My Digital Life: John Ford, Galliford Try

This week on My Digital Life, Galliford Try group BIM and digital delivery lead John Ford highlights how VR office technology will allow water cooler chats to continue even as people remain working from home and reveals his future in Hollywood.

What new built environment digital innovation that you’ve seen recently really excites you?

I have two on my watch list currently, one being a geeky interest, the other in hope of extending my life and lowering blood pressure. My geeky interest is in some of the VR office technology being developed. Covid has seen a shift in many people in the industry wanting to retain some of the office/home balance without the long commutes. By enabling that virtual (VR/AR enabled) chat round the old water cooler or collaborating around a common idea, using nothing more than a reasonably priced device and various software solutions is showing a lot of promising adoption evidence.

The other is the international collaboration effort driven by BuildingSMART International to improve the original COBie concept and create something better, easier and more defined than what is currently just a national US standard that the UK tried to force fit for its own purposes. I really do have hopes that this will resolve the current COBie headache one day in the UK!

What single thing would help accelerate construction’s digital adoption?

Grounded thinking, looking at the challenges of today and not tomorrow! I feel especially in the UK, we do run before we walk far too often and have done so far too much, and this damages the culture we have been trying to sway towards the direction of change. I believe we should stop, take a minute, identify the simple issues we still haven’t resolved in the last 10 years and just throw everything at that like the interoperability challenges, many of which we have created in the past 10 years from this fast-paced approach.

Who do you follow on social media about BIM and digital construction – and why?

It’s hard to follow someone for too long as one disagreement leads to a digital WWIII! But I quite like following people like Emma Hooper (@liccle_em) who are in the thick of it on projects and yet find time to give their practical and shared experiences to the industry. And I like to follow knowledge hubs as the stuff they present should be in every school as its very inspiring!

What was the last app you downloaded and why?

Powerdirector. I am pushing more video-based training in my organisation and I struggle to delegate without having an understanding of the process and capabilities. So I downloaded this and have just done some videos that could see me working in Hollywood next year…

What’s the tech bane of your life?

Mobiles…. I can’t escape nor can I survive without one. And it really is quite sad!

Mac or PC/iOS or Android?

Apple is the next SkyNet, so no thank you! Android for anything mobile, Windows-PC for laptops.

Do you have any smart home features or other digital gadgets?

My home is a clean energy hub. 5kW solar system, wind turbine, smart electric car charging that charges only when it’s sunny and a smart CCTV that alerts me every time a squirrel trespasses… Oh and the odd smart switch and shower, so yeah, a few.

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