Q&A with CEO David Lod: Getting smart with your data visualization platform

I recently sat down with VEERUM CEO David Lod to discuss the recent advancements in digital twin technology and the impact of COVID-19 on ongoing projects around the world. We delved into the opportunities and challenges for businesses investing in data aggregation and remote collaboration. Read on for David’s insights.


How does digital twin technology like the VEERUM platform differ from GIS, reality scans and CAD model viewers? How does the VEERUM platform increase the value of these pre-existing systems rather than replace them?


The VEERUM platform is a massive change to how people will work with information and technology going forward in an industrial setting. The VEERUM platform creates a primary visualization platform that makes historically unavailable, high valuable data available to everybody in an organization. Companies simply do not have this platform today. They have scattered and generally unorganized data and information, and use 3D software or GIS viewers, but are not leveraging an all-encompassing platform for viewing all of their combined data. At the end of the day, having complete and total access to all of this information together will move organizations forward and drive the biggest benefits of existing systems.


Why is it important to aggregate existing asset data systems?


First, how can companies aggregate existing data? This could require two different approaches: first and foremost, companies have significant legacy data that needs to come together and be well-organized in order to feed the next wave of digital platforms. This will allow for developing artificial intelligence and machine learning opportunities. Many companies are hiring data scientists and these teams are hunting, collecting, organizing and prioritizing company data. A simple approach is to identify the end game of the data collection. Make some directional decisions on how this data will be used by the company. Making a decision to have VEERUM as the output platform for the display and analytics of this data can drive adoption and importance through an organization. The aggregation of data gives you the opportunity to make a better bet, to ensure a better probability of success to start to do better predictive analytics. It’s about having the best dataset possible so you can start to implement that human element of creativity to further drive productivity gains.


What value does this provide in terms of productivity, business continuity and ROI?


A digital twin platform not only provides this collection pool of data, but this amazing visualization layer for perspectives that you traditionally couldn't see or maybe understand apart, but together makes more sense. It immediately changes business productivity from employees as they can now operate and leverage that information in a real-time context as they progress a project. The ROI’s can be immediate with remote work and collaboration, but it’s really about putting a stake in the ground and committing to a data strategy that will give you those significant 10-100x gains in productivity and cost savings related to asset management.


How is digital twin technology evolving and how are traditional perspectives surrounding digital twins changing, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work?


From the clients we work with at VEERUM, there is an absolute genuine interest and appetite to increase technology adoption and digital twin platform adoption. Every client has had the challenges of justifying a budget and resources. The COVID-19 pandemic is driving an acceleration for remote collaboration with the tools and systems that were normally siloed in a company.


The VEERUM platform lets you be on site without going to site. Why would you not want to have this capability in your company? Right now companies must support remote maintenance planning, remote construction monitoring and remote quality verification on a larger scale. The only way to create this type of business continuity is with digital technology. Our digital twin platform gives organizations everything they were highly interested in before, but now it's considered something that is absolutely necessary to continue business. Now organizations are looking to move internal adoption to our platform quickly. If you can complete the work objectives safely without going to the site and still get all the information necessary to make the right decisions, then that’s the right business decision for the company. People still want to see, touch and understand what they are working on and this platform provides a safer and quicker way to accomplish this.


If a company truly believes that data has value then it should be treated no differently than a savings account. If you are not collecting it properly today you are missing out on significant compounding value. In the same way, if a company believes that data has value, they should make a commitment to start collecting, aggregating and bringing it together to truly make it useful. As humans, we learn best in a 3D context and leaders of organizations, we need to present our data in a format that improves productivity and comprehension.


If organizations are ready to aggregate and combine their existing data systems, what is the first step in that process? How can they ensure success throughout the entire process?


Every company we have worked with has more data than they believe they have. We can help bring all that together for them, but the only way to ensure success is by acquiring an executive champion. You need a high-level champion that is committed to making this initiative a leading part of the business, as budget must be allocated and resources must be behind it to succeed. Furthermore, you need highly energetic individuals that will work to prioritize this. If you only have a small digital innovation group within an organization and business operations are not tied into the group’s success, it will die after its proof of concept. If you have an executive committed to this, but don’t have a highly energetic team that will work to understand and deliver the product, then success is difficult.


The formula for success is to get the executive champion, pick the right team to drive this forward, lock down your budget and then set measurable goals for success. As well, there has to be strong communication between the executives and the organization, either within the platform or a part of their communication with the company. Companies need to find ways to drive that interest and enable communication. It’s similar to introducing email for the first time and the executive still elects to send interoffice mail instead of adapting to the new technology. The moment that the president or the CEO adapts to the new technology, people become interested and more likely to take it on in full force. There has to be a hard commitment in the transition period to get away from the old technology and fully embrace the new and stop with legacy communication. You must have a full commitment for the end game results- that's your most likely way to drive success.

What are some barriers that prevent organizations from digital twin adoption, and how can organizations find solutions to resolve these barriers?


I believe one of the biggest barriers is simply a mindset barrier. People believe that taking on an initiative like this will be a monumental challenge and be another task to perform as part of their already overburdened roles. The VEERUM platform can be live in 48 hours, we can give organizations the immediate tool set to be more productive, so why would you not go down that road? The biggest barrier is the mindset that this is a monumental shift in resources and energy to change behaviour when rather it is a simple step in resourcing to get (the platform) live and accessible and provide people with the proper tools to change how they work.

What is your perspective into the future of digital twin innovation? What advice would you give to organizations wanting to stay ahead of the game?


I think the first message is to start yesterday; you are already behind. The longer you wait, the more significant that technical hurdle and data debt will become. What would cost you a dollar today will cost you $100 in a year from now. Every day that you're missing out on bringing this type of solution together for your organization you will pay a monumental price at a later date. You will want to do it quickly and you will need to have valuable historical data that has already vanished.


Why not start today? There’s no economic or technological reason that you would say you can’t accomplish this as an organization. The tailwinds of COVID-19 and the fact that people need to be more productive and unlock the capital potential of every dollar that comes into an organization lines up right on VEERUM’s platform. The economic gains are incredible and the productivity and safety gains are measurable and exciting.


To learn how to start your digital transformation strategy, book a demo with VEERUM today. Visit veerum.com/demo


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