There’s no escaping it—technology is all around us, and the metal roofing industry is no exception. Beginning with this issue, we will feature tech products in a new Tech Corner column. Drones, software, and more have the potential to impact your business in a big way.
For our initial installment, we connected with Stephen Shanton of Venture Construction Group (www.venturecon structiongroup.com) for his thoughts on Storm Ventures Group University’s (SVG U) Virtual Reality (VR) Goggles and how they have influenced his business.
First, a bit of background. Shanton is an entrepreneur, advocate, and philanthropist. In 1998, he launched Venture Construction Group, Inc., Venture Construction Group of Florida, Inc., and Alpine Exteriors, Inc. Since then, he has grown his construction/restoration companies in 17 U.S. states and multiple offices around the world.
Metal Roofing Magazine (MR): How did you choose the VR Goggles/system?
Stephen Shanton (SS): We’ve been using the SVG U VR Goggles since their launch in 2019. There are no other options for virtual training in our industry; these are the first. I’ve known Anthony Delmedico, founder of SVG and the VR Training, for over 20 years. He has really ramped up education, training systems, and technology in this industry. We have also enrolled in SVG U to provide more advanced training to our staff.
MR: What improvements have you had since incorporating the Goggles?
SS: The VR Goggles are truly a game changer. They save hundreds of hours in training expenses and time. And all contractors can benefit from training their staff indoors, regardless of weather.
We can train employees and subcontractors how to conduct metal roof inspections, damage assessments, build and recovery processes, all at the click of a button. Our staff is blown away by the interactive training environment. The Goggles also help us continually beat the labor shortage and attract new talent. We use these during interviews, job fairs, career expos, etc., to really send a message about our company culture, too.
We also use the Goggles at trade shows to showcase our projects. This helps us build better relationships with experts; building a network of esteemed peers is an essential aspect of business growth.
We use this technology for our clients as well. We integrate our 3D camera shots into the Goggles to document the entire property, and our clients can “walk through” to review scope and damages, making our communication more interactive. For out-of-state clients, or for customers who don’t have access to their commercial property because of severe storm damage, this is a tremendous asset.
Impact and Influence
MR: What impact have the Goggles had on your bottom line?
SS: The Goggles have definitely increased our profits. They are a massive time-saver across the board, which means massive savings. Time is money. One of the keys to success is automation, and this does it, whether attracting, retaining, hiring, and training new talent; showcasing our projects to our peers; or using with our customers.
MR: Any tips for first-time users?
SS: They’re extremely easy to use. Literally turn them on, point, and click a button. My biggest recommendation for those hesitant in adopting these, and any new tech for that matter, is the “necessity for growth” mindset. As business owners, we have two choices: disrupt or be disrupted. The construction industry is already well behind other sectors in these areas. It is important to utilize the latest technologies to expand your businesses, systemize operations, attract, train and hire new talent, save on overhead, and provide the highest level of services. This is the truest form of industry disruption and a great way to stay ahead of the curve.
MR: What other tech tools are you using?
SS: Last year, we spearheaded a massive renovation at our office HQ and integrated the most advanced state-of-the-art technology on the market across the board at all of our companies. We are equipped with everything we need to provide an advanced level of service.
Our HQ includes a “command center” fully equipped with a large, interactive video wall that livestreams from all of our job sites, monitors radar, and provides real-time tracking of all our emergency services in progress. All of this amazing technology allows us to provide enhanced documentation throughout the entire commercial property restoration process, from A to Z.
I already mentioned we use the Goggles to beat the labor shortage and retain top employees. With its Matterport 3D Camera integration, we can record a 3D view of our job sites to monitor and document construction projects.
We also rely on EarthCam webcam services and 4G LTE TrueLook cameras to provide 24/7 security and time-lapse video on each and every project. This provides enhanced safety, weather, and job site monitoring. We’ve even detected unreported tornadoes and heavy winds with this technology!
For more information on Storm Ventures Group’s Virtual Reality Goggles, visit www.stormventuresgroup.com.