You have been in the company for 13 years, how has FARO changed in your eyes?
I think there have been a lot of changes going on in FARO. When we joined FARO Group, we were in a much smaller office at FARO Europe and also in America and Asia we were growing. I think the most significant change was our organisational change 2 years ago when we changed our complete business model from a product selling company into a customer solution focused Company. Instead of selling FARO Laser Scanners, FARO Arms and FARO Laser Trackers we changed the business and created five business units which focus on dedicated customer markets.
Which FARO market do you specialise in?
I am working now for the construction BIM business line which is focusing on all applications, reality capturing and reality modelling applications in the context of the construction industry. I think that new markets have been a big change for FARO but I hope this is also a big benefit for our customers as we are now focusing more on specific needs instead of delivering generic products.
What do you think were the challenges that FARO overcame during these years?
I think if we look at the product line and portfolio that we were offering there were many challenges. For example, technical challenges with laser scanners, our main business produces large scale data which is difficult to process especially if we look 13 years back. The first 64 bit computers came to the market which were finally capable of handling large data but the software was not yet ready, even our customers had the up-to-date computers at the time but for the modern Technology that we were bringing into the market the Computers still weren’t powerful enough or capable of handling the large data. This has changed over time, so I think technology and consumer electronics helped us a lot.
In the meantime, computers that used to be high power scientific university machines, that is 13 or 15 years ago, are really commodities now and even your phone has more competing power than my first computer when I worked with laser scans, so I think that was a challenge, but it was overcome with the development of technology. On the other side, of course, it was a challenge for our customers because they were used to working with traditional methods like a tape measure or plumb lines and then FARO was coming and telling them ‘Hey, you have to do everything in 3D and I’m sorry but your computer is not really capable of handling the data and you will have to buy a new computer & Software.’ That was a tricky situation in the beginning but has changed slowly over time.
The construction industry is starting to become more digitized and the digital driven industry makes that easier. On the other side, it creates a new demand for us. We currently have this password BIM in the construction industry which means, collaborative design and construction activities on a building based centralised digital data model. This trend in the industry will create new demand for our products because if you work in the digital space you need to have an As-built situation digitized as well.
How did you decide which improvements to make when you were developing later generation laser scanners?
I think all of this, in general, comes from two directions: on one side, you have customer demands and that’s very important for us, listening and talking to the customers as well as visiting them to see how they operate and to understand what could be improved to see the contribution FARO could bring to the customer. On the other side, you always have improvement on the Technology. This is where our developers continuously analyse the current situation and try to better understand how we can solve issues or how we can make the performance better. With both sides together we can develop the next generation device.
First Laser Scanner
Steve Jobs once said, ‘if you would have asked the people how the next phone would look like we would have never had an iPhone’ and today nobody uses anything else but smartphones or Henry Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Therefore, it needs to go hand in hand to understand the customer requirements step by step and let the latest technology advancements flow into it.
How did you find out who your customers were? Has that changed over time?
I think it really was a completely different situation. In the beginning, we were what I think would be called early adopter market, so laser scanner technology didn’t really exist. There were some universities working with it and some super expensive tools from surveying companies but really in the broad market laser scanning was not existing. It was really kind of geniality of the founders of iQevolution, Bernd and Reinhard Becker, at the time to understand that this technology can be used in a much broader field of application. It was then evangelizing to the market and saying ‘Hey, we have a completely new measurement device that you have never seen before but we assure you, it can and will help you and your market’.
Today we have this market centric setup in FARO and it is much easier for me as a product manager and for my colleagues to really focus on customer needs because now I don’t have to go to forensic, factory metrology and product design people, I can really focus on the people within the construction industry which really makes my life in that respect much easier and more focused to the needs of our existing and potential customers.
In the beginning, it was a device sold to everybody which made it difficult to have a really customer focused development, and at that time more of the development was driven from the technology.
I can imagine marketing was not as evolved as it is nowadays, so how did you sell all of those scanners? What were the challenges at the time?
How honest do you want me to be? It was more or less the same. With product development of these verticals in the business structure, we have a much more focused communication and marketing to the customers. It has also changed from selling single products to selling solutions to the customer. Now we are selling As-Built design solutions and laser scanners or construction quality solutions, not just RAW data and a device for it.
Watch out for a second part of the interview!
FARO will showcase scan-to-BIM solutions at the GEO|Design+BIM 2018 in Amsterdam. The main theme for the event will be “Enabling Tomorrow’s Connected Infrastructure” and to contribute, our Regional Manager David Southam, will present a talk on ‘Is Construction Industry Ready for City Information Modelling?’. Learn about our complete solutions along the building life cycle and don’t miss an opportunity to network.
When: 1-2nd November
Where: Novotel Amsterdam City
To suit the demand for more individualized products, it is becoming more common to reconfigure production facilities. These changes must be implemented efficiently, hence measurement and quality control is an essential part of this change. Today companies are driving measurement into the product development process earlier to ensure that all the product function sensitivities to manufacturing variation are removed in the design stage.
In a week FARO will be exhibiting at the Engineering Design Show! This unmissable event focuses on innovation, inspiration, and insight across the design industry. The programme for two days offers a range of workshops about design systems, product development and prototyping with a selection of conference topics that present perspectives into the future of engineering design.
When: 17-18th October
Where: Ricoh Arena, Coventry
The next generation FARO Laser Trackers have been announced this week. Introducing the 6Probe, a fully integrated hand-held probe for easily probing hidden, hard-to-reach features in hard-to-reach locations combined with FARO Super 6DoF addresses a wide range of large scale metrology applications across a variety of manufacturing focused industries.
Sarginsons Industries, a manufacturer based in Coventry, highlights the importance of investment in business. A purchase of a FARO Quantum 3D scanner is going to help inspect their processes more accurately and allow them to bring the scanner anywhere a check is needed. Currently, four engineers are being trained to use a 3rd party software that the scanner supports.
We are striving to improve the effectiveness of public safety professionals and our new ScanPlan Handheld Floor Mapper is specifically designed to provide a simple and complete solution for the effortless capture of floor plans. The ScanPlan is a fully integrated solution that includes both the lightweight ScanPlan handheld 2D mapper and FARO Zone 2D diagramming software. The wide-angle field of view makes it easy to map around corners, behind doors, and other hard-to-reach areas. Read about the ScanPlan features here:
Our latest version of BuildIT Construction Software gives the power of a single software ecosystem to accelerate projects and minimize waste. New features will enhance the experience of this software. Among many new features, we have added multiple file import support from Autodesk® Revit® and IFC. We’ve improved on saving your data and reducing a risk of losing it through better traceability using the object’s project ID within various software platforms as well as in validation reports. The new BuildIT Construction Software is better than ever, learn more about its features:
Back in August we presented Traceable Construction as a concept that is driving FARO’s vision for the future. Essentially, this ecosystem should interest anyone working within a BIM process as it offers huge benefits. These would include being able to trace back to any step during your workflow that you or your team has made and speed up your work time, easily adjust your work plan allowing for much greater flexibility to spot misalignments with your plan and so much more. Read more in depth about Traceable Construction on page 58 of BIM Today!
Just in two weeks, FARO will be exhibiting at TCT Show in Birmingham! The leading design-to-manufacturing show will present you a variety of industry experts, live demonstrations and exclusive product launches! TCT Show is a perfect opportunity to see our products up close and to ask any questions from our qualified team members.
What to expect? The TCT Conference has global speakers to offer knowledge from all over the world on the topic of 3D technologies. The TCT Introducing Stage will keep you up-to-date with the state-of-the-art across additive manufacturing and 3D printing, inspection, metrology and beyond. Enjoy this event for free!
When: 25-27th September
Where: NEC, Birmingham