Josh Kanner

Josh Kanner has been involved in enterprise-focused software startups since 2000 with a focus in the AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) industry since 2005.

Most recently he was co-founder of Vela Systems, a pioneer in the use of web and tablet workflows for construction and capital projects. There he led the company’s product, marketing, and business development functions. Vela Systems grew from bootstrapped beginnings to include over 50% of the ENR Top Contractors as customers and deployments all over the globe. The company was successfully acquired by Autodesk in 2012 and has been rebranded as BIM 360 Field.

Prior to founding Vela Systems, Josh was responsible for product management and strategy at Emptoris (now part of IBM), a web-based strategic sourcing software company with customers including Motorola, GlaxoSmithKline, Bank of America, and American Express.

Kanner graduated from Brown University and earned an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He still gets excited to put on a hard hat and walk a job.

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Recent Posts by Josh Kanner

Beyond VINNIE: How AI works for the construction industry

What does AI actually mean? It’s a term thrown around all the time in media and tech circles used to describe anything from the latest app to full-on doomsday robots. Wikipedia defines AI as “intelligence demonstrated by machines,” versus natural intelligence shown by humans and other animals. Since AI is still nowhere close to the any human-like “intelligence,” its working definition usually refers to software that’s very good at accomplishing narrowly defined tasks.

Topics: AEC Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Safety

Can we predict construction incidents before they happen?

Today at ENR’s FutureTech conference in San Francisco, Jit Kee Chin, EVP and Chief Data Officer at Suffolk, announced the results of 6 months of collaboration between our companies. We think it’s groundbreaking and hope you will too.

Topics: Customer Success, AEC Technology, Safety, Artificial Intelligence

The real cost of injuries on the jobsite

As the construction industry grows so does the risk of injury on the jobsite. Projects are becoming larger and increasingly complex, not to mention the compressed schedules we are all asked to deliver. Each of these factors puts workers at a greater risk of injury in a fast paced, complex environment. All the while, contractors are being asked to reduce costs and take on more risk to complete these projects.

Topics: Safety

Product Update: Safety tags, integrations and more

Our end of January release was a big one, headlined by the addition of new safety tags (as featured in ENR), a new integration with OxBlue site camera (now in Beta), and lots of cool new features on web and mobile.

Topics: Product Updates

Reflections on 2017 and our vision for 2018

As we have turned the page on 2017, we wanted to pause to look back at the highlights of the year for Smartvid.io and our mission of bringing machine learning (ML) to construction. More than anything else, we are deeply appreciative of our committed and innovative customers, partners, and employees who are committed to our vision of improving the industry with technology.

Topics: Machine Learning, AEC Technology, Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning helped ENR reduce risk: How can it help your business?

Like all firms, it is important for Engineering News Record (ENR) to know if unsafe conditions are being shown in the imagery it releases to the public. For their annual photo competition, the ENR team used our machine learning to review all 763 images submitted for consideration. In this article published by ENR, you can see our ML engine, nicknamed “VINNIE”, found 97 people not wearing gloves, 31 without hardhats, 89 without safety colors and 11 without eyewear. We helped screen the winning pictures and identified two that we recommended be reviewed further.

Topics: Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence

Heading back to Autodesk University 2017

Hard to believe that Fall and Autodesk University are here again!  Seems like just yesterday we were in Vegas in a (very) small “startup kiosk”.  In a few short weeks, we’re headed back, this time in a real booth (Booth C606), involved in three sessions, and co-sponsoring an event Tuesday night with BuiltWorlds @ TopGolf. Here’s where to find us!

Topics: Machine Learning, AEC Technology, Artificial Intelligence

From some wins to a major milestone: Series A Funding round

Well, we’ve had some nice wins recently. Some highlights: being named one of the top 2 most disruptive uses of Artificial Intelligence by NVIDIA, and being featured by Skanska in their recent ENR FutureTech presentation.

And now, we’ve got big news!  Smartvid.io is moving to the next phase of building the company by closing our Series A funding round.  We raised $7M overall, with investments from Autodesk, Borealis Ventures, Castor Ventures, and existing investors Converge, Launchpad Venture Group and Stage 1 Ventures

Topics: Machine Learning, AEC Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Industrial Media Management, Press Release

Stiles Construction manages photos with the Smartvid-Procore integration

As you might know by now, Smartvid.io’s mission is to help companies manage photos & videos from the jobsite. This is an old, messy problem that’s only gotten messier with the addition of mobile devices, wearables, apps, and drones. We’ve explained how we tackle it with machine learning; next, we’re ditching the abstract, technical mumbo-jumbo and showing live examples of how our Procore integration makes organizing and finding photos & videos easier than ever.

Topics: Machine Learning, Customer Success, AEC Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Industrial Media Management

Tapping into the Power of Construction Photos

At Smartvid.io, we’re obsessed with the concept of “integration.”

From a dictionary standpoint, that means “the combining of parts or elements into a whole.”

From a practical standpoint, that means the very real synergy that happens when teams and data are all connected.

Topics: Machine Learning, Customer Success, AEC Technology

BIM 360 Field Integration Now Available

When members of our team started Vela Systems in 2005, there were very few applications useful to field workers in construction.  Now, we might have the opposite problem; contractors I talk to often complain about “app fatigue.” With such a range of software and hardware available, it’s exhausting for teams to weed out which tools are best for what they actually need -- never mind trying to stay on the cutting edge.

Who is VINNIE? The Backstory on the @Smartvid.io Engine’s Nickname

One of my most memorable conversations, while doing customer research before starting Smartvid.io, was with the COO of a large general contractor. As we discussed ideas for changing photo and video management, he said “Funny you should mention videos - we just got out of a $4M claim by finding a video that showed what was behind the wall.”  I asked him how he tracked it down and he answered “That’s easy: Vinnie remembered. Vinnie always remembers.”

VINNIE has flagged potential missing safety gloves or glasses. Image courtesy of ENR.

Topics: Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence


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Using AI to predict and prevent construction incidents