iBEAM Construction Cameras

iBEAMiBEAM’s cameras and services make construction site monitoring easy.

By Jim Harris, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

During his years working as an architect, iBEAM Construction Cameras co-founder Tom Allen, AIA, often found himself in situations where the presence of a camera on a jobsite could have made a huge difference.

“Tom would get a call from a project manager trying to describe an issue with a column at the jobsite. He would stop what he was doing and drive to the site, only to find out that there was a miscommunication and the PM was talking about a different column than he thought,” says Vicki Robertson, vice president for the Boise, Idaho-based camera provider. iBeam Info box

“He recognized that if he could see site conditions he could reduce trips to the jobsite, stay updated on the project and have better information about what was going on at the site,” she adds. 

Tom and his wife Jane Allen founded iBEAM in 2001 with the goal of making visual communication from the jobsite a reality. Today, iBEAM offers three types of camera solutions for construction site monitoring:

• The Time-Lapse Pro, a proprietary high resolution camera that captures detailed high megapixel photos and creates 4K Ultra HD time-lapse movies;

• The OnSite Fixed 4K camera, which provides live jobsite video with the widest field of view in the industry, as well as photo archives and 4K Ultra HD time-lapse movies; and 

• The OnSite PTZ 4K, a live-feed video camera with user-controlled pan, tilt and zoom functions, photo archives and 4K Ultra HD video. The camera’s optical zoom ensures no loss of clarity as users zoom in on areas of interest. This camera also has the ability to archive photos of multiple views.

“We provide a selection of cameras for rent or purchase to accommodate the budgets and needs of all types of projects,” Robertson says. “Our cost-effective rental program is ideal for shorter projects and for clients who do not want to invest in camera equipment. Rentals and services are billed monthly, and customers can change or cancel at any time.”

All of iBEAM’s cameras are 4G LTE cellular enabled. In addition to cameras, the company provides all-weather enclosures and alternative power solutions. Cameras are sent to clients fully assembled, preprogrammed and already in their enclosures, making them easy for site personnel to install themselves, a great cost saving for the project.

iBEAM also provides an exclusive web interface that gives users immediate access to the imagery captured by its cameras. “We designed the interface to be very easy and intuitive to use,” Robertson notes. 

Visual Proof

iBEAM’s cameras are primarily used for photo documentation of a project. In addition to live video, the cameras take a picture of a location every 10 minutes that users can access on their phone or computer. Other photo schedules are available depending on camera or project needs. “Our cameras are used to build a record of a project,” Robertson says.

“Clients use our cameras to substantiate weather delays on a project and resolve disputes,” she adds. “For example, you can see if a subcontractor was on a job on a certain day, and supervisors can use cameras to make sure crews are there when they say they will be. If a dispute goes into litigation, they have proof of work that was done.”

One of the company’s recent customers, Facility Builders & Erectors, Inc., used iBEAM Time-Lapse Pro cameras while building the $8 million Aemerge RedPak facility in Hesperia, Calif. The cameras enabled the contractor to share daily progress with its clients and office team, and gives future clients an overview of the project and the company’s capabilities. 

The Aemerge RedPak facility converts high-volume, low-density, infectious medical waste into high-density, sanitized char that can easily be placed in a landfill. Treated metals and glass are recycled. Facility Builders & Erectors’ work included site preparation, foundation work, erecting a four-story structural steel infeed structure, and installing processing equipment including a 103-foot–long carbonizer, a thermal oxidizer and a silo.

iBEAM cameras were also used during the recent construction of a parking garage on the University of Southern California campus. The 1,300-space parking garage serves the $700 million USC Village residential and retail complex and the Shrine Auditorium. 

USC used the camera solution to check progress at the site because the project is eight miles away from the project manager’s office, located on a separate campus. Archived photos were used in weekly progress meetings to illustrate work that had been completed. Additional photos were downloaded monthly to supplement progress photos taken by the contractor, USC Senior Project Manager H. Rick Sendele notes. 

Cameras are also often used during school construction projects to take progress photos that are shared with the community.  

Another recent iBEAM customer saved $90,000 on a project after using a camera to verify that a subcontractor had not performed work. “The value in our cameras is in the ability to look back and see what has or hasn’t been done,” Sales Manager Sara Harris says. “It’s great for accountability.”

iBEAM cameras help create valuable marketing materials, including photos and time-lapse movies that can be used on company websites and social media. “Time-lapse movies can be used during training to show employees different processes, and we’ve also seen them used at trade shows,” Robertson says.

Seeing the Difference

There are a number of differences between iBEAM’s cameras and typical security cameras sometimes seen on a construction site. The first of these is the quality of the images iBEAM cameras produce. The company recently transitioned to cameras with a minimum 4K resolution, which allows for greater detail in movies and photos and more editing possibilities for time-lapse movies. “We start with cameras that have superior quality optics to produce photos with more detail, particularly in low light or shadows,” Robertson says.

All iBEAM cameras use a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, which allows images and videos to display properly on modern computer screens. Images from iBEAM cameras are also saved for a longer period of time than on a standard security camera. “Security cameras typically save information for only a short period of time,” she adds. “Our cameras save information for a longer period of time – for example, you can have a photographic record of an entire project going back five years or more.”

iBEAM cameras and enclosures are designed to withstand real-world job site conditions. Optional solar power kits are custom-sized for each project to ensure power year-round. “We want to make sure our cameras are going to work as well in January as they do in July; solar kits must be properly sized to  power the cameras consistently,” Robertson says. “We look at our clients’ location, weather conditions and hours of sunlight instead of taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach.” 

In addition to solar power kits, the company offers a 12-volt power supply that can be charged by a generator, as well as a standalone 12-volt battery kit for shorter projects. Solar-powered mobile trailers are also available for the cameras.

The company backs each of its cameras with a lifetime warranty and 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee. If a customer is not happy with their camera, it may be returned or exchanged for a full refund within the first 30 days. 

Adding Value

iBEAM continues to expand its offerings. “We are growing because cameras are now so well accepted in the industry; we’re reaching the point where cameras will be standard on every job site,” Robertson says. “We are always introducing new features, upgrading our cameras and introducing higher-resolution cameras as they become available.”

The company seeks feedback from its customers before introducing a new product or feature. “iBEAM was started to fill a real-world need, and everything we have done along the way is based on that,” Robertson says. “We don’t introduce products and features because we can; we do it because it adds value to our customers and is based on what they’re looking for.”

For more information about iBEAM camera solutions and to see cameras in action, visit www.ibeamsystems.com or call 800-403-0688. 

SIDEBAR – Client Feedback

“Our executives were amazed that a camera running on solar power and a cellular modem could be set up to capture the progress of the building, and they watched in fascination on their digital signage displays as work progressed. [iBEAM’s] entire team has been wonderful from start to finish, and we have used and reused the images and time lapse movies within our leadership and internal corporate videos.”

- Bruce Dowdy, Guthy Runker

“We use the cameras every week in our team meetings to look at the sites live and everyone on the team can really get a sense of what is going on and the progression of the project. Our project manager also uses the cameras on a daily basis to confirm that we have contractors on site and work is progressing as scheduled.”

- Tiffany Leon, Wall Development Group

“Time-lapse video helps us illustrate how fast modular buildings are installed. It’s quite dramatic to see a building being installed in a few days as opposed to a few months with conventional construction. We also use the cameras to document how our modular buildings are assembled. It can be hard for our customers to visualize how 24 modules fit together like Legos to create a building. Time-lapse video allows us to capture the installation so the customer understands the process.”

- Darleen Sita, Modspace

“Here are some of the more frequent use of our cameras that come to mind: the owner keeping an eye on the project site via live streaming; documentation on progress made on certain dates; safety or security footages after an incident; monitoring weather conditions and time-lapse videos.”

- Joe Tan, Devcon Construction

 

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