Easy-to-use, affordable AI project management platform

Easy-to-use, affordable AI project management platform

Construction has come a long way since the days of manual labour and hand tools. Today, technology is playing an increasingly important role in the construction industry, from the initial design stages to project management and execution. From drones and 3D printing to augmented reality (AR) and Int...

Construction has come a long way since the days of manual labour and hand tools. Today, technology is playing an increasingly important role in the construction industry, from the initial design stages to project management and execution. From drones and 3D printing to augmented reality (AR) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, technology is revolutionising the way we build. Harnessing the ever-increasing power of artificial intelligence (AI) is Cloobot, a project management tool focused on ease-of-use, a zero-learning curve and quick returns on investment. Tejasvin Srinivasan, CEO & Co-Founder, and Akshay Panse, Co-Founder & Global Revenue Head, Cloobot, tell us more… The ideation A problem solver at heart, Srinivasan believes in scalable effective solutions. When he visited the MIT Boston Media Labs, he noticed a common thread among all the technologies developed. “Even in the best labs in the world, there is sophisticated tech that solves problems but it's just sitting there collecting dust.” Srinivasan realised that while complex tech is needed for complex problems, “laymen, SMEs, and non-tech business users don’t need to understand this. For example, Google and WhatsApp are so popular because of zero-learning for the user but they are very sophisticated in the background.” This was the genesis for Cloobot. The construction industry was the company’s ideal segment to test this idea. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for this segment as every company or project has its way of working. “What we needed was a unique and personalised solution that is also scalable,” shares Srinivasan. “We are a customised solution provider that had the ball rolling,” adds Panse. “No product company wants to offer customisation. Typically, a service company charges more because they start from scratch every time. Because of the horizontal nature of the platform, we have been able to automate a workflow for almost the entire spectrum of the construction industry.” The zero-learning curve has been the key to Cloobot’s success. The end-users need not even learn English to be able to use the bot. Developed in an omnichannel manner, the same solution is available on different platforms such as MS Teams, WhatsApp, Slack, or wherever the user is. “The enterprise-grade engine stays the same,” Srinivasan reveals, “The reason we opted for omnichannel is that we did not want to ask the user to adopt a new behaviour.” Another edge for the company is its quick turnaround time. “We have been able to rollout a complete end-to-end workflow within a week,” says Srinivasan. “The cost is also affordable as the time spent is not much. This makes Cloobot almost five times more economical and 20 times more efficient than the alternatives.” “We have been able to offer flexibility in our software at a fraction of the cost,” adds Panse. “The instant RoI is in the ability to play with the software to configure the best solution.” An all-rounder Best described as a ‘contextual virtual assistant’, Cloobot starts with complete knowledge of all stakeholders and a context as to why a certain person is interacting with it. As Srinivasan explains, “Cloobot is a single touch point and can manage the end-to-end lifecycle of the employee complete with itineraries and bringing attention to any red flags in the workflow.” The conversational AI works across functions, even in labour management and HR systems, through the management of grievances, expense, attendance, learning and development. Interestingly, the making of the bot itself is quite simple. It is built on an inhouse low-code engine that consists of building blocks that can be put together to create any business process. Keeping it simple has allowed the company to offer quick turnarounds on solutions, often only in a matter of a few days depending on the needs of customers. For example, daily progress reporting (DPR), a key aspect of any site, is highly non-standard, each with its format. With Cloobot, a site engineer only needs to record the DPR on their device and higher-ups receive instant summaries on their preferred platform or a dashboard. What’s more, it can sift through the data in messages to create a detailed report. “Clients want to apply scalable solutions to their non-core applications such as DPR, which is not catered to by an ERP,” adds Panse. “Especially with ticketing, we have been able to offer transparency. Our trigger systems mark any overrun tickets in red, highlighting where it is stuck.” In terms of workflow, there is a person at each stage to fill in or access data. A quality engineer can observe a non-conformity (NC) onsite and enter it into the chatbot, which then asks the engineer a set of questions to understand the severity of the NC. Once filled, the ticket is sent to the relevant site engineer to resolve. The management is also able to review the number of NCs recorded and how long they have taken to resolve. As Srinivasan says, “WhatsApp is quite a popular platform in the construction industry. Much of the data is shared through the platform in the form of images, messages and documents. Cloobot gathers all the information and presents it in a structured manner through dashboards for real-time visibility. To avoid human error, the chatbot has a review mechanism where until the data entered has been verified, it is not put on the dashboard.” The AI edge The AI in Cloobot is mainly used to convert unstructured conversations into structured business processes. Taking it a step further, Cloobot is already prepared to utilise the power of ChatGPT, allowing it to create quick summaries, recommendations, itineraries, plans, comparisons, and more. When there is talk of AI, machine learning (ML) models are not far behind. And while these are available, they cannot directly be used by organisations. “Clients have come to us, asking, ‘If we take a picture, can the bot detect the problem?’”, shares Srinivasan. “They sometimes even have the solution for it, like the Google API, but they’re not able to use it effectively.” Cloobot acts as the corridor between these models and the business processes. On the horizon Even with ChatGPT opening up avenues of basic problem-solving and summarisation, AI still needs human interaction to function effectively. Even then, the responses depend on the competency of the person operating it. And so, Srinivasan reveals, “Cloobot is building features for a manager AI that will handle other AIs like GPT or natural language processing (NLP) AIs more effectively.” Cloobot is also looking to tap into the IoT platforms on hardware to provide a holistic solution that can start new workflows, create reports, onboard new sensors, and more. Further, the company is also working on auto-generating business value dashboards to get real-time and easy visibility on RoI. The company’s current client base includes companies like Pride Purple, GR Infraprojects, Sila Group of Companies, Sunteck Realty and SSA Architects. Apart from big-ticket players, it is working on a standard solution to bring more SMEs into the fold. Cloobot has recently acquired the construction management platform, Nesso. “While we were working on the PaaS (Platform as a Service) model, we had some clients come in asking for a standard solution,” says Panse. “Nesso has allowed us to cater to these clients. And the platform has an amazing document management solution. So, the integration has been a great synergy.” The company had an angel round of investment with EBMS, an ERP solutions company that was utilised in building the platform and client base. It has raised a cumulative Rs 8 million of angel funding in two tranches. “Thanks to that, we have grown into a positive cash flow,” shares Panse. “In the next step, we have been testing Cloobot across geographies.” Cloobot also has clients in Dubai, Oman and the UAE and is targeting Southeast Asian countries as well. What’s more, according to Panse, that with an app-based approach, the US is also a viable option for the company. - SNEHA IYER What about data security? Any AI function is data-driven. Cloobot, like any other AI, needs to collect data to update its functions to offer smooth operation. Often, the data is confidential and keeping it secure is vital. Akshay Panse, Co-Founder & Global Revenue Head, elaborates on the company’s data security. “We have enterprise-grade security and are hosted on Microsoft Azure, which has various cyber security measures in place. But in certain cases, if the client wishes to not maintain their data in our environment, we offer them private Cloud storage and Cloobot just interacts with that platform to function.”

Related Stories

Gold Stories