Interview with Dr. Raymond Levitt, PlanGrid Construction Summit Speaker
Construction has been notorious for vertical, horizontal and geographical fragmentation for the past century. While many predict the influx of digital technology will rapidly integrate the whole industry, Dr. Raymond Levitt, Kumagai Professor of Engineering at Stanford University and an Operating Partner in Blackhorn Ventures, believes it’s not as simple as it seems. He states, “Organizational structure is unlikely to change that much, even with AI and robotics technologies.”
Dr. Levitt is no newcomer to the construction industry. As an industry veteran, he has firsthand experience in design and construction of marine structures, in addition to co-founding three AEC software companies, Design Power, Vité and Rackwise. He has seen firsthand past success and failure attempts at supply chain re-integration, as well as has shared his wealth of knowledge by consulting for 30+ Fortune 500 companies. He is now an Operating Partner in Blackhorn Ventures.
While Dr. Levitt firmly believes that the industry’s capital and organizational structures will not change significantly any time soon, he believes that evolving hardware, infrastructure and software technologies now enable a new approach to designing, integrating, delivering and paying for construction software tools that can vastly improve communication and coordination in construction projects.
This June at the PlanGrid Construction Summit, Dr. Levitt will share more of his thoughts on construction industry fragmentation, as well as his observations and insight from his experience in the industry, in his session “Build Better Together: Coping with Industry Fragmentation.”
In anticipation of the PlanGrid Construction Summit from June 10-11 in San Francisco, we’ll be featuring several short interviews with our speakers leading up to the event. Dr. Levitt is our first spotlight speaker in our series and shares a few of his thoughts and experiences, below.
Why do you work in construction?
My father was a structural engineer, and he took me out on construction sites almost from the time I could walk. It was obvious that he got huge satisfaction from building projects that change the landscape of the city, and I absorbed this enthusiasm from him.
What do you love about the construction industry?
You build “monuments to yourself” all over the place.
You can point them out to your children and grandchildren – I built this, and I built that — you and the other 500 people who helped to build it. No other industry that I know of offers this kind of high-level job satisfaction.
What’s the main way technology has changed the way you work?
The availability of smart mobile devices, low-cost IOT sensors, broadband everywhere even through cellular networks and SaaS, subscription-based software tools are transforming the industry. Existing and unfolding trends in low-cost, intuitive software tools on mobile devices will get rid of a lot of the burdensome paperwork, making the industry even more attractive for both field and home office workers in the future.
What’s the most important topic you hope to cover in your PlanGrid Construction Summit session?
In my session, I want to explain why the construction industry is structured the way it is, and why its fundamental capital and organizational structure is unlikely to change that much, even with AI and robotics technologies rapidly displacing many jobs in the overall economy. I will speculate about the trajectory of software solutions over the next decade.
Register for PlanGrid’s Construction Summit Today
Early Bird pricing of $199 ends on April 15! Register today for the PlanGrid Construction Summit to hear from Dr. Levitt, Steve Young and other movers and shakers in the construction industry.