Construction and urban development heavyweight BMD Group, has acquired a 10 per cent stake in Brisbane based Artificial Intelligence (AI) start-up Octant AI, with an investment of close to $1m.
Octant AI is an artificial intelligence powered platform, which mitigates uncertainty in projects, programmes and portfolios, enabling more reliable outcomes.
BMD CEO Scott Power said the Group has been using the Octant AI platform in its project work since the technology was at proof-of-concept stage in 2018. “Since working closely with Octant AI, we have seen significant results in improvement of commercial outcomes on our projects through highly accurate and reliable final cost predictions sooner than traditional methods and believe the technology to be a game changer. This is what has given us the confidence to take the next step as an investor in the product.
“With an increased investment in infrastructure by local, state and federal governments, our industry is in a significant growth period. Now more than ever is an important time to find progressive ways to be on the front foot through early identification of commercial challenges.”
Octant AI Managing Director David Porter said the technology uses data from a wide range of commonly available sources, to improve project knowledge and decision insights, achieving up to 250 per cent improved predictability sooner than traditional methods.
“Its primary benefit is to give an early warning of issues that need resolving, whether those are opportunities or risks. If decision makers can see things sooner, they can fix things faster and get better outcomes,” he said.
Mr Porter said BMD’s investment was confirmation of the technology’s effectiveness, applicability, and its substantial value to the construction industry.
“Apart from fuelling our development as a company, BMD’s investment reinforces that this technology is here to stay, and that it has undeniable relevance to projects and a really bright future. We are only just scratching the surface of what it can do, and this investment helps us scale and expand on a unique foundation,” he said.
Mr Power said the combination of technology and human intelligence is one of the things that makes Octant AI so unique within the industry.
“Over time, margins have continued to tighten and contractors are often racing against the clock with constant risk of poor outcomes due to time and cost overruns. It is the combination of this technology and our people which is allowing us to face these problems head on and in a completely new way.”
Mr Porter said there was significant potential for Octant AI to be expanded across a range of industries.
“Octant AI is delivering outstanding results for infrastructure projects both for contractors and owners, but it is equally applicable in other sectors, or indeed in any situation where work is delivered through a project, a programme or a portfolio,” he said.
Mr Porter said BMD’s investment sends a very strong message about Queensland as a highly desirable place to invest in new and emerging technology.
“Octant AI is a leader in its field and there aren’t too many other companies in the world that are doing this right now”.
“I truly believe Queensland is in a position to establish itself as the epicentre for artificial intelligence in this new field of the project sector. Both the public and private sector in Queensland are taking the attitude of ‘getting on with it’ which is helping to propel the sector forward – you don’t get that everywhere,” he said.
Octant AI has recently completed a pilot on a $1.6 billion portfolio of road projects for the National Asset Centre of Excellence (NACOE), using data provided by Transport and Main Roads. The NACOE report found that “AI technologies have demonstrated capabilities that enhance capital productivity, portfolio performance, early warning capability and a decrease in monitoring costs1, adding further proof to the value of Octant AI across a broad range of sectors and uses.