“Collaboration is the heart of our platform; it’s what we do.”

We speak with Jason Howden, Chief Innovation Officer from Revizto

“There’s a strong client focus in my role, working with our customer success teams worldwide to ensure users derive maximum benefits from the tools developed by Revizto I then take those insights and improvements back into our team of developers and programmers to actually create solutions that address customer needs, reimagine and enhance their workflows and further bring innovation and optimisation into the building industry.”

At its heart, Jason says that Revizto is an integrated collaboration platform that brings projects and teams together. “The creation and evolution of the platform, itself, is also an ongoing collaborative effort, internally. We’re divided into three large regions: Europe, Middle East and Africa; the Americas; and Asia/Pacific. Access to that diverse knowledge pool enables us to be at the forefront of anything the industry is grappling with, particularly around emerging challenges and technologies like climate change and AI.”

The main objective, according to Jason, is to empower building professionals to do the job right the first time with confidence. “We enable people to make better decisions, particularly on the go. Revizto’s Phone App allows users to take all project information with them to site including design and technical drawings, specifications and 3D models. Having all of that in your pocket saves time and money and de-risks projects for building owners.”

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Many aspects of the Revizto technology have been borrowed from video games, Jason says. “It may sound counter-intuitive to use a virtual world to recreate the real world, but many 3D games are created using digital assets of the real world; there are a lot of parallels. They are also able to support vast datasets which can match the enormity of the global built environment. You only have to look at e-sports or games like Fortnite to see millions of people collaborating in real-time, globally. You can’t do that with traditional AEC technologies.”

Jason has been championing digital technologies in the architecture and construction space for nearly 30 years, most recently in his last role as Warren & Mahoney’s Principal and Digital Innovation Leader. “I’ve always been passionate about technology. I had a desire to go and explore what it was like on the other side; to shift from a user of digital tools and processes to someone who is helping to shape them.”

In his first few months at Revizto, Jason says he’s embraced both the opportunity and the challenge of such a varied and global role. “I’ve already had the chance to meet customers from the UK, Middle East, North America, New Zealand and Australia, where I’ve relocated from Wellington. Having that diversity in my portfolio keeps my mind active and my interest high. I also feel that I have a lot of invaluable knowledge that needs to be shared. As you start to get older, you begin to think more about your legacy; if I can help inspire the next generation to embrace digitalization, perhaps the entire industry can change in time.”

Growing up in Gore, Jason says he was always curious. “Honestly, I don’t know how I went from that kid in a small country town in New Zealand to the CIO of a global technology company. I just know that I always wanted to understand how things worked and why they are what they are. I asked a lot of questions. As I grew up, computers became the norm, and then the internet. I started to learn that I had a deep passion for that technology and I loved that it was always changing. I’ve always maintained that spirit of embracing new challenges, constant innovation and improvement, and striving for perfection, knowing that it will always be just a little out of reach.”

Jason’s key driver now is digital transformation of the construction sector which, he says, means transitioning from traditional processes to an integrated workflow of information. “That way, data never dies with a particular phase or discipline. In my career, I’ve seen countless builds where information – both digital and tangible – gets lost as part of the development of a project. Having seen many of my past projects already going through modification and adaptation to meet an updated use case, I found a real desire and need to ensure that information lives a lot longer.”

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Industry professionals do everything possible to predict the usage of built spaces, Jason says, but he acknowledges that you can never fully understand operational requirements until there are people inside. “Revizto is instrumental in that adaptation stage that often follows, where historically you might not have had all the original build information to hand when considering modifications. We can save you time, money and risk before your plumber pulls up a floor, only to hit a pipe underneath it and flood your new building. BIM files combined with large language models like Chat GPT create exciting opportunities for us to talk to buildings in new ways, and have them talk back to us. Imagine simply asking the building what’s behind that wall.”

With AI starting to reach maturity, Jason sees collaborative technologies like interactive 3D spaces and virtual replicas changing the face of design and construction forever. “We’re now seeing entire design workflows being augmented with AI. There are people I follow on social media who are able to produce stunning, Hollywood-quality results just by describing the image that they want to see with words, with no deep technical knowledge required. Obviously, the spatial planning is not resolved enough in these images to be functional, but as a tool for ideation and a conceptual driver, you can get incredible results in seconds, not weeks.”

A challenge for the industry, Jason reflects, is what he calls dual-speed design. “We’re going to see lots of workflows augmented by AI in this decade, which is quite incredible when you compare that to buildings that will also reach completion in this decade but were only designed around the time AI was first being introduced to the mainstream. You can only pour concrete so fast; digital tools don’t have that limitation.

“We’re also seeing a split between talent and resource: those emerging professionals who can use any digital tool available, but don’t have the industry experience to support their work, and vice versa. For more traditional architects and designers, there’s a simple beauty about a pencil and a piece of paper. We’re now thinking about how we can augment and onboard more of those traditional workflows and bring them together with the 3D digital world. We want to blend the experience of traditional architecture and design with the excitement and innovative spirit of the digital world to create a richer, more evolved industry.”

Jason says he hasn’t seen so much innovative momentum since the introduction of Revit in 2000. “Revit transformed the world from CAD to object-based and parametric modelling and created a collaborative community spirit which really tipped the world towards designing in a digital environment. I see that energy resurgence now and am excited to see how Revizto will help reimagine workflows that have been industry staples for decades.”

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If you haven’t already, Jason strongly recommends giving Revizto a try. “We have customers who, once they’ve executed a project with Revizto, never want to proceed without it. You might be astounded by the efficiencies garnered from a more integrated, collaborative team.”

To connect with Jason and learn more, visit https://revizto.com/. In particular, he recommends attending one of their Field Days events taking place across New Zealand, Australia and Singapore over the last quarter of 2023.

Bex De Prospo
Bex De Prospo