Geo Week News

June 9, 2021

FARO buys HoloBuilder, bolstering project site documentation capabilities

FARO acquired the fast-growing 360° documentation software company in June for $34 million.

This week, FARO Technologies has announced the acquisition of HoloBuilder, Inc., a move that seems to signal a broadening focus for FARO in pursuit of a comprehensive digital twin product for construction. 

FARO is an industry leader in laser scanning technology and established in 3D metrology, AEC, public safety and forensic markets. Their acquisition of HoloBuilder aims to expand their digital twin product suite by incorporating its 360° photo documentation capabilities and remote access tools. 

HoloBuilder has focused its development efforts on SaaS and enterprise software to capture and document jobsites and construction projects. Their technology uses continuous capture 360° photos, machine vision and AI to create digitized documentation quickly and continuously. 

With an initial focus on construction management, HoloBuilder’s technology platform provides general contractors a solution to efficiently capture and virtually manage construction progress using off-the-shelf 360° cameras. Acting as a living record of the jobsite, HoloBuilder software enables key stakeholders to visit sites virtually. Field teams capture site progress with 360° cameras frequently to enable everyone who is not on-site to access and see all the captured details remotely. 

HoloBuilder’s SaaS platform will add reality-capture photo documentation and added remote access capability to FARO’s highly-accurate 3D point cloud-based laser scanning to create an end-to-end Digital Twin solution—all without leaving the FARO ecosystem. 

The combined solution can provide comprehensive scanning and image management capabilities for many types of digital twins, including robotic assembly 3D simulation, construction management, facilities operations and management, and incident pre-planning.

Mostafa Akbari-Hochberg, HoloBuilder President & Founder commented that the acquisition futhers HoloBuilder’s vision of digitizing the physical world to optimize workflows.

“The powerful combination of high accuracy laser scanning with real-time 360° photo capture and collaboration will empower both Company’s customer bases with a comprehensive Digital Twin solution.”

While other digital twin platforms can take in 360° photospheres, this combination of FARO and HoloBuilder is touted by FARO as the first to integrate the continuous 360° capture capabilities within a digital twin platform. 

One of the benefits of the acquisition is that the detailed scanning abilities from FARO will eventually be connected to the organization that is designed for stakeholders like owners and managers to use that HoloBuilder has developed. Moving away from specific scanning-only software to a more comprehensive or accessible documentation and digital twin solution is a good direction to pursue, especially as these applications broaden.

Last year, both companies entered into partnerships with Boston Dynamics, testing robotic reality capture applications using FARO laser scanners and HoloBuilder 360° cameras. It is possible that these initial efforts may somehow be merged into an integrated photo and laser scanning setup on a robot like SPOT that could be managed completely within FARO’s digital twin software. 

The announcement from FARO and HoloBuilder did not specify whether there would be immediate changes to either of the software platforms, but mentioned that the end goal was to create a “combined solution”, implying that HoloBuilder’s tools would eventually cease to be a stand-alone product.

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