Bentley buys voice-based construction app maker

Jun 3, 2020 | Hot Topics

Bentley Systems just announced that it has acquired NoteVault, which makes voice-based solutions for construction management. Start NoteVault on your mobile device, speak into it, and the app’s construction-specific machine learning (backed by human transcription) creates textual status reports and other field notes.

Think about how often you stop to type into your phone — and how awkward and dangerous that can be. I use an iPhone; Siri is useful and able to turn many words into text but isn’t infallible — and for litigation reasons, construction notes need to be accurate.

Bentley plans to add NoteVault to its SYNCHRO digital construction environment, which already plans projects and uses mobile field applications to track and manage many aspects of a live site such as labor, materials, equipment, and so on.

Peter Lasensky, CEO of NoteVault explained how NoteVault fits into Bentley’s concept for a construction digital twin: “Updating 4D construction models through insights gleaned from our software for field-captured reporting fully extends the power of voice and positioning technologies together. Combining NoteVault and SYNCHRO is a natural next step in our overall mission, with Bentley, to drive greater efficiencies in construction.”

I can see many other use cases for voice-activated data gathering and wonder where else Bentley might take this capability. The company bought bridge monitoring technology a couple of years ago; inspectors take a lot of notes about their findings — perhaps there. Some of its Asset Information Management Solutions also rely on observed conditions — maybe there, too. The key is NoteVault’s machine learning: it has already been “taught” many construction-specific terms and I imagine that it can be taught the nuances of other industries.

Details of the acquisition were not disclosed.