All posts by Tim Dwyer

Start Using Paperless Tickets TODAY For FREE

Start Using Paperless Tickets TODAY For FREE

April 1st, 2020, Stamford, Connecticut – In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sysdyne is stepping up their efforts to help our industry continue to work during this difficult time. We are offering FREE access to paperless tickets using our SysdyneView™ platform effective immediately . SysdyneView™ is part of the iStrada delivery management system with advanced dashboard. Go-paperless will help minimize the risk of COVID-19 by eliminating the handling of paper tickets.

This offer is available to ALL Sysdyne and Non-Sysdyne customers worldwide. It allows you to review and email paperless tickets quickly and easily from your mobile device. Contractors and DOT inspectors will have easy-access to the ticket information online. Your customer can accept or reject a load using the SysdyneView™ collaboration platform. *This offer is not a full version of SysdyneView™.

You will NOT be required to buy tablets or data plans for drivers in order to receive this offer. Implementation is fast and easy, and will be done online. Producers can be up and running within a day. Sysdyne will waive the one time setup fee from April 1 st to June 30 th on first come first serve basis. We will provide webinars and training videos to ensure proper usage and guarantee a successful experience. SysdyneView™ works on your existing mobile devices and tablets (Android and iOS).

In addition, SysdyneView™ provides an advanced mobile   dashboard  that tracks yardage ordered, delivered, and poured, along with detailed order information, in real-time!

As the first company to have developed paperless ticketing for the specific needs of the concrete industry, Sysdyne is committed to helping our industry navigate through these challenging times.

Please contact your regional Sysdyne representative for complete details by emailing eticketingpromotion@sysdynecorp.com or using our Live Chat located at the bottom of the page.

More Than Ever, Going Paperless Makes Sense

Going Paperless in Your Operations Makes Sense

It’s no secret that paper-based processes power construction services. Using emerging technology, companies are moving traditionally paper-based workflows to the cloud. This means everything from employee hour logs to ticketing, even payments can now be conducted online. Shifting workflows to the internet provides efficiency gains to field workers, dispatch and managers, as they have constant need to file, organize and manage documents. By moving to the cloud, paper management tasks can now be reduced – or in some cases, even eliminated.

Going paperless is now more important than ever before. With the popularity of mobile devices and cloud computing, companies have an unprecedented opportunity to provide employees and customers with access to documents anywhere, anytime. Here are eight reasons why you should consider moving away from paper, and embracing the cloud.

1. Automates tasks

Going paperless can help automate time-sensitive tasks, such as delivery management, time keeping and payroll reports. When tasks are automated, working on projects as well as tracking project needs becomes an easy duty.

2. Boosts morale

By automating tasks, a lot of time is saved for employees, and the quality of their work is improved. Instead of having to focus on the filing and management of documents, they can focus on doing more work in the field and doing more to tangible work to serve the mission of their company – the reasons why they joined in the first place.

3. Saves employee time

If you’re a dispatcher tasked with 60 trucks, that’s a lot of paper to manage. If all those documents are stored online, and accessible anywhere, anytime, you save a lot of time looking for misplaced files and collecting data.

4. Integrates related technologies

Going digital with your workflows means that you can start to integrate other services. Tools like iStrada and ConcreteGO can be integrated to give you a more efficient workflow. Document management is the core, and by integrating various solutions, you can gain a more complete view of your company and its needs.

5. Cuts costs

Moving to the cloud can help you with cost savings. Not having to print, mail or store paper can lead to significant cost savings. By not having to constantly be moving paper, employees are able to take on more responsibilities.

6. Empowers workers

By going digital, employees gain access to their most important documents, which can help them become more efficient and effective. With the cloud, information can automatically be synced – eliminating the need to input and collect data twice.

7. Extracts important data from documents

Documents hold essential information on services. By moving documents to the cloud, businesses can collect more data and information with better accuracy. They can use this data to help improve the quality of services – everything from how the customer is informed, to how services are distributed.

8. Supports green initiatives

By reducing the amount of paper utilized, you can reduce your company’s carbon footprint whilst cutting costs.

If You’re Not in the Cloud, You’re Falling Behind

If You’re Not in the Cloud, You’re Falling Behind

cloud

Why?

• It’s simple     • It’s secure     • It’s cost effective     • It’s mobile     • It’s future-proof

Cloud computing is the future of everything digital; Most everyone with a modern IT operation uses it. Construction can clearly benefit from the tech, and its rate of adoption is soaring. In 2012, a Sage survey found 16% of contractors felt cloud computing was important to their business. Five years later, Sage ran a similar survey and found that 85% of contractors had already implemented or were planning on implementing cloud solutions.

Why the rapid growth?

Construction is notorious for being one of the least digitized industries in the world. But, to be fair, the technology needed to truly take advantage of the industry’s complex workflows and challenging environments hadn’t become mainstream until recently.
Not until recently have developers made SaaS solutions to exploit the power and potential of cloud computing, mobile devices, and wireless internet for the construction industry. Hence, the explosion of contractors in the cloud.
Cloud computing is the foundation of construction’s digital revolution. It underpins all the most powerful software solutions, and truly enables the industry to take advantage of the latest tech. If you haven’t moved to the cloud, now is the best time to figure out how and why you should.

What is cloud computing?

Before the internet was insanely fast and everywhere, processing happened locally on your computer and the data was stored on your hard drive, meaning you were constantly limited by your hardware. If the computing power to run a program was not available, you had to upgrade your computer. If you ran out of space on your hard drive, you had to delete files or buy an external drive.
Once broadband internet came into the picture, everything changed. The large bandwidth of high-speed internet meant data could be transferred hundreds of times faster; it also meant that your devices were always online. These two features created enormous opportunity. With machines connected 24/7 and time constraints for transferring data minimized, you could now use servers to store and process data over the internet, eliminating the dependence on your physical hardware.
Cloud computing is essentially outsourcing your data processing and storage to more powerful machines. Not only can you do more with less resources, you can do it from anywhere you have an internet connection. The cloud removes hardware limitations, prevents data loss, and improves accessibility.

What are the benefits of cloud computing for construction?

benefits

There are numerous construction-specific benefits to cloud computing, some of the most popular are:

Powerful Data Processing

Processing data in the cloud is the only practical way to get the most powerful insights available to construction. For instance, when mixers enter a construction site they are entering a geofence with detailed GPS coordinates and metadata. To make use of these geofences they have to be stitched into an orthograph, something beyond the capabilities of a typical computer.

Connected Jobsites

Before the cloud, the only way to really check on the status of a project was to go visit it in person and see for yourself, a task that takes hours out of the day. SaaS platforms can offer you a real-time view into your jobsite from anywhere in the world.

Data Storage

Documenting projects is critical to meeting contractual obligations and covering your ass. With physical storage, your data is easily subject to loss, damage, or theft. It’s also inaccessible without the hardware. With cloud storage, your data is secure, unlimited, and accessible from anywhere.

Easy Sharing

Every construction project has a large number of stakeholders, and sharing data across all these parties is often exceedingly time consuming. Construction SaaS solutions make sharing simple by providing real-time communication and collaboration capabilities.

Are there drawbacks to cloud computing for construction?

balance

The advantages of cloud computing far outweigh any of the drawbacks, most of which are actually misconceptions:

Security

It’s understandable to feel like relinquishing physical control of your data makes it less secure, especially given some of the high-profile data breaches that have happened. However, these hacks typically stem from human errors, not system failures. Storing data in the cloud increases security by eliminating physical theft, loss, or destruction of your data.

Downtime

It’s rare, but even the best servers go down. Fortunately, it’s temporary, and the outages typically do not last very long. Given the huge upsides to cloud computing, most business are fine with taking this minor inconvenience.

Migrating Your Data

SaaS companies are aware that migrating your data can be a major headache. If this is one of your hesitations, you should also realize that eventually everyone in construction will be in the cloud. The sooner you do so, the better off you will be.

Cost

You can’t really call cloud solutions inexpensive, but they’re certainly much cheaper than maintaining the equivalent physical hardware. With Sysdyne, it will more than pay for itself in increased revenue and productivity.

Lack of Internet Access

One of construction’s biggest concerns about moving to a SaaS platform is what to do when you don’t have an internet connection. With the mobile solutions, Sysdyne has an answer to this problem with an offline mode that automatically uploads your data once you have internet. Additionally, as mobile networks continue expanding, areas without internet coverage are diminishing rapidly.

What’s the one reason you should adopt a cloud platform?

Cloud computing with Sysdyne offers numerous benefits, but if there’s one resounding reason to adopt a cloud platform, it’s that it covers your ass. Disputes are one of the biggest financial drains in the industry, and most of them arise because there isn’t enough evidence for a clear conclusion. When you adopt a SaaS platform that automatically stores and organizes your activity, disputes can become a thing of the past.

Link to original article

8 Reasons Why Technology is Buzzing About SaaS

8 Reasons Why Technology is Buzzing About SaaS

Software as a Service, commonly referred to as SaaS, is a newer term creating excitement in the realm of technology. To illustrate, below are 8 reasons why SaaS is buzzworthy for concrete producers and their daily operations.

SaaS is web-based

Concrete producers who choose Sysdyne can run their systems without purchasing expensive hardware and software; The only equipment needed is internet and access to a web browser to access it.

SaaS is cost-effective

Sysdyne’s systems operate via subscription for the service.

SaaS has been around for a while

The concept has actually been around for a few decades. In fact, the idea of a system in which resources are shared dates back to the early 1960’s – Companies such as Salesforce began promoting business models for applications through a web-based subscription service in the 1990’s.

SaaS can be customized

As SaaS has grown in popularity, it has emerged from a “one size fits all” format to one that can be tweaked to conform with unique needs. This is a huge advantage in concrete technology as producers have varying factors to consider in their processes.

Data ownership is maintained

Sysdyne’s contracts are prewritten to include language guaranteeing client ownership of data.

Security provisions

As with any system that holds personal and private information, data security is a concern. Fortunately, Sysdyne is able to invest in security systems to protect customer data.

Operating system compatibility

Sysdyne’s systems are compatible with any device with internet connection and a web browser.

Advanced opportunities at minimal cost

By eliminating the need for experienced technical staff to run and maintain expensive on-premise hardware and software, companies using Sysdyne’s solutions can channel more capital into activities directly related to growing their business.

Link to original article

Defining “Cloud Services” and “Cloud Computing”

“Cloud Computing” versus “Cloud Services”

When most people talk about “Cloud Computing”, they usually refer to online delivery and consumption models for business and consumer services.  These services include IT services – like software-as-a-service (SaaS) and storage or server capacity as a service – but also many, many “non-IT” business and consumer services.

The vast majority of these online services are not, in the mind of the user, IT or “computing” at all – they are about shopping, banking, selling, collaborating, communicating, being entertained, etc.  In other words, most people using these services are not “computing”, they are living! These customers are not explicitly buying “Cloud Computing”, but the “Cloud Services” that are enabled by Cloud Computing environments; Cloud Computing is hidden underneath the business or consumer service.  And so, in our definitional framework, we distinguish between:

Cloud Services: Consumer and Business products, services and solutions that are delivered and consumed in real-time over the Internet

Cloud Computing: an emerging IT development, deployment and delivery model, enabling real-time delivery of products, services and solutions over the Internet (i.e., enabling Cloud Services)

Essentially, a Cloud Service is any business or consumer service that is delivered and consumed over the Internet in real-time (that’s the 5 second definition; more important detail below).  Cloud Computing, an important, but much narrower term, is the IT environment – encompassing all elements of the full “stack” of IT and network products (and supporting services) – that enables the development, delivery and consumption of Cloud Services.

Any discussion of Cloud computing must start with a discussion of what the attributes of Cloud services are, and – consequently – what attributes Cloud Computing environments need to enable.

What Are “Cloud Services”? An Eight-Point Checklist

What Are “Cloud Services”? An Eight-Point Checklist
I recently received a reader comment that suggested that Cloud Computing and Cloud Services are just a rehash of the same old stuff:

“One thing 30 years in the IT industry has taught me is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Another is that the only memory we seem to access is short-term. Yet another is that techno-marketers rely on that, so they can put labels like ‘revolutionary’ and ‘innovative’ on platforms, products and services that are mere re-inventions of the wheel and often poor copies at that. A good example is all the buzz about ‘Cloud Computing’”

This reader and other skeptics cite prior industry models and offerings, like service bureaus, mainframes, virtualization, application service providers (ASPs), et al., as having already delivered much that is promised through the Cloud model.  But these perspectives miss the critical differences that define the new and substantial benefits Cloud Services offer.

Surveying the wide range of Cloud offerings, here are eight attributes that, in our view, define the new generation of commercial Cloud Services, and provide the basis for those benefits:

 

  • Offsite, provided by third-party provider – In the Cloud” execution, which for most practical purposes means offsite (really, location-agnostic).  Specifying “third-party provider” simply highlights that the services we’re focused on in our analysis are commercial Cloud Services.  [CIOs could implement the Cloud model within their own organization, for use by their own employees, something referred to as an “enterprise Cloud”.  And, indeed, we expect many will, as the next step in their transition to a next-generation, “Dynamic IT” services delivery model.  For those who want to include “in-house” Cloud Services delivery in their market view, they can simply eliminate the “third-party provider” attribute.]
  • Accessed via the Internet – standards-based, universal network access.  This does not preclude service providers offering security or quality-of-service value-added options.
  • Minimal/no IT skills to “implement” – online, simplified specification of services requirements; need is eliminated for lengthy implementation services for on-premise systems that support the service (the service provider offloads this).
  • Provisioning – self-service requesting, near real-time deployment, dynamic & fine-grained scaling.
  • Pricing – fine-grained & usage-based pricing capability.  (As a convenience to some customers, providers may mask this pricing granularity with long-term, fixed price agreements.)
  • User Interface – browser & successors.  Browsers will evolve, for a wider variety of devices, and with richer capabilities.  But the basic aspects of a browser ? intuitive/easy-to-use, standards-based, application/service-independent, multi-platform ? remain the attributes of Cloud Services UIs.
  • System Interface – Web services APIs, providing a standards-based framework for accessing and integrating with and among Cloud Services (and web services-based/enabled in-house systems).  In our view, this is a critically important aspect of Cloud Services: that they provide well-defined, programmatic access for users, partners and others who want to leverage the Cloud Service within a broader solution context.
  • Shared resources/common versions – the shared asset approach improves supplier and customer economics; there is some ability to customize “around” the shared services, via configuration options within the service, workflow/process management among services, et al.

These attributes, together, make business and consumer Cloud Services easier and cheaper – and often better – to consume than through traditional delivery modes. These attributes lower costs (for customers and suppliers), speed and simplify access, speed and fine-tune provisioning (in line with true demand/usage), greatly increase the number and variety of available services (thanks to lower development and deployment costs, and standards), and improve the potential to integrate.

What, Then, Is “Cloud Computing”?

Since Cloud Computing is the IT foundation for Cloud Services, it consists of a growing list of technologies and IT offerings that enable Cloud Services, as defined by the attributes listed above.  A partial list includes:

  • Infrastructure systems (e.g., servers, storage, networks) that can economically scale to very high volumes, and preferably do so in a granular fashion.
  • Application software that provides web-based UIs, web services APIs, multi-tenant architecture and a rich variety of configuration options.
  • Application development and deployment software that supports the development, integration or runtime execution of Cloud application software.
  • System and application management software that supports rapid self-service provisioning and configuration, usage monitoring, et al.
  • IP Networks that connect end users to “the Cloud” and the infrastructure components of the Cloud to each other, leveraging network-embedded technologies for quality-of-service, security, and optimized application delivery.

For all of the above, pricing agreements for Cloud Service providers that scale technology costs with their Cloud Services volumes/revenues.

Of course, in addition to supporting the unique IT requirements of Cloud Services, Cloud Computing offerings must also support the perennial “must haves” of enterprise IT environments, including:  manageability, reliability, availability, security and price-competitiveness.  Further, because a growing number of enterprise customers will be running a portfolio of both on premise and Cloud-sourced systems, there will be increasing demand for IT offerings that span both on premise and Cloud-based systems.

Link to original article

A Chronicle of Cloud Computing

A Chronicle of Cloud Computing

EARLY 1960’s

The computer scientist John McCarthy, came up with concept of timesharing, and enabling Organization to simultaneously use an expensive mainframe. This computing is described as a significant contribution to the development of the Internet, and a pioneer of Cloud computing.

IN 1969

The idea of an “Intergalactic Computer Network” or “Galactic Network” (a computer networking concept similar to today’s Internet) was introduced by J.C.R. Licklider, who was responsible for enabling the development of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). His vision was for everyone on the globe to be interconnected and being able to access programs and data at any site, from anywhere.

IN 1970

Using virtualization software like VMware. It become possible to run more than one Operating System simultaneously in an isolated environment. It was possible to run a completely different Computer (virtual machine) inside a different Operating System.

IN 1997

The first known definition of the term “Cloud Computing” seems to be by Prof. Ramnath Chellappa in Dallas in 1997 – “A computing paradigm where the boundaries of computing will be determined by economic rationale rather than technical limits alone.”

IN 1999

The arrival of Salesforce.com in 1999 pioneered the concept of delivering enterprise applications via simple website. The services firm covered the way for both specialist and mainstream software firms to deliver applications over the Internet.

IN 2003

The first public release of Xen, which creates a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) also known as a hypervisor, a software system that allows the execution of multiple virtual guest operating systems simultaneously on a single machine.

IN 2006

In 2006, Amazon expanded its cloud services. First was its Elastic Compute cloud (EC2), which allowed people to access computers and run their own applications on them, all on the cloud. Then they brought out Simple Storage Service (S3). This introduced the pay-as-you-go model to both users and the industry as a whole, and it has basically become standard practice now.

IN 2013

The Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market totaled £78bn, up 18.5 per cent on 2012, with IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) the fastest growing market service.

IN 2014

In 2014, global business spending for infrastructure and services related to the cloud will reach an estimated £103.8bn, up 20% from the amount spent in 2013 (Constellation Research).

Vision of Cloud Computing

We have seen how far Cloud computing has progressed in the short time since its initiation. Now let’s have a look on what may become of Cloud computing technology in the future.

Following are few forecasts of what we might expect in the coming future of Cloud computing:

  • Cloud computing will become even more prominent in the coming years with rapid, continued growth of major global cloud data centers.
  • 50% of all IT will be in the cloud within the next 5 – 10 years.
  • There will be a greater use of cloud technology as a whole across emerging markets such as in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as they continue to develop and progress. The uptake will be particularly evident in Asia where there is already a trend to stay on the edge of the latest technology.
  • Data for companies and personal use will be available everywhere in standardized formats, allowing us to easily consume and interact with one another at an even greater level.
  • The security and reliability of cloud computing will continue to evolve, ensuring that data will be even more secure with numerous techniques employed.
  • We will not even consider ‘cloud’ as the key technology, instead we will focus on the services and applications that it enables.
  • Combining cloud technology with the Internet of Things (IOT), Wearables and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) will become the norm in personal and working lives, so much so that the presence of cloud technology as an enabler will be overlooked. An estimated 50% of organizations will require employees to use their own devices by 2017.
  • The total global cloud computing spend will reach $241 Billion in 2020.

The future of the cloud is far from certain. The rapid pace at which technology has changed in the last 5 years makes the next 5 near impossible to predict. However, it must be said that ultimately the cloud is growing exponentially and will continue to do so for some time to come.

Link to original article

Businesses Moving to the Cloud

The Cloud’s Benefit to Business

Businesses of all sizes, industries, and geographies are turning to cloud services. Cloud adoption is accelerating faster than previously anticipated, leading Forrester to recently revise its 2011 forecast of the public cloud market size upward by 20 percent. The predictions are the fast growth of workloads placed in the cloud and an increased percentage of the total IT budget going toward cloud computing.

According to a study by the Cloud Security Alliance, 33% of organizations have a “full steam ahead” attitude toward cloud services and 86% of companies spend at least part of their IT budget on cloud services. IT leaders at 79% of companies receive regular requests from end users each month to buy more cloud applications with file sharing and collaboration, communication, social media, and content sharing topping the list of the most-requested cloud services.

According to a study conducted by market research company Vanson Bourne, there are numerous factors driving cloud adoption. The report “The Business Impact of the Cloud” compiles insights from interviews of 460 senior decision-makers within the finance functions of various enterprises. The report recapped 11 drivers of cloud adoption along with measurable improvements the companies have achieved by deploying cloud services to enhance productivity, lower cost, and improve time to market.

While not in IT positions, the majority of financial executives are actively involved in their organizations’ discussions about cloud strategy. Their perception of cloud computing includes benefits to the business as a whole. Companies that adopted cloud services experienced a 20.66% average improvement in time to market, 18.80% average increase in process efficiency, and 15.07% reduction in IT spending. Together, these benefits led to a 19.63% increase in company growth.

The Vanson Bourne report identified eleven benefits of cloud computing that organizations are experiencing today, leading to quantifiable improvements in their businesses:

1. Fresh Software

With SaaS, the latest versions of the applications needed to run the business are made available to all customers as soon as they’re released. Immediate upgrades put new features and functionality into workers’ hands to make them more productive. What’s more, software enhancements are typically released quite frequently. This is in contrast to home grown or purchased software that might have major new releases only once a year or so and take significant time to roll out.

2. Do more with less

With cloud computing, companies can reduce the size of their own data centers — or eliminate their data center footprint altogether. The reduction of the numbers of servers, the software cost, and the number of staff can significantly reduce IT costs without impacting an organization’s IT capabilities.

3. Flexible costs

The costs of cloud computing are much more flexible than traditional methods. Companies only need to commission – and thus only pay for – server and infrastructure capacity as and when it is needed. More capacity can be provisioned for peak times and then de-provisioned when no longer needed. Traditional computing requires buying capacity sufficient for peak times and allowing it to sit idle the rest of the time.

4. Always-on availability

Most cloud providers are extremely reliable in providing their services, with many maintaining 99.99% uptime. The connection is always on and as long as workers have an Internet connection, they can get to the applications they need from practically anywhere. Some applications even work without the Internet.

5. Improved mobility

Data and applications are available to employees no matter where they are in the world. Workers can take their work anywhere via smart phones and tablets — working in the field, at a plant, etc.

6. Improved collaboration

Cloud applications improve collaboration by allowing scattered people to meet virtually and easily share information in real time and via shared storage. This capability can reduce time-to-market and improve product development and customer service.

7. Cloud computing is more cost effective

Because companies don’t have to purchase equipment and build out and operate a data center, they don’t have to spend significant money on hardware, facilities, utilities and other aspects of operations. With traditional computing, a company can spend millions before it gets any value from its investment in the data center.

8. Expenses can be quickly reduced

During times of recession or business cut-backs, cloud computing offers a flexible cost structure, thereby limiting exposure.

9. Flexible capacity

Cloud is the flexible facility that can be turned up, down or off depending upon circumstances. For example, a sales promotion might be wildly popular, and capacity can be added quickly to avoid crashing servers and losing sales. When the sale is over, capacity can shrink to reduce costs.

10. Facilitate M&A activity

Cloud computing accommodates faster changes so that two companies can become one much faster and more efficiently. Traditional computing might require years of migrating applications and decommissioning data centers before two companies are running on the same IT stack.

11. Less environmental impact

With fewer data centers worldwide and more efficient operations, we are collectively having less of an impact on the environment. Companies who use shared resources improve their ‘green’ credentials.

 

*link to original article

Industries Destined for Technological Transformation

Industries Destined for Technological Transformation

We’ve heard tales of technological transformation for a while, and those stories are moving into their next chapters. The International Data Corporation suggests that 60% of global GDP will come from digital organizations by 2022. These players are benefiting from big data, powerful analytics, artificial intelligence, and other advances to drive growth. Check out some of the industries destined for technological disruption.

Every business that’s interested in rising to the top of the corporate food chain will need some technology included in the business – Technology is a necessity for any business to survive.
Four of the five most noteworthy organizations in the world are tech companies, and it’s a category everyone is insisting to dip into.
The technology category is easily seen in WeWork’s 2019 IPO filing, which used some form of the word “tech” to describe the company 110 times. Clearly, leadership was pushing to show investors that it’s much more than a real estate company and should be shown as a player in the tech world, too.

So Is Everybody Truly a Techie?

Until this point, the effects of technology have been far-reaching, and that’s not scheduled to stop anytime soon. The difference is that now, traditional industries are about to be disrupted, too.

Five Industries Destined for Technological Disruption:

1. Healthcare

If you think everything is fine in the healthcare space, you probably haven’t been to the doctor recently or reviewed your medical bills. The industry is plagued by inefficiencies and issues. For instance, manual processes that should be automated, like billing and scheduling, require the use of an ancient Egyptian development known as paper when done by hand while it should be streamlined and optimized with tech.
On top of that, booking an appointment with your doctor can sometimes take months, and when your time slot finally rolls around, you’ll be in the waiting room for four hours watching HGTV reruns and thumbing through old magazines. The problems lie in the sheer complexity of the healthcare system and the fact that only a few players make the rules. Healthcare has historically stood in the way of innovation, but companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google are entering the fray and changing that narrative. You can expect block chain medical records, on-demand care, and new drug development all driven by AI in the years to come.

2. Construction

The multitrillion-dollar world of construction hasn’t changed much in the past century.
By and large, builders still rely on outdated materials and methods. This will be changing seeing as an investment in construction tech startups grew by 324% between 2017 and 2018. New potential technologies are shaking things up.
Self-healing and energy-generating building materials like solar shingles and AI-powered software that can instantly calculate the most efficient schedules for construction will soon become a regular part of operations.

3. Real Estate

Real estate is the largest industry in the U.S., contributing $3.5 trillion to the GDP, it is also kind of stuck in the dark ages. It relies on real estate agents, title companies, pen and paper, and numerous service providers for every transaction. Like in many other industries, however, that’s changing.
Zillow has emerged to provide a wealth of information to prospective homebuyers and even uses a feature called 3D Home to let users conduct a virtual walkthrough of a house.
Fancy tech features in the industry extend just beyond viewing homes. For example, Built is a company that digitizes what has long been a manual loan management process for banks. As a result, the role of real estate agents is likely to become less in-demand as users are empowered to buy and sell on their own with the power of technology.

4. State and Local Government

Unbeknownst to many people, state and local governments encompass the second largest industry in the U.S. Government is turning to technology to become more effective and efficient. San Francisco developed a chatbot called PAIGE that helps government departments facilitate and smooth out what used to be a complex IT procurement process.
An egg-shaped robot security guard patrols a gas station on a crime-ridden corner to help local police. As Internet of Things devices take hold, we can expect to see even more government investment in this technology. Technology has the potential to make the governments functions and processes much stronger on the local, state and even at a national level.

5. Finance and Insurance

Insurance and finance companies are some of the oldest businesses in the world — and in many cases, it shows. In the finance industry, cash was always king until the advent of credit and debit cards. Now, mobile payments are on their way to someday reigning supreme. Some countries like Sweden and China are already moving toward being cashless societies. Banks and cash will disappear, and mobile payments authorized by facial recognition will likely become the norm.
When it comes to insurance, major players are being forced to play the tech game, too. State Farm recently announced a new version of its Drive Safe & Save mobile app. Great, another way to charge us more insurance money. The app analyzes data collected by sensors and Bluetooth from smartphones that have the app installed. Tech-driven personal information is already determining rates, and that information will become even more common and accurate with time.

Technology has been changing the way companies create value for a long time. Technology still has changes that have yet to sweep across every industry. However, disruption is headed for sectors like construction, healthcare, and real estate. It’s on par with the modernization of transportation and hospitality that we saw with the rise of Uber and Airbnb.
As investors look to be a part of the next big wave of innovation, rapid developments, and more innovations will leave slow-moving organizations behind if they don’t get on board, too.

Juan’s Ready Mix

Producer Profile

Juan’s Ready Mix
2016 revenue: $475 million
Locations: 85 plants
EBITDA: 10.4%

The expense of a ticket

Juan’s Ready Mix was concerned about the costs associated with IT support for the quote-to-cash process. The CFO reviewed the spending on IT support and made a list of the process:

 

• Hardware
– servers
– data center
– installation
– configuration
– switches
– routers
– security fees
– energy (power and cooling)
– maintenance and annual support
• Software
– Systems for dispatch
– DB
– security
– mix management
– quality control
– annual support
– other
• Connectivity
– Systems for dispatch
– installation
– configuration
– support fee
– T1
– trunk
– modem
– router
– wiring
– internet line between server locations and remote sites

• Servers, switches, routers, security fees

– installation
– configuration
– maintenance
– annual support
• Labor
– Employee support, maintenance and configuration of software and hardware
– Contractors for configuration, training, support and maintenance
– Training expenses

 

The CFO recognized that any equipment or software that was 10 years or older represented a tangible risk of failure, and planned to re-purchase these items. He calculated a reasonable, ongoing amortization amount for purchasing new equipment and software. In 2017, the producer delivered 602,410 loads at an all-in cost of $2,620,000. The IT “tax” on operations totaled $4.35 per ticket or 0.55% of revenue.

The cost of the Cloud

The CFO created a technology focus group to scour the marketplace for SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings to improve the quote-to-cash process. Given the extreme age and technical obsolescence of the core dispatch software, it was difficult to find suitable “plug-in” alternatives for functional areas such as CRM. However, several component packages were identified as well as a promising quote-to-cash offering.
The SaaS offerings were found to have several key features, first of which was Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The pricing model was based on usage and thus scaled with the seasonal volume. Further, there was no need for servers, data centers, support software, or the hoard of staff required for support. Finally, and somewhat unexpectedly, data exchange and security were much better since the SaaS offerings were all based on modern tools.
As a result of the focus group’s findings, Juan’s Ready Mix began migrating away from outdated, client-server tools to modern, Cloud-based systems. The economics justified the change; but more importantly, the modern tools enabled Juan’s Ready Mix to improve business processes to reduce costs for the producer and its customers. Customers loved being able to see daily activity on mobile phones, salesmen could quote on tablets, and so much more.

Economic impact

Juan’s Ready Mix has started the process of switching from client-server based software to SaaS. The first target was an isolated group of five plants and included a complete transition to SaaS. The all-in costs of the SaaS, prior to staff training, amounted to $2.50 per ticket. This equated to a savings of $1.85, with the (invaluable) bonus of empowering better business processes. The CFO plans to complete the company-wide transition in 2019, anticipating a $1,115,000 savings, or 2.3% EBITDA improvement.

Some Concrete History

The Age of Concrete

Al-Khazneh, aka. The Treasury Monument in Petra

Proven to last thousands of years, concrete is currently one of the most popular building materials. While it’s been well studied with the Ancient Romans, they were not the first to use concrete. The Romans (~300 BC) may have used concrete in larger amounts and more regularly, but were certainly not the first.

Archaeological evidence of concrete use dates back to 5600 BC in Europe, 3000 BC in China and 2500 BC in Egypt. The oldest structures Archaeologists have found were built by the Nabataea traders using a type of concrete material to develop a small empire in the regions of southern Syria and northern Jordan around 6500 BC. They created concrete floors, fire pits, housing structures, and underground cisterns.