Social media has shown to be a huge part of our everyday lives. In the past few years, businesses have caught on to the trend, reaching more and more customers each day. With all of the major social media platforms dominating the industry, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., Kingspan believes it has created something different.
Recently, Kingspan has been in the beta testing stage of its new program, KINetic. The idea came from a roundtable that the company hosted—the major takeaway being that architects wanted a better way to collaborate with others on ideas and projects. The program is a social media sharing and collaboration platform, designed specifically for architects, specifiers and design professionals. The main purpose of KINetic is to facilitate an open collaboration of ideas during a project design phase and become a valuable interactive platform during project management.
This new platform would allow architects to communicate, share and generate ideas with peers like never before.
“Architects are often asking for resources that will improve the quality of their collaboration,” says Andrea Peters, director of marketing for Kingspan. “[W]e feel like we’re on to something and will be bringing that … in ways not equaled anywhere else.”
How it Works
Once the user is logged into the program, they have the ability to create clusters or projects.
“Each cluster can be labeled with a title, description and privacy level—if it’s public anyone on KINetic can view it, if it’s private, (the user) invites viewers for a private collaboration,” Peters says.
Within these clusters are spheres, or building blocks of ideas. The user can situate the spheres around the clusters, much like a brainstorming web.
The spheres contain ideas, materials, drawings, technical information, questions and other components that are part of the project's progress from initial conception to construction and completion.
As a cluster becomes more popular, with more people adding ideas and comments, it gets bigger to show the users which ideas have generated more interest.
The system will be connected to the company’s Resource Builder, where there are specific materials, such as data sheets and other product information, BIM models, white papers and other valuable resources which can provide insight to product design considerations related to energy efficient structures. This resource repository will be managed by Kingspan and will likely grow with the KINetic system, perhaps being driven in some aspects by the collaboration activities of the users.
The program would be free to use, but the users have to be invited by the company, making KINetic not a completely open network.
Bringing People Together
“Kingspan’s community is the commercial building community, including design professionals, project teams, building owners, installers, managing contractors and others who are stakeholders in commercial building projects,” says Peters. “There is a need for more and better collaboration among all parties from the initial design phases forward. The industry is becoming more complex with material technologies, building codes and competition among manufacturers, so the collaboration needs to become more sophisticated and comprehensive.”
It also needs to be simple. The company provides industry leadership for product technologies and the ability to achieve structures that perform up to or beyond expectations.
A Whole New World
In social media, there are multiple useful purposes being found by users, but much of social media is collaboration for collaboration’s sake, to facilitate relationships among users.
“While KINetic certainly will allow relationships to strengthen, Kingspan focused more on getting things done,” says Peters. “The collaboration which takes place using KINetic should ultimately result in design decisions which create functionally superior projects and project management decisions, which result in better structures, built more rapidly, efficiently and economically.”
In an earlier blog post from Metropolis, KINetic beta tester Lira Luis states that the program reminded her of “a fusion between Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.” She adds that “… it answers a universal emotional need to connect, communicate and create within the architecture community.”
One of the best things about this new program is the visual inspiration it gives architects during the conception phase. It also allows a better use of technical information during a project's design phase.
The company hopes to have a full launch of KINetic by early February but is still in the final stages of beta testing. Needless to say, it’s definitely a program design professionals everywhere are going to want to look out for.