aecHIVE – Swarm 2019


aecHIVE is taking place at 1WML “Town Hall”, Windmill Lane, Dublin 2, Ireland from 8 – 10 November 2019.

The inaugural meeting of the aecHIVE community takes place in Dublin in November, and caught up with the organisers John Egan from BIMLauncher and Ralph Montague from ArcDox, to find out what it is all about.


What is aecHIVE?

“aecHIVE is first and foremost a community of innovators,” explaines John Egan, “a group of people who are driven to improve our built environment through new technology and knowledge-sharing workshops. We feel the typical hackathon model for AEC innovation is too short lived, for real solutions to develop, presenting a need for a different platform for ongoing innovation within the AEC sector. This starts with a new model based upon the concept of event workshops that include an open and community-driven selection process, for participation, weeks in advance of the event. The process is designed so that attendees hit the ground running for a twelve-hour intense workshop window on Saturday leaving time for a micro conference on Sunday. However, for participants, the project doesn’t stop there as the post-event infrastructure has also been designed to take projects all the way from prototype, to industry and beyond.”

“By open sourcing the event model, we are hoping that a wider community can adopt and run the same type of events in different regions around the world,” says Ralph Montague, “where people can extend the community, and set up local events for the purposes of finding innovative solutions to their own problems, but to also invite others from the international community to engage in workshop projects, and events through remote support. We have named the workshop projects ‘Clusters’, and the community event a ‘Swarm’. As the name suggests, this is where the localised ‘Clusters’ gather for intense collaboration, and sharing, with the local and international aecHIVE community. We are excited to be working with CitA (the Construction IT Alliance), as the local event hosts for Dublin, Ireland for the first event and to see how the event model is received in practice. We are also grateful to Autodesk, and Hibernia REIT, who are providing the fantastic venue for the first event.”

What “problem” are you trying to solve?

“We feel that the uptake of new technologies is quite slow in the AEC sector,” Ralph says. “Historically, this has largely depended on the dominant vendors to provide solutions that are arguably best understood by those in the industry. It is possible that important solutions exist hypothetically in the minds of industry operatives, and remain this way, as there is no channel for procurement and development of new ideas, which may be hugely resource-intensive to build, or require expertise that is not available. Grassroots projects, large or small, typically depend on a few factors for success. These include a team with the right field expertise, funding, support and industry feedback. There is a gap in the market for a creative space where innovators can connect and collaborate, to supercharge their ideas right ‘out of the box’ and rapidly decrease the time it takes between inception and prototype. We hope that by establishing this environment we will build a community of like-minded people who share in the passion of growth hacking solutions that can be developed collaboratively and organically.  We see this community as a ‘chillout’ space, or a place to gather and dream of the future of our built environment. It is a place to build projects by sharing ideas and knowledge.

“The AEC sector has traditionally been very fragmented, with low levels of collaboration and participation between stakeholders. We expect that aecHIVE will deliver on new solutions, where people from different disciplines can bring their individual expertise to discussing and exploring industry problems, over a longer period of time, giving solutions the best opportunity for industry adoption. We hope these workshop collaborations will help break down silos, and speed up development of solutions, with an improved integration with our industry. Most importantly, we also feel this will be a connective platform, with like-minded and interesting people providing solutions or ideas that enable the market to develop and thrive.”

Can you give us more information on the event in November?

“We are still in the process of finalising all the details,” says Ralph, “but we have secured CitA as hosts for the inaugural ‘Swarm’ event. We also have a fantastic event venue that has been generously sponsored by Autodesk Ireland and Hibernia REIT, at the 1WML ‘Town Hall’ in Dublin’s ‘Smart Docklands’ area, and close to many top technology companies. The aecHIVE website is live, and ‘innovators’ can begin to register, or define their workshop projects, or ‘Clusters’, or join other ‘Clusters’ in preparation for the ‘Swarm’ event in November. We are really looking forward to a broad range of expertise, and some exciting ‘Cluster’ workshops, giving rise to innovation in the AEC sector.”

What should people do next?

“If you would like to follow or join the community, simply follow us on our website, and social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Github, Slack), and we will keep you posted about developments,” Ralph says. “If you have an idea that you would like to explore, and want to invite others to participate in developing your idea, you can ‘Create a Cluster’ on our community website, and others will be able to review your idea, and apply to ‘Join a Cluster’, if they feel they have something to contribute, or to learn. We look forward to meeting the community of innovators on the 8-10 November in Dublin.”

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