Remote stakeholders track progress, control workflow and manage quality from afar.
CHALLENGE: Provide virtual job site access through a user-friendly desktop dashboard
Gary Womack is the boots-on-the-ground man for Noble Investment Group, but he’s not the only person who wants to have a regular look around the firm’s project sites. Such a visual review used to require the Atlanta-based investment firm’s principals to fly or drive to places where Noble was building or renovating hotels. It was a time- and money-consuming chore for Noble executives, who manage the company’s $2 billion in hotels and resort assets throughout the United States — most affiliated with Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood, and Hilton. Then Noble discovered OxBlue, which provides Web-enabled, time-lapse cameras that deliver virtual access to construction sites anywhere, anytime.
“Because our investment and executive teams are based here in Atlanta, those guys don’t get a chance to view the progress of our company’s construction ventures in real time,” Womack said. “They are typically limited to the review of progress reports. OxBlue images provide a great way for the team to see their investments come to fruition, right from their desk.”
SOLUTION: Construction cameras that offer superior virtual monitoring
Noble looked at other construction cameras and even tried a few, but the company chose OxBlue over competitors because of its superior, easy-to-use technology: high-resolution, time-lapse images available via a Web-enabled platform enhanced with robust features, such as weather sensors and zoom-in viewing. “OxBlue’s technology makes visual time-travel simple,” Womack said. “We have the flexibility to look back in time and see a project from beginning to the current point.” Noble also has realized a number of other benefits since deploying OxBlue cameras. For example, on previous construction projects, cameras helped Noble manage the resolution of construction disagreements. “We were able to use OxBlue images to quantify the time spent on site and materials that were coming and going,” Womack said. “It helped us resolve several disputes.” At a hotel renovation and expansion in historic Charleston, S.C., Noble uses the onsite camera to get a detailed view — from afar — of critical steps in the construction process, such as waterproofing. “As different layers of waterproofing and flashing are applied, it’s very beneficial to be able to track the installation progress and make judgments about construction quality while the crews are working,” Womack said. “Such detailed monitoring can help Noble prevent a problem, rather than deal with its effects in the future.” At the Charleston site, the camera also helped Noble stay true to promises made to the homeowners who live near the site. “We are building in a residential community, and part of our development agreement is to perform construction work only during certain hours,” Womack said. “We had instances where work was being performed outside of those hours, and we were able to verify that with the camera. Using the documentation, we were able to address the situation.” OxBlue helps Noble make informed decisions whether at headquarters or on the job site. “We are pleased with the service,” Womack said, “and will likely look to use it again on future projects.” About Noble Investment Group: Through its private equity real estate funds, Noble Investment Group is a value-added, active investor in hotels and resorts throughout the United States. Since inception, Noble has realized premium, risk-adjusted returns while investing approximately $2 billion in the lodging sector. The organization’s current discretionary private equity fund represents $310 million of equity commitments.