you first put that thing in there and you utilize the safety sleeve, did you have the name for this thing yet? Or was it just like a prototype? Or were people like, what is he doing with this thing?

Speaker 2:

They were, yeah, they couldn't actually believe what I was doing, but then they saw what I was doing pretty quickly and they said, oh, that looks like a good idea.

Speaker 2:

So I called it the mono leg initially initially and then it was called the Monopod and then it came to the final point where I called it Servipod and branded it Servipod, and I was happy with Servipod I mentioned earlier about. The patent attorney advised me that it needs to sound similar to the product and how it's used, and a brand he mentioned was Flymo, which is Flymo.

Speaker 1:

I remember the Flymo. We used to have one. It's like a hovercraft thing. Right, there's a hovercraft lawnmower that cut your toes off if you went the wrong way.

Speaker 2:

That's the one, yeah. So Flymo he mentioned and I thought that's a very good name. It is yeah, brand name, it is yeah, and that's where I suppose I went from to think of a good name for the product. And then everything is branded off that so Servipod Bolfix, servipod Bolfix90, and then the offset Servipod and offset Servipod Bolfix, so they're all branded.

Speaker 1:

Servipod. So are you hoping one day that Servipod becomes an eponym?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I actually looked into see could I get it added to the Oxford Dictionary.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly yeah, you'd be the band-aid of the surveying equipment industry, so that's pretty cool. So what did it take? For as you went through the different iterations of products, you started off. Different iterations of products you started off. So, once the sleeve worked in utilizing someone else's sleeve, and you basically had and you made it out of like lightweight steel or aluminum or no steel, it's mild steel powder coated. Right, okay, but powder coated on this, also on the side that slips into the sleeve.

Speaker 2:

Yes, it's powder-coated right the way down Interesting. Okay, the best thing I was supposed to do was use release agent on the bottom, or grease?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Yeah, because I would imagine the powder-coated would eventually erode there and the tolerance that you have, you obviously had to like how many mils is power cutting in order for it to slip in there? Perfectly, it's only microns.

Speaker 2:

It's like if you it wedges itself in at a point. So because it's tapered at the end.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I see. So eventually it's just bigger towards the top.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so what you do is there's a handlebars on it, so you use the palm of your hand to release the survey pod from the way it's supposed, and it works very well and it's very simple. But if you grease it or if you use release agent on it, it will work and it's very easy to take out.

Speaker 1:

Have you had any threat letters from the tripod companies? Have you?

Speaker 2:

had any threat letters from the tripod companies. No, I suppose it's a different way of looking at it. It's a different approach, and I've seen other people that have thought it's a good idea and they'd like to make their own, I suppose, but you'd always be up against that. What I'm trying to develop is a brand that is a solution for surveyors worldwide, and every surveyor could benefit by using the SurveyPod products, right?

Speaker 1:

Have you come across somebody who's tried to copy and you've had to enforce that? Yeah a couple of times From other countries or not, in your own backyard, hopefully.

Speaker 2:

There was one, actually in California, yeah, and he developed something different, slightly different, and it doesn't work very well, which is good. So people have used it and they're happy with it. So that's, I suppose that's one thing. And the thing about my products they are what they are. They do exactly what you're expecting them to do and you can get on with your job. It's not overtaught, but they work and they're durable, and that's what the big selling points for the products.

Speaker 1:

Do you think that, to some degree, when subtrades come onto a site and they see the survey pod there, they go okay, well, this is a well-run site. Is it? Is it? Is it a marker of of? Uh, that, um, I mean it's, it's, it's not expensive. I mean this these things are like five, five hundred pounds, right, 551 pounds or something I mean so canadian dollars, what Is it? 700, 800 bucks kind of thing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's it. Yeah, but I suppose you have to look at it and say, for me, I want to give value for money, I want to give a durable product and something that's going to last and they are that. But I don't want, when you compare it to a tripod price, I don't want to be over-egging it on the price. I think it's a good price and it's a good product and that's where I want to be and continue to be. I don't want to overcharge for something I know the product that sits on top of it, as I said, it could be up to $50,000 or $60,000.

Speaker 2:

And that's a robotic instrument most of the time that's sitting on top. So it's one operator operating the machine and usually they step away from the instrument to lay out the deck. So usually the instrument is precarious and sitting on a tripod usually and if that's the case it's in danger of being knocked over, so this prevents it. And if that's the case, it's in danger of being knocked over, so this prevents it. And if you look around the UK, most construction sites will most major construction sites will have survey button on site, which is good, you know. It'll help prevent insurance costs. It's growing, as I said in the US and Canada, and more and more are getting out there. So, as well as it's word of mouth, it's publicity on LinkedIn, it's podcasts, it's everything. But it's getting out there and people are happy with the product and that's the main thing, that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

So in terms of distribution, I mean, how did you get that going? So you have resellers in the United States?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I have four or five different companies that have approached me initially to see could they sell the products. And then I usually have a lot of companies approach me about reselling the products and sometimes it comes to fruition and others it doesn't. But they approach me usually and they we agree on terms and that's it and they sell the products. Same in Canada, same in most countries, like the UK has the most resellers, but I'm growing in other countries, so so it's an exciting time, I suppose, for getting the product out there and for me to grow the business.

Speaker 1:

So what is the most out of the lineup? I mean, obviously some are newer than others. Obviously is the sleeve the oldest of the product.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the original SurveyPod is the oldest and that's the sleeve version. The SurveyPod Bolt Fix is the next oldest, I suppose, and is the most popular. Oh, the bolt-in one.

Speaker 1:

okay, the straight bolt fix is the most popular, so they basically hilti that into the slab and then that's that.

Speaker 2:

You either hilti it or you use a thunderbolt which is a screw, tread into the slab and it fixes it within a few minutes. You have it set up and your rear instrument set up, ready to go, and safely. I suppose A lot of times now before a slab is poured they use a scanner on it, so they might have a digital scanner. So the scanner will. Again, it's another expensive piece of equipment it can be up to a hundred thousand dollars sitting on top of a tripod. So it's another thing that can go wrong. And if you have it set up in this, it's only a few minutes setting it up and you're ready to go and secure and safe.

Speaker 1:

One simple app so your people can just get back to building. Sitemax is for you. And also, if you've been in a large construction software platform and you're just finding you're not using it all and maybe it's costing you too much money and you need to be more agile in your business decisions, then SiteMax is also a choice for you. So if you're looking for a change book, a demo at sitemaxcloud and let one of their fantastic people be there to help you through your software needs, again that is sitemaxcloud. Now let's get back to the episode.

Speaker 1:

It's so crazy how construction just it's just so ripe for innovation and just the smallest ways that create huge leaps. And so have you. Do you have like survey pod parties? Do you have people who are like, wow, this is a? Do you? Do you host people and they're like, god, this little idea that James had has turned into this international thing. I mean, do you have you had any like? You have a lot of advocates for the brand and you have a lot of people who are like, hey, you got to use that thing and love what you're doing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I do. I get a lot of it on LinkedIn, I suppose. In trade shows I get a lot of good feedback Trade shows in Germany Recently I wasn't there, but there was a show in Las Vegas for Trimble last year and there was seemingly a number of survey pods at it. That's pretty cool and I only found out afterwards that that was the case, which is great to hear. You only find out some things after it happens, and a lot of the time people send me photographs of different situations, different scenarios, to help promote the products, which is great, and other than that, I suppose, keep putting it out there so people know it's there and that's it and know that it is available and it is easily. That's it, and know that it is available and it is easily. Like if I send from Ireland to Canada or Ireland to the US, it's only five to seven working days to get with FedEx to get it delivered and you said it's about 25 pounds.

Speaker 1:

Weight, yeah, 25 pounds, or I remember the guys in the video were like that's? Is he going to talk kilograms? I hope he doesn't talk kilograms, 11.2 kilograms. I think you said the challenge has been for you in the construction world of getting this out there, or has it just been totally organic and it's, you know, sort of exceeded your expectations in terms of how you wanted it to go?

Speaker 2:

I suppose the main challenge is getting to know really what works. And you know, I've spent, we've spent a lot of money on different marketing tools and magazines and different things and and spent a lot of money on them and they haven't worked. And and then you find out that maybe online marketing works a lot better, and some of it's free and it works, and some of it's google ads or whatever, and it doesn't work at all for me. But then maybe it's the way I marketed. I'm not sure, but, um, for me it's. It tends to be, uh, word of mouth and and linkedin works very well, so it's it. You do learn a lot, uh, when I come from an engineering background, but I'm marketing now and selling and I'm the accountant for my company.

Speaker 2:

You're doing a bit of everything when you have your own company, so it's a steep learning curve.

Speaker 1:

So I would just think from a it's reasonably simple and straightforward, I would say from a business, because it's the product itself. As long as you just rinse and repeat in terms of the manufacturing, you got your six different skews and I think, what are the extender things, those rings, what are those?

Speaker 2:

That's for a different type of sleeve. So there is another safety product similar to that other one I mentioned earlier. There's another, but it's a different type sleeve. So this attachment, you put it up on the original survey pod and bolt it onto it and then it drops down into that different sleeve and it works.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so it's an adapter. Basically it's an adapter. Yeah, oh nice, Look at you, go Nice, you got a universal adapter.

Speaker 2:

Jeez, smart that's good, keep looking at ideas and we're always looking at new ideas, but it's whether they come to fruition. We're always innovating and new ways of improving.

Speaker 1:

So that's that's the way it is and you have that's the way you have to go so, um, I have the super droids guys um, on the podcast, I think in in april I think. So, yeah, I'm definitely going to talk to them about your stuff. Uh, you should get to know those guys because obviously you know the the point of truth. Um, so, where do you see, um, uh, robotics and uh, your product and maybe dovetailing into that and even even more of a of a, you know, symbiotic relationship, like what are your pillow thoughts as you go down and sleep at night? You're like, okay, where's this going to be going?

Speaker 2:

I think long, long term. Uh, you'd always have a requirement for surveying products on the ground. So what I mean by that is I know you have drones, you have your robotic equipment that's marking concrete slabs, but you'll always have a requirement for stationary equipment on the ground. That requires a stable platform. So I think, going forward, my products have a longevity in them. I think there will always have a longevity in them. I think there will always be a need for them. So that's my view anyway. I think there is products with GPS that are used to map large areas of countryside and they're dotted around the countryside, and my products are used for that as well. So there's lots of different applications the products are being used for and I think, going forward, I think there will still be a demand for that. I don't think technology in the air will advance and be accurate enough as accurate as having something on the ground. I don't think.

Speaker 1:

That's very interesting. So even back when I started SightMax I remember this is 10 years ago I was thinking of at some point there will be a dome on the job site where that will release and a drone will go up, you know, kind of like Batman kind of thing, kind of opens up and superhero stuff and uh, it's funny, this is happening. It's uh. You know, I envisioned it years ago and uh, and, here it is, and and and it seemed it would seem natural, for I mean the, the, the sort of ethos of your product, that value proposition, is that one consistent spot on the job site. That is the point of truth 0, 0, 0, x, y, always consistent.

Speaker 2:

There is that. So a lot of large projects would have a survey pod dotted, so you might have if it's a large project, you might have eight or ten survey pods dotted around the project to use as control for the duration of the project, right on projects, whether it's the ball fix or it's the sleeve version, but it controls the project throughout the build, for layout and for surveying. So I can see what you're saying on the drones. I think that is something that is going to get bigger and bigger. I think off-site construction is going to get bigger and bigger. I think off-site construction is going to get bigger because of lack of qualified trades. It's happening in every country where there's not enough good quality and young people going into trades, and so you're going to have to have some kind of a mechanical or robotic system to manufacture for construction and have less work to do on sites.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think that's the way. That's the way it's going to go on, and I think I also looked at the 3d printing, which is building a structure, printing the structure, so so and with concrete, and I think that's going to be a big thing into the future as well. I think that's a cheaper way to build. I think it's going to be something that's it's going to be strong in the next 10 to 15 years. I think it's going to get very big yeah.

Speaker 1:

So I was always thinking of thinking as well about um, is there a technical part of the? Do you know I beacons are yeah, I beacons for for safety.

Speaker 1:

Uh, no, like, uh, I beacons, um, they're basically um bluetooth they. They last, the battery lasts for a long time. They're basically an iBeacon. It creates a network, essentially a network zero point. So an iBeacon. So let's say they use them. It's like a near field communication type of thing. So you basically walk up to it and an iBeacon basically says to your Bluetooth hey, do you want to connect to this device? So it's low-powered, it doesn't need, and the batteries last for a long time. They last for like a year and change. They were using them for concerts at one point. So you would basically walk up to a venue and then it would say, hey, do you want to check in your tickets, that kind of thing. So ib, and they had them at airports etc.

Speaker 1:

So I'm just wondering if there is a technical element to as technology, as you said, like 3d printing, robotics, um, you know, aside from the, the um, um, the safety side of things, when you say safety, as in equipment, safety, not knocking over a tripod, take that aside for a second, because obviously that's a major value proposition but just being the solid structure point, regardless if it's multiple points or not on a job site, that can be that technical zero point for lots of different things. I mean, you are essentially the Trojan horse of the source of truth. For points on the job site that are strong enough, don't move and they are a consistent basis for zero, zero information. So from a network point of view. So what an iBeacon can do is it can also be a triangulation point for knowing network strength. So basically, you know how far a mobile device is away from that central point.

Speaker 1:

So when you start to think of the value proposition of there being these you can call them waypoints that never move, your whole value proposition is, it's strong and stays and it's. You know what I mean. So when you start adding like little, like the top of your, like your platform on the top, where you would put the equipment that can always have a thin disc in between that, that you can do lots of stuff at the top, there that could have that, there that could have that, that could have that, um, I beacon in it which you can have an app layer to that which does a whole bunch of different stuff. So I think you have a huge opportunity with this product, um, from a technology point of view, moving forward, um, so good.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, no, I see the future Fully familiar.

Speaker 2:

I wasn't fully familiar with iBeacon, but it sounds very interesting and could have an application. Yeah, definitely.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

With my products.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so it's pretty cool that you've done this. I mean, it's one of those things where you just start off with you know, essentially, if you can, if your product can own that little half a square foot real estate yeah, everywhere in like in different places on a job, so if you can just own that and a whole bunch of stuff happens within that, so you own the how tall is the survey pod? Like four or five feet kind of thing, four and a half feet, right. So I mean you basically you own the six inch by six inch, square by four and a half feet piece of real estate. The question is, how do you maximize efficiencies, revenue and everything from that real estate that you own? Yeah, pretty cool.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Good thinking.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, good thinking. Thanks, that sounds good. So just in terms of how long have you been selling in the US? Were you at World of Concrete as well in Las Vegas? Did you come for that big trade show? Were you at World of Concrete as well in Las Vegas Did?

Speaker 2:

you come for that big trade show?

Speaker 2:

No, and I've always. I'd love to go. I haven't done it yet, but I've been selling in the US since about 2018. Yeah, and it's grown every year. So, again, it's only small. It's only small. I'm only in america and are in the us, but it's grown all the time, so it's a good thing. Um, and I don't have to go over there very often. So the products are fairly self-explanatory and they're and they work, they work and they're durable. So that's what sells the products and and you know what really sells it? I suppose is, is, is a, an endorsement from, from a user, and that really sells it. You know. And to say that I suppose these products we can get them. They're in ireland, but we can get them or are there in ireland. We can, we can purchase from a company in in Ireland and they'll have them within five days, which is great and customers like that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's amazing. So one thing, other thing to consider. But so that cylinder, that the survey pod, is like it's hollow right. It is yeah, yeah, Okay. Well, I think you should fill that thing up with something. How about batteries? It's a rechargeable battery area where you can plug in USB. I mean, you got so much shit you could do in that thing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Hello, it's all good, buddy, you got that real estate. I know, I know that little piece of real estate. It's amazing and you have those so typically on a job site. Let's say you've got a 30-story tower. How many survey pods are they going through?

Speaker 2:

Or sleeves. So on a tower you'd normally have one or two survey pods, so there's no need for any more than that. Depends on the trade. So so there's no need for any more than that. It depends on the trade. So if it's in the US and you have four or five different trades working on a deck, then you'll have four or five survey pods on that block and that will do for the duration and it will do for many projects. You can reuse them and bring them to the next one and the next one. They're very durable if you look after them, reuse them and bring them to the next one and the next one. They're very durable if you look after them. But it's something that I suppose it's something that will last for many years.

Speaker 1:

The products so just the ones that you cast into the concrete, those are obviously the sleeves go and you just pull the super pods out, and those are typically on every floor. Or obviously the sleeves go and you just pull the survey pods out. Yeah, okay, yeah, and those are typically on every floor.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it depends on how many setups you need or you're required to lay out the structure. So sometimes they might get away with two setups, so that's two sleeves a floor. Other times it might take three, so you might use two to three sleeves per floor on a typical floor plate. Yeah, that's the way it works, and some people get away with one, but for me I think I'd always use you'd always have to have some backup, so usually you'd have two to three.

Speaker 1:

So what is the application for the for the 90 degree one? So just explain, like how that would be better than a bolt under the ground or the sleeve, like it's just a different application different application.

Speaker 2:

You use it on railway, on bridges, on railway for our drone construction. You use it on Steel structures. It's used on many different applications. Usually not sometimes used on high-rise it's bolted to a lift shaft and then from there they control the leveling of the concrete and the layout of the deck from the lift shaft. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, it's used in many different ways as well, but it's it's a different, different, slightly different applications.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so typically when you see a high rise um, are they using the 90 degree and putting it on the elevator because obviously before they do the slab into the elevator shaft already poured and then they got to go to the next. Yeah so that's it, yes so.

Speaker 2:

So usually, sometimes, what they do is they'll bolt a short bolt fix sorry about bolt fix to the top of the core, yeah, and then they'll use that to check the lift shaft as it rises okay, cool. And then they might have a 90 degree bolted onto the core at a lower level to mark out, to lay out the structure, or they'll have a sleeve version in the columns to mark out the structure. So there is most jobs will have different versions on the job to build the structure.

Speaker 1:

Cool. Yeah, it's pretty exciting. James the second James you and I are a great name, by the way. Were you named second James? You and I are great name, by the way, were you named after James Bond, like I was.

Speaker 2:

I'd say so, yeah, nice, no, no, the way it is in Ireland. You're, you're named after your uncle, or that's just what. It is nice. Your uncle had a had a couple of uncles James, james, on both sides.

Speaker 1:

So that's the way it was.

Speaker 2:

What city are you in in Ireland? Well, it's County Wexford. Wexford is on the bottom right-hand corner of the island.

Speaker 1:

Sounds very English, Wexford.

Speaker 2:

Wexford, how do you spell it? How do you spell it? People wouldn't agree with that. W-e-x-f-o-r-d. All right, yes, all right. Some people can't. Some people find it difficult to pronounce it. They say rexford and every kind of pronunciation.

Speaker 1:

So this is our rapid fire section of the podcast. So what do you do that other people would think is insane?

Speaker 2:

I spend an excessive amount of time on wrapping the products to ensure that they're safe and arrive with the customer in a good, exceptional condition. So I'll spend an hour wrapping a product to make sure it's right to go with my courier to be delivered to the customer, because I want it to arrive pristine, and that just ensures that it does. Most people think I'm mad doing that, but that's what I do. I just want the product to arrive in good and new, exceptional condition.

Speaker 1:

So that's what I do. I think your customers appreciate it. Yeah, hopefully. What would you be doing if you weren't doing Servipod? Do you have any other?

Speaker 2:

passions Construction management I'd definitely be on site. I'd work in construction. I'd be on site. Definitely, I love it. The difficulty with construction is that in Ireland it's a small country, so if I was living where I live, I'd have a two-hour commute to my job site. Most of the most of construction work are large construction workers in Dublin, which is a large city, so, um, and there is there's construction work around the country, but most of the time you would have to travel two hours from where you live, so, um, that's the main obstacle for me with construction in Ireland. But yeah, I love construction. If I wasn't doing this, I'd definitely be working in construction. Nice, cool.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so do you have a kind of a I don't want to say funny, but something entertaining that you story that you have from the job site related to SurveyPod, Like maybe when you first put it on there? Do you have any stories that we might find amusing?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I was sort of prepared for something else in this one, but I was thinking maybe I've often seen the products being used as something else other than for surveying. So I've seen people use them to bend reinforcement. I've seen people use them to beat reinforcement down. I've seen them used in many different ways on construction sites that they're not supposed to be used for lifting other elements on site. It's just when you see these things happen, you just have to trade in disbelief and think how do you actually operate or how do you do anything on a construction site if you come to a site like that and think you can use things like that? But I've seen the products used in all kinds of manner and not the way they should be. So that's the funny one from it from the products anyway.

Speaker 1:

That is pretty bizarre, I think. So you said you had something else prepared for this question. Why don't you share that as well?

Speaker 2:

Well, it's just a project that one of the last ones I worked on in the uk um, it was a project that, uh, every it was concrete structure as well, so every column on the structure on each floor was facing in a different direction or was moving at a different angle to the to where I was sitting.

Speaker 2:

So it starts off in a position and it ends up by the time it reaches the next floor it's in a different position again. So every column was at a different angle on the structure and, um, uh, I suppose that was the most challenging project I worked on. We had to come up with a frame to support that column, formwork at the correct angle to keep it in the correct position, and I suppose that's part of innovation. But we had to design a frame to support that formwork and concrete that worked for that project. And that's the thing about projects you have something new in every job. But this particular one had different angled columns all the way up and it was 14 floors of columns and the glass followed the angles of the columns. So the glass is all different directions, went in all different directions as well. So it's very interesting and most challenging, I suppose, project I've worked on.

Speaker 1:

That sounds pretty. I've seen a couple of those buildings around Vancouver and you're like, oh my God, how did they make that happen? All right, james. Well, this has been very informative. I really enjoyed this. We're advocates of your product here, so if there's anything we can do to help you and we'll chat about you over and over. That's kind of cool. So you got a friend in Canada here, so your website is-. Thank you very much, james. Your website is surveypodcom, wwwsurveypodcom, wwwservipodcom. Yeah, and you're on LinkedIn and yeah, you're all good. Well, that does it for another episode of the Site Visit. Thank you for listening. Be sure to stay connected with us by following our social accounts on Instagram and YouTube. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter at sitemaxsystemscom slash, the site visit, where you'll get industry insights, pro tips and everything you need to know about the site visit podcast and Sitemax, the job site and construction management tool of choice for thousands of contractors in North America and beyond. Sitemax is also the engine that powers this podcast. All right, let's get back to building.

SurveyPod
The Servipod Success Story
Business Innovation and Future Technology
Construction and Innovation in Ireland