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Company Updates:
Glider Connect 2023 – A day of innovation, collaboration and industry insights

Glider Connect | 28 November 2023 | Birmingham

A year of growth

Nick Hutchinson opened Glider Connect 2023. He provided a summary of the Glider journey since he founded the company in 2016, and reflected on the highlights to date. The last 12 months have contributed significantly to the company’s success. With new clients wins and a seven-figure investment to accelerate growth.

Transforming the built environment

Nick then handed over to the master of ceremonies and keynote speaker, Henry Fenby-Taylor. Henry is an industry visionary. His illustrious career includes serving as the former Head of Information Management at the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB). He has a passion for implementing digital processes that drive transformative change in the built environment. This was apparent during his keynote address, where he shared his perspective on the future of the digital built environment.

Looking ahead to the future

The audience then shared their thoughts on this topic in an interactive session. Delegates were keen to see the impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will have on improving building performance. One delegate turned to ChatGPT for the answer! This promoted the importance of interoperability, a greater focus on security and privacy and how AI and ML will aid the analysis, simulation and predictive modelling in construction projects.

The roadmap to innovation

Next up to speak was Glider’s Head of Product, John Adams. John provided an update on Glider’s software platform, gliderbim® and the developments users can expect to see in the future. This included a demo of the new functionality from Luke Pibworth, who is the Product Owner for gliderbim®. John then went on to share some practical tips on how to get the most out of gliderbim® for building safety, digital handover management, security permissions and creating a reference data library.

Digitalising the DIO’s built estate

To help bring the Glider products and services to life, we then invited Jane Dudson from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to share their journey to digitalising their estate so far. Jane shared some of the things we are working on together. This included the automated handover of data from project to an establishment (asset) workspace, a data assurance gateway for the verification and validation of information and then an exciting project involving ML. This is to aid the discovery of important information from historic documents (e.g. gas certificates) that lack structured naming convention and metadata.

Digital twin pathfinder exploring net zero

Following a networking lunch, we were joined by Gareth Jones (Ministry of Justice), James Franklin (Kier) and Lucas Cusack (Glider). They delivered a talk about a pathfinder project which is underway for the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) utilising digital twin technology to unlock energy performance insights.

The MOJ, which has 122 prisons, is looking at how digital twins can help them to reduce their carbon and energy usage. As well as their energy consumption, they are analysing behavioural data to see how the building is impacting on air quality and incidents in the prison. For HMP Five Wells, Kier achieved 100% compliance at handover thanks to BIM and Glider’s digital handover software, gliderbim®. As a result, the learnings from that project will be leveraged for future smart prison projects. More insights will be shared in early 2024 about this project.

What does tomorrow hold?

Reflecting on the day’s discussions, participants were invited by Henry to share what they would do differently in industry tomorrow. Including acknowledging the critical importance of effective information management for future-proofing projects. Many were keen to focus on getting information management right to reap the benefits of well structured, accurate data. Although many were on the right path, there is always more that can be done. One delegate shared how poor data can impact on the value of a building at disposal stage by around 5-10%. This highlights how the financial impact of not getting it right can be significant in the future.

Build Safety Act readiness

We then invited Building Safety Act expert, Alan Simmons from Arcadis, to provide an update on the impact the Act has had on the industry so far. The Act, which puts residents at the heart of building safety, is creating a universal change in responsibility and culture. For 1 April 2024, the gateway system will be in place which requires risk, roles and responsibilities to be understood at all stages of construction. To achieve this, Alan emphasised the importance of the golden thread of information and a digital platform, like gliderbim®. This can demonstrate the assurance of data quality and document completeness.

Customer success

Last up were Glider’s David Hunt, Glider Head of Customer Success, and John Simpson, Head of Information Management Services. David started by sharing the importance of Customer Success and how the Glider team can help clients to achieve their goals.

Information management services

John then followed up with an overview of all the information management services Glider provides. This included our Common Data Environment services, data migration, building safety and asset management services. For those who are starting their digitalisation journey or have aspirations to achieve the holy grail of a digital twin, John demonstrated that the Glider team can provide essential guidance and software to support them.

In summary

Glider Connect 2023 was an interactive and insightful day. It was attended by some of the largest and most forward-thinking asset owners and main contractors. The engagement we saw was a demonstration of the passion we all share for advancing our industry and embracing innovative technologies. The collaborative discussions, talks and real-world client case studies provided an invaluable learning experience for all. We are confident that all of the delegates left with a renewed enthusiasm for information management and the knowledge that there are other professionals around them that can provide support if they need it.