At the end of each year, it’s natural to want to look back on what’s been accomplished over the past 12 months. This is especially true at the end of a decade, when it feels like the end of an era and the start of something new. 2019 was no different, so we thought we would do an annual round-up about OxBlue, then discuss how the construction industry looks heading into 2020.
Over the past year, OxBlue has accomplished a lot. We released the Sapphire Series (VPTZ cameras) and the Indigo Series (interior cameras). We’ve also been steadily adding new features to our cameras and application, including video streaming, video archiving, and weather tools.
The OxBlue Foundation was founded with initial funding of 300k, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, all-volunteer charity focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)-related educational initiatives to benefit the lives of others.
From a company perspective, 2019 was a year of growth and development. Our team grew to include over 100 employees. The OxBlue Ladies’ League, an organization for career development and support between the women in the company, and Emerging Leadership Program, which empowers employees as they move up in the company, were established.
In addition to our growth as a company, OxBlue received several awards for company culture in 2019: Atlanta’s 2019 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For, the National 2019 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For, and The Atlanta-Journal Constitution’s Best Places to Work. The Cobalt Series camera also won the 2019 Good Design Award by the Chicago Athenaeum.
National Construction Industry Overview
2019 was a mixed bag for the construction industry in the US. While certain regions of the country experienced a construction boom (our hometown of Atlanta included), the industry is still facing a labor shortage that doesn’t seem to end. Without the manpower to complete the rapidly growing number of projects, costs are rising and timelines are lengthening. There are ways to mitigate these, but the main solution appears to be hiring and retaining new construction workers.
This led to a focus both inside and out of the construction industry on recruitment. ANEW, a non-profit focusing on jump-starting construction careers, launched a free 11-week program in Seattle that teaches all necessary skills for a successful career in the industry. Employers are also offering on-the-job training, tapping into underused labor pools, and even offering to pay off student loans. Most see the solution as a matter of tackling the stigma against trade jobs, something that will take time and dedication.
As for the construction industry, it looks to be much of the same going into 2020. From a product perspective, there is a demand for solutions that increase productivity, control costs and reduce man-hours, mitigating the effects of the labor shortage.
An Associated General Contractors of America report showed that contractors are concerned about finding qualified workers as demand for work rises. Respondents to the survey believe the need for construction will increase across all markets, particularly in public and institutional sectors. Meanwhile, they believe tax cuts and regulatory reforms may be able to offset the impact of tariffs and a potentially slowing economy. Overall, despite the difficulties they face, contractors are confident that the industry is on an upswing.
So what does OxBlue have coming in 2020? We’re working to make our solutions smarter through artificial intelligence and provide our clients next level actionable construction data. We’re also developing the next generation of hardware to drive efficiency with real-time visual data. It’s going to be an exciting year.