Queensland construction and engineering conglomerate BMD Group has backed Brisbane artificial intelligence startup Octant AI, investing nearly $1 million for a 10% stake.
Octant uses AI to for predictive analysis aimed at reducing uncertainty in projects to manage costs.
BMD CEO Scott Power said his company had been using the tech platform in its project work since it reached proof-of-concept stage in 2018.
“Since working closely with Octant AI, we have seen significant results in improvement of commercial outcomes on our projects through highly accurate and reliable final cost predictions sooner than traditional methods and believe the technology to be a game change,” he said.
“This is what has given us the confidence to take the next step as an investor in the product.”
Power said Octant’s AI analysis allowed the firm to tackle problems in a new way as the industry’s margins tightened and contractors raced against the clock with an increased risk of poor outcomes due to time and cost overruns.
Octant AI MD David Porter said that by using data from a wide range of commonly available sources to improve project knowledge and decision insights, with the platform delivering improved predictability 2.5 times faster than traditional methods.
“Its primary benefit is to give an early warning of issues that need resolving, whether those are opportunities or risks. If decision makers can see things sooner, they can fix things faster and get better outcomes,” he said.
Porter said BMD’s investment was a confirmation of Octant’s effectiveness.
“Octant AI is a leader in its field and there aren’t too many other companies in the world that are doing this right now,” he said.
“Apart from fuelling our development as a company, BMD’s investment reinforces that this technology is here to stay, and that it has undeniable relevance to projects and a really bright future. We are only just scratching the surface of what it can do, and this investment helps us scale and expand on a unique foundation.”
Porter can see significant potential for Octant AI to expand across a range of industries.
“Octant AI is delivering outstanding results for infrastructure projects both for contractors and owners, but it is equally applicable in other sectors, or indeed in any situation where work is mdelivered through a project, a programme or a portfolio,” he said.
Octant recently completed a pilot on a $1.6 billion portfolio of road projects for the National Asset Centre of Excellence (NACOE), using data provided by Transport and Main Roads. The subsequent analysis found that AI had the ability to enhance capital productivity, portfolio performance, early warning capability and decrease monitoring costs.