Kirkpatrick: Sam Stathis, who is coming up next, is an atypical Techonomy participant, which is one of the reasons I love having him here. Somebody we’ve gotten to know in New York. He comes out of the electrical contracting business in New York, which he’s been very successful in, helping to put electric infrastructure into high-rises. But he’s sort of stumbled across a massive opportunity in an industry that is about as untechonomic as any, which he will tell you about.
We also worked a little bit together on something in New York, a conference that he completely organized himself, the Intelligent Jobsites Conference, which included the Lieutenant Governor, deputy mayor, and he’s a really good guy at grabbing stuff and making it happen. He’s an unusual character.
So Sam. Let’s hear you.
Stathis: Thank you, David.
First, I want to thank David for inviting me to this. I am an unusual character. And one of the toughest things that I ever have to answer is what do I do for a living. That is because I do multiple things.
I like to classify myself as a serial entrepreneur and a business person. But today I don’t have enough time to talk about that. Stathis Enterprises is a company I founded. We own multiple businesses. I invest in companies. And while I am an electrical contractor, I’m a scientist. I hold over 20 various patents in various technologies.
Today I want to tell you about Theometrics, which I did not stumble on to. I’ve been working most of my life to develop this product. And this product and technology systems means and methods were developed on construction jobs that I’ve been involved with in New York City for the last 30 years.
Theometrics is the art and science of precision measurement and navigation in and on construction sites. I made up the word. It means “God’s measure.” Comes from the Greeks, of course. Theo means God, and metrics. So Theometrics is the bridge between computer-aided design and computer-aided construction.
Currently the construction industry has very little computers on the field as well. So the way that CAD supersedes now and transformed hand drafting and the next generation of CAD is BIM, it’s time for computer-aided construction, which Theometrics calls Field BIM, or transforming CAD to the field.
So the construction industry needs to be transformed. It has become very complacent. When you think about it, it is not only the construction industry. We service real estate, architecture, engineering, and construction.
So what David helped me launch in New York on October 19th, great articles on it. If you want to see the follow-up we had from that, Google. One great article is Putting the Boom Back in New York. And it is my goal to start in America, through New York, construction’s technological revolution.
To put things into perspective. Construction is a $4.6 trillion industry. It’s the second largest industry in the world, yet it’s one of the least efficient. I’m sure many of you know, you hear about it, you know about it, but you didn’t realize what a huge opportunity it is for technology companies, service companies, consultants, and that such.
In the last 40 years, while all other industries have improved productivity by 200 percent, construction has decreased by 25 percent.
We lose billions of dollars a year because of our inefficiencies. Some reports state—there is an IBM report that during the design and coordination phase, just due to the lack of interoperability in software, we lose over $100 billion.
Any of you that are involved with construction know that you can’t get construction financing or loans and insurance unless you have a 10 percent contingency. So on your $100 million job, you have to have at least $10 million set aside for delays and change orders.
The perceived root of the problem people attribute to the construction industry. We all hear the unions do this and the men waste time and there’s a lot of distractions and other problems on the job. Some of that is true.
But the biggest problems on the job is that we have a digital divide between design and construction. The stigma of construction being a blue collar industry. And I’m an electrician, I’m not knocking the industry. That is the stigma there.
But architects, engineers, designers, most of them have an education, a degree. So there’s a difference—I’m sorry, there’s a different tool set for designers and field workers, and of course there’s also a vast communication gap. And that problem starts with people have to realize in today’s day and age the most expensive thing on—or the least expensive thing to deliver to a job site is information. It is inexcusable in the year 2012, almost 2013 that we can’t get information to construction jobs and into the hands of the workers not accurately and not efficiently enough.
Some of the things that Theometrics do are take antiquated strings and tape measures, and the way GPS navigates users over maps, air, and sea, we navigate users in realtime from a tablet PC indoors or outdoors. So we have the ability to navigate people, as well as equipment.
I have prototype robots working now. We are looking for strategic partners to finish the development. We are working with universities. All of the big universities are available. I am giving free licensing agreements to any academic institute that wants technology.
I do have a financial motive and a financial interest. I was born in Greece. This country has been very good to me. We’re coming back, and I want to make America a better place to work, a place to innovate. Everything that I’ve heard at this conference, I am overwhelmed by the participation. I’m overwhelmed by the skill set in this room. I’ve been to many conferences, I’ve been to many places. I have not seen this much talent and this much diversity and this much interest to bring us out of this recession that we’re in.
And we’re not going to run out of jobs. I promise you, we’re not going to run out of jobs, and we will become much more competitive as Americans and as a society if we allow technology to augment our construction workforce, not replace it.
These are just some of the things.
I want to say thank you to David.
This is not clicking fast enough. I’m sorry. There you go.
So it’s time for a better future, and I think through technology and Techonomy, who just raised our level many times over.
Kirkpatrick: That was good, Sam.
You know, there were two things I didn’t know until I met Sam. One was that this idea of taking a chalk-filled string and snapping it on the ground, which they still do routinely at worksites, has been done since they built the pyramids literally. Number one.
And the other one, you talk to architects, they are all over CAD and everything else. Those CAD designs that come out of every architectural office are converted to paper. And everything on the typical job site is done on paper.
So the opportunity that he has identified is really humongous. He has other videos, which he didn’t show, of those robots actually carrying around the 2 by 4s.
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