New York City-based construction reality capture and analysis platform vendor Avvir has been acquired by Hexagon AB.
Avvir CEO Raphi Holzer founded Avvir with Chief Technology Officer Tira Odhner in 2017 and then nailed down $10 million in venture funding in March of 2021, adding to an additional $2.6 million from seed rounds, pre-seed rounds and grants.
The construction industry should expect to see more of this type of merger and acquisition activity as the market shakes out in sectors with heavy entrepreneurial activity, as venture-funded startups align with larger entities with broader distribution and a broader product offering. Holzer, in an IronPros Product Deep Dive, discussed the product direction, and the addition of photogrammetry capture services to Avvir's offering.
Holzer's remarks suggested that the company was well on its way to developing a machine-vision capability that could support application for payment in construction by documenting what work had been completed on site. The software was able to deliver this regardless of whether the owner paid based on percent complete or the discrete completion milestones typical with an earned value management (EVM) project.
“When we started, we made it a binary choice as to how a given project element was defined — built or not built,” Holzer said, adding that this would support EVM. “But that does not work with some things and there you need a percent complete — like when project elements are hidden from photogrammetry by walls. With piping, each pipe could be built but not built — but what percent was completed? For interior walls, progress in creation of that box comes in five or six steps.”
Avvir was still reliant on some manual intervention to ingest images, but this is also true of some Cadillac-priced photogrammetry and data capture applications including Propeller Aero.
“We do ingest LIDAR today, but alignment and registration of those scans is not fully automated,” Holzer said. “Our team goes through several steps on the back end to deliver that. It looks and feels automated to the customer, but the turn time is not as fast. Right now, it takes about 24 hours—we want to get under six hours.”
One thing favoring consolidation in this space is that there is a parallel consolidation in the technologies as multiple reality capture methods converge into a single application. Hexagon, Faro and others are bringing the different technologies that, together, comprise an optimized photogrammetry or virtual design and construction (VDC) product offering.
Construction Technology Mergers and Acquisitions
Hexagon and one of its rivals, Faro, have both been on acquisition tears as these solutions for different elements of reality capture are coming together so end users can view all data on a single pane of glass. Drone photogrammetry software is adopting capabilities for images and data from handheld, stationary and and worn cameras. Photogrammetry software is evolving to ingest LiDAR data. StructionSite has an integration to surface IoT data from Latium Technologies.
This interoperability and ability to go to market together between vendors can happen through organic development, through partnerships and through acquisition. In September of this year, Hexagon bought iConstruct, an Australian building information modeling (BIM) software company. Hexagon has also owned Leica Geosystems since 2005, and in August of 2022 purchased a Ghana-based Leica Geosystems distributor. Other companies that touch construction in the Hexagon portfolio include:
- Mining software companies Mintec and MiPlan
- LiDAR technology company SigmaSpace
- 3D city modeling tech vendor GTA Geoinformatik
- Allen Precision Equipment, a dealer and services partner for surveying and construction products
- Aerial acquisition company Northwest Geomatics
- Survey equipment manufacturer SCSS Survey, robotics
- Infor's former enterprise asset management (EAM) software
Like other companies in the Hexagon family, Avvir will continue to operate as a brand within the Geosystem division of Hexagon AB. Avvir employees will continue to work with new and existing clients, and according to a release from the two companies, existing clients will not see any immediate change as a result of the transaction.
Rival FARO Technologies got a jump start on this trend by acquiring in January of 2002 Spatial Metrix, a manufacturer and provider of laser trackers, metrology software and inspection services. More recently, they snapped up reality capture technology company HoloBuilder in July of 2021 and mobile scanning solution vendor GeoSLAM in September of 2022.
To read more about Avvir joining Hexagon AB's Geosystems Division, read our press release here.