Shhh! They’re a startup that’s still in “stealth mode” and haven’t unveiled their product yet, so keep this just among us… LINQ construction software is hoping to reshape the construction workflow process by making it simpler, more intuitive and more productive.
Founded in January 2018, LINQ was formed in a Silicon Valley new business incubator funded by Stanley Black & Decker. Before writing one line of code, the LINQ team interviewed, shadowed, and worked with hundreds of industry professionals from owners to trade apprentices with the goal of understanding and targeting true industry problems. LINQ’s voice-controlled information management software is rather unique since it is intended to be a well-used tool by construction workers in the field, even more than those professionals working in the office.
While voice-activated search and keyword search are not new tech features, LINQ is hoping to improve the experience of finding what you are working for with a powerful construction-focused search engine that is built for the industry.
“Ours is an intent-based search,” says Kevin Soohoo, Head of Growth for LINQ. “All of the construction information we index is interlinked. We create these relationships automatically. Say it’s a mechanical contractor, our intent-based search understands construction context and knows that in this case, ‘AC’ means air conditioning rather then Asphalt Contractor, and also that a mechanical schedule, specification section and submittal are all relevant pieces of information when searching for the type of air conditioning units being installed.”
But why is voice-activated search, combined with intent-based search, such a winner? Because it removes worker obstacles, Soohoo says.
“We see that feature as an equalizer… That way, workers who are tech-averse can just ask the question. Just like you do on your phone,” Soohoo says.
Part of the idea behind the tool is for it to be a central source of information for subcontractors, rather than them having their efforts and energies scattered from searching for documents in a few different places.
“Subcontractors don’t have a system they can call their own. Now with our solution, they don’t have to go looking in different disconnected information silos, because we’ve linked all the information together,” Soohoo says.
Unlike other architecture engineering and construction (AEC) software companies, LINQ’s solution was not developed independent of the professional insight of seasoned construction professionals. LINQ’s leaders all have experience in construction and understand the workflows, pain points and obstacles impeding productivity on and off the job site.
“We’ve tried building with, not for, the construction industry,” Soohoo says. “We’ve got both large and small trade contractors using LINQ right now for our beta tests, and many more coming in the next few months before our full launch this fall.” This feedback loop has been critical to prioritizing features in LINQ and ensuring the product will become a useful tool – especially for field trade workers.
The unspoken shame of some in the construction industry is that many projects—even very large projects run by the most prominent companies—are still stuck in a paper-based world. Workers continue to use methods they learned early on and with which they are most comfortable.
“Many job sites are still being run by paper,” Soohoo says, adding that the fact says something about the software being used. “There is not enough good software being used on the job site at the trades level.”