Technology

IBM developing cloud-based data sharing platform

14 April 2021

IBM is leading the development of OpenBuilt, a cloud-based platform for data sharing.

OpenBuilt is designed to allow companies across the global built environment and construction industry to securely connect their current technology platforms and digital solutions to partners, suppliers or subcontractors in their supply chain via a single integration hub.

OpenBuilt aims to help improve communication and securely exchange data across the supply chain. Companies will then have access to the latest applications and services from technology providers to expand their digital platforms “without complex, bespoke software development”.

Working alongside IBM are open source solution provider Red Hat and data-sharing platform provider Cobuilder.

Also involved in the development are: Cemex; global merchants and manufacturers body, EDIN Network; Norwegian contractor and developer Backe; Milton Keynes-based international contractor Sol Services; and testing and certification provider Element.

Jon O’Donnell, managing partner of IBM Global Business Services EMEA, said: “Together with our partners we are creating OpenBuilt to empower the construction industry to break down its silos with intelligent workflows and play an active role in designing and driving its own transformation.

“Successful companies across the construction supply chain are coming together to embrace a digital future, harnessing the power of an open hybrid cloud approach and adopting new technologies to gain a real competitive advantage. We want to inspire other companies to join us and accelerate the march towards a truly digital construction industry.”

Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Consultancy and independent champion for modern methods of construction in homebuilding for the government, added: “In pursuing the broad goal of construction industry transformation, there is a critical need to break down the deep silos and fragmentation that exists in how we organise and operate design, manufacture, construction and operation processes. This is equally true in the emerging digitalisation challenge. 

“To create more strategic and scalable intelligent workflows, we need data and software to be part of a fully connected ecosystem. The concept of digital platforms is nothing new but if construction is ever going to realise the full potential of some of the technology solutions that are now proliferating and if those solutions are ever going to be given the chance to scale to maturity, then there is a need for market leadership in creating a unifying platform that can host these solutions and enables interoperability. 

“What IBM and partners are offering through OpenBuilt is the opportunity to act as a digital integrator at an international and industry wide level, gluing together what is becoming an increasingly fragmented digital market place for construction technology solutions. This is an important step forward which has great potential to make our industry more efficient.”