OpenBuilt Platform Designed to Securely Connect Fragmented Supply Chains

New cross-industry collaboration joins forces to create OpenBuilt, based on Red Hat OpenShift and IBM Cloud to help build faster and more cost-effectively, while helping to control risk.


IBM, Red Hat and Cobuilder have announced a global collaboration to co-develop OpenBuilt, a new platform designed to help securely connect fragmented construction industry supply chains.

Built on Red Hat OpenShift and running on IBM Cloud, OpenBuilt will offer new digital solutions to help innovate and drive more efficient, sustainable and safer construction projects.

A cross-industry ecosystem of five partners will play a vital role in the development process together with IBM, Red Hat and Cobuilder, including Cemex, EDIN NetworkBacke, Sol Services and Element.

The construction industry has long been challenged with project delays, cost overages as well as wasted materials often caused by disconnected processes and poorly coordinated activities and resources. Companies across the built environment including architects, building material suppliers, manufacturers, construction and engineering firms are now looking to innovate and speed up the expansion of their digital strategy. By moving away from largely manual processes, the industry will be able to explore more effective ways of working.

OpenBuilt is designed to allow companies across the global built environment and construction industry to securely connect their current technology platforms and digital solutions to partners, suppliers or subcontractors in their supply chain via a single integration hub. It aims to help improve communication and securely exchange data across the supply chain. Companies will then have access to the latest applications and services from technology providers to expand their digital platforms without complex, bespoke software development.

"In pursuing the broad goal of construction industry transformation, there is a critical need to break down the deep silos and fragmentation that exists in how we organise and operate design, manufacture, construction and operation processes," Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Consultancy and Independent Champion for Modern Methods of Construction in Homebuilding for UK Government, commented. "This is equally true in the emerging digitalization challenge." 

To create more strategic and scalable intelligent workflows, data and software need to be part of a fully connected ecosystem. "The concept of digital platforms is nothing new but if construction is ever going to realize the full potential of some of the technology solutions that are now proliferating and if those solutions are ever going to be given the chance to scale to maturity then there is a need for market leadership in creating a unifying platform that can host these solutions and enables interoperability," Farmer stated.

What IBM and partners are offering through Open Built is the opportunity to act as a digital integrator at an international and industry wide level, bringing together what has become an increasingly fragmented digital market place for construction technology solutions. "This is an important step forward which has great potential to make our industry more efficient," Farmer added.

"The global construction landscape is evolving and requires a new approach towards industry-wide technology platforms with new levels of openness, innovation and collaboration. Together with our partners we are creating OpenBuilt to empower the construction industry to break down its silos with intelligent workflows and play an active role in designing and driving its own transformation. Successful companies across the construction supply chain are coming together to embrace a digital future, harnessing the power of an open hybrid cloud approach and adopting new technologies to gain a real competitive advantage. We want to inspire other companies to join us and accelerate the march towards a truly digital construction industry," said Jon O'Donnell, Managing Partner, IBM Global Business Services EMEA.

Initially, OpenBuilt will focus on three areas:

  1. Enable construction companies to adopt a hybrid cloud approach and connect their supply chain. Companies will gain access to a wide library of pre-integrated applications from trusted companies and solution providers operating in the built environment. 
  2. Integrate Independent Software Vendors to make an array of software and services accessible. IBM solutions including Watson, Maximo, TRIRIGA, next generation KITT dictionary and IBM Blockchain as well as Salesforce open APIs will be integrated into the platform to enable users to build functionality into their automated workflows.
  3. Develop new flagship applications including a solution that will enable organizations to search, filter and sort building product technical data, allowing companies to quickly find materials with the right specification to design, build or maintain buildings that meet industry guidelines.