Social Responsibility Initiative by Department of Electrical Engineering, UiTM during COVID-19 Crisis

QS Higher Education News | April 27, 2020

Due to the current pandemic situation, the management of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) has taken the initiative to set up a disaster operation center in order to ensure that Movement Control Order (MC) is well managed at the university. The disaster operations center is a joint venture of the UiTM Shah Alam Disaster Operation Department together with UiTM Health Centre, UiTM Student Affairs Divison, Auxiliary Police UiTM, and the Office of Infrastructure Development & Infostructure. Two FEE lecturers, Ts. Dr. Mahanijah Binti Md Kamal and Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. (CEng) Mohamad Fahmi Bin Hussin @ Mohamad volunteered to man the 24-hour operation center. The main task of volunteers at the operation center is to be on standby and take turns on an 8-hour daily shift. Besides answering phone calls, the volunteers had to answer inquiries from parents, reporters, and university staff about COVID-19. As there are students still residing on the campus, these volunteers are required to provide the latest information to the parents on the current situation.

Spotlight

Reliable subcontractors who can deliver work on time are vital for keeping any project on budget and on schedule. And choosing the wrong subcontractor introduces risk to
your project that grows exponentially as time goes on. It’s clear that picking the right subcontractor is one of the most important jobs a head contractor does, but it’s also
one of the most difficult. Slow, manual processes can impede your ability to find the right subcontractors, choose the best tender, and effectively communicate with your subcontractors when the project starts.


Other News
CONSTRUCTION

OpenSpace Partners with Shepherd to Offer Reduced Insurance Premiums for Qualified Construction Customers

OpenSpace | June 23, 2022

OpenSpace, the global leader in 360° jobsite capture and AI-powered analytics, announced a new partnership with Shepherd, a commercial insurance provider for the construction industry. OpenSpace customers will have access to the Casualty Pro excess liability insurance offering, which provides qualified contractors with underwriting credits and improved coverage on their Shepherd insurance policies, based on their OpenSpace usage. OpenSpace's easy-to-use Capture product completely documents the site, helping to resolve disputes and speed claims processing. OpenSpace customers also typically have a lower risk profile as a result of their ability to catch potential safety issues and costly mistakes before they happen. "We view the application of jobsite capture as one of the most exciting frontiers in construction risk management, and OpenSpace is the clear category leader," said Shepherd's CEO and co-founder Justin Levine. "Our partnership allows customers to benefit from their OpenSpace usage by introducing data from the platform as a new category in our underwriting approach. Our fundamental belief is that contractors who leverage technology to be safer deserve to be rewarded by their insurance providers." With OpenSpace Capture, builders attach an off-the-shelf, consumer 360° camera to their hardhat and walk the site as they normally would. Once the video from the walk is uploaded to the cloud, OpenSpace's computer vision technology stitches images together and pins all the images to the floor plan, creating a trusted visual record of site status. Powered by the company's Vision Engine, the site image map is typically ready to view in about 15 minutes after upload. Better site documentation leads to stronger collaboration among stakeholders, reduces the need for project managers to travel to site, provides a historical record of progress—and now—can reduce insurance premiums. Over the past few years, we have been thrilled to see how the data OpenSpace helps capture and organize is being used in surprising new ways that impact our customers' business. We're excited to see how that data can help simplify and improve insurance coverage for builders. The industry needs better, smarter, and more cost-effective ways to manage risk and we're proud to partner with Shepherd to make that change a reality." Jeevan Kalanithi,OpenSpace CEO and co-founder About OpenSpace Founded in 2017, OpenSpace is an AI technology company on a mission to bring new levels of transparency and efficiency to construction and real estate. With our platform, builders automatically capture a complete visual record of the jobsite, providing visual data that increases coordination, drives accountability, and simplifies dispute resolution. To date, our customers have used OpenSpace to capture more than eight billion square feet of imagery from active construction projects across thousands of sites in over seventy-six countries.   About Shepherd Founded in 2021, Shepherd is a tech-enabled managing general underwriter providing casualty insurance for middle market commercial construction. Their mission is to make construction safe and sustainable through innovative insurance products.

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ENGINEERING TECH

eInfochips Showcases AI Inferencing at the Edge Solution at Embedded World 2022 with Qualcomm

eInfochips | June 15, 2022

eInfochips, a leading provider of product engineering services, said it will showcase its AI inferencing at the edge solution, developed in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., at Embedded World. The key components of eInfochips' edge solution comprise a camera for video capture, edge computing for face detection, and Amazon Kinesis Video Streams (KVS) for live streaming and alert generation. Amazon KVS makes it easy to securely stream video from connected devices to AWS for analytics, machine learning (ML), playback, and other processing. The AI inferencing at the edge solution leverages eInfochips' Camera Reference Design Kit (RDK), built on the Qualcomm® QCS610 platform. The solution demonstrates eInfochips' capabilities across camera design, edge AI, and IoT. It also showcases the premium high-performance Qualcomm® QCS610 processor's capabilities for delivering on-device edge AI for advanced applications, including smart kiosks, industrial IoT, AI surveillance cameras, AI edge appliances, and more. Global product and technology companies can leverage our solution to accelerate the development and prototyping of vision-based intelligent connected solutions. In addition to working with Qualcomm Technologies to help empower developers with cutting edge IoT solutions, eInfochips also helps companies implement accurate, highly scalable, reliable, and cost-efficient vision-based IoT solutions that leverage state-of-the-art infrastructure." Parag Mehta, chief business development officer at eInfochips Embedded World is an event is to discover the innovations of the embedded sector and meet experts. The event offers the entire spectrum – from components, modules and complete systems to operating systems, hardware and software and services. The event will be conducted in person at Nuremberg, Germany between 21 - 23 June 2022. About eInfochips eInfochips, an Arrow Electronics company, is a leading provider of digital transformation and product engineering services. With over 500-plus products developed and 40 million deployments in 140 countries, eInfochips continues to fuel technological innovations in multiple verticals. eInfochips accelerates time to market for its customers with its expertise in IoT, AI/ML, security, sensors, wireless, cloud, and power. With collaborations across the technology spectrum, eInfochips has developed reference platforms and industry-specific solutions to enable next-generation product development and transformation.

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ENGINEERING TECH

Procore and Shepherd Partner on Casualty Pro to Offer Underwriting Benefits for Top Procore Users

Procore | May 25, 2022

Procore Technologies Inc. a leading global provider of construction management software, announced a new partnership with Shepherd, a startup insurtech based in San Francisco, to begin offering an integrated insurance product that provides improved insurance terms and lower premiums to qualified Procore customers. "Procore’s platform, integrations, data and analytics enable our customers to run safer and more profitable businesses, However, contractors are not typically rewarded by insurance markets for making these risk-reducing investments. And, insurance is one of the biggest costs that our customers are trying to manage. Our partnership with Shepherd offers our customers the insurance coverage they deserve." Tooey Courtemanche, Founder, President and CEO of Procore Shepherd’s mission is to create a safe and sustainable construction industry by providing innovative insurance products to general and specialty contractors which incentivizes the use of technology on job sites. As a Procore portfolio company and App Marketplace partner, Shepherd is offering qualified Procore customers underwriting credits in order to lower premiums, endorsing the idea that technology reduces risk in construction. This program is called Casualty Pro, and starts with Excess Liability, Shepherd’s current product offering. The company plans to expand this program alongside bringing new casualty products to market. A sample analysis of Procore contractors found that the experience modification rates (EMR), which are a standardized metric used in determining worker’s compensation premiums, for the top quartile of general contractors on the platform outperformed those of their peers by 21 percent on average. The same study also saw positive correlation and an average EMR decrease from the time when a contractor adopted Procore to their 2022 results. Similarly, Procore’s recent 2022 Customer Return On Investment (ROI) report, users reported significant benefits in the following areas: safety, quality, efficiency and risk. Safer Jobsites: 79 percent of customer respondents that use Quality and Safety tools agree Procore has improved their company’s safety programs. Improved Efficiency: Customer respondents reported saving an average of 15 days on the overall schedule on a typical project. 80 percent of customer respondents agree they have more protection in a litigation scenario with the data they are tracking/capturing with Procore "At Shepherd we're determined to align the contractor - insurance carrier relationship in new ways. We believe strongly in the power of Procore's platform and the positive impact Procore tools have on jobsite safety, risk management, and loss control. Innovative insurance products, such as Casualty Pro, allow us to underwrite using more inputs and provide opportunities to credit contractors who've adopted the best construction technologies." - Justin Levine, co-founder, chief executive officer of Shepherd Underwriting. "We're introducing Procore usage as a new category in Shepherd's underwriting process because we believe in the positive benefits of the platform on day-to-day risk management and loss control on job sites. We hope this partnership benefits clients who have already taken the important step of implementing technology solutions across their project portfolios," said Steve Buonpane, co-founder, chief insurance officer at Shepherd. The Casualty Pro program is optional for Procore customers and does not guarantee lower premiums. All submissions are subject to underwriting review prior to formal quotations. About Shepherd Shepherd is a tech-enabled managing general underwriter providing casualty insurance for middle market commercial construction. Their mission is to make construction safe and sustainable through innovative insurance products. To learn more about Shepherd, visit their website at www.withshepherd.com About Procore Procore is a leading global provider of construction management software. Over one million projects and more than $1 trillion USD in construction volume have run on Procore's platform. Procore’s platform connects key project stakeholders to solutions Procore has built specifically for the construction industry—for the owner, the general contractor, and the specialty contractor. Procore's App Marketplace has a multitude of partner solutions that integrate seamlessly with Procore’s platform, giving construction professionals the freedom to connect with what works best for them. Headquartered in Carpinteria, California, Procore has offices in the United States, Canada and around the globe.

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ENGINEERING TECH

HFA Architects and Engineers, LaFreniere Architects Form Strategic Alliance

HFA Architects & Engineers | June 17, 2022

HFA Architects and Engineers and LaFreniere Architects are joining forces to help clients seize new opportunities in mixed-use and multifamily residential development. The strategic alliance combines HFA's fully integrated approach to architecture, engineering and construction with LaFreniere's expertise in designing apartments, condos, hotels and other buildings that encourage engagement. LaFreniere Architects was founded by John LaFreniere, AIA, NCARB, Principal, who studied sociology at Cornell University before earning his master's degree in architecture from Harvard. Services include: Full service architectural and interior design Development feasibility studies Site planning and 3D modeling Structural and MEP/FP engineering Permitting assistance Construction administration Collaborating on multifamily projects in New England has already been an immediate win-win for both firms, said Ed Damphousse, an HFA Client Partnerships Lead based in Franklin, Massachusetts. HFA has been able to rapidly accelerate its growth into the mixed-use and multifamily markets, with existing and new clientele, by elevating its expertise through its alignment with LaFreniere Architects. HFA provides LaFreniere with additional horsepower, integrated in-house engineering, and the ability to pursue larger projects in an expanded geography. Working together has been seamless and we are extremely excited about what the future holds for this collaboration." Ed Damphousse, an HFA Client Partnerships Lead based in Franklin, Massachusetts The two entities will continue to operate independently, but their collaborative work will run through HFA's 50-person studio in Franklin, Massachusetts, under the guidance of Aksel Solberg, HFA Development Design Studio Lead, AIA, NCARB, and John LaFreniere, who is based in Cambridge. Additional key team members include HFA's James Owens, Vice President, AIA, NCARB, and Giancarlo Botazzi, Discipline Lead / Sr Structural Engineer, P.E., SECB; as well as LaFreniere Architects' Sadmir Ovcina, a veteran architectural designer.  The multidisciplinary collaboration stands to help developers cope with one of their biggest challenges—rising construction costs, LaFreniere noted. "When you work with a close-knit team with broad-based expertise, you're more likely to have well-coordinated design and construction documents, fewer change orders and a faster process," he said. Integrative collaboration is even more critical now that complex housing engineering systems are set to play a more prominent role, the architect explained. In the Northeast and around the country, tough new building codes call for fresh-air ventilation, unified heat pump systems, extensive building insulation and other changes. "Efficient, integrated engineering has become much more important—you have to make sure these new systems aren't fighting each other," LaFreniere said. "There's a staggering amount of detail that must be thought through during the design process." In addition, the alliance builds proactive cost-containment strategies into the planning process from the outset, Damphousse said. "Right out of the gate, the HFA and LaFreniere teams see these projects as business challenges, not just architectural ones," he said. "The goal is to design the building to the requirements of the pro forma, not 'value engineer' late in the game." But multifamily and mixed-use properties also need to stand out in today's highly competitive marketplace, marked as they are by rooftop decks, hotel-like lobbies, open-floorplan coworking spaces and more, LaFreniere notes. "Today, granite countertops, open kitchens and high-end fixtures are becoming the norm even in entry-level housing," he said. "And in general, common areas need to be much more inviting. We are constantly looking for ways to enliven these experiences and create community. We're also learning valuable lessons about how to execute these strategies cost effectively."

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Spotlight

Reliable subcontractors who can deliver work on time are vital for keeping any project on budget and on schedule. And choosing the wrong subcontractor introduces risk to
your project that grows exponentially as time goes on. It’s clear that picking the right subcontractor is one of the most important jobs a head contractor does, but it’s also
one of the most difficult. Slow, manual processes can impede your ability to find the right subcontractors, choose the best tender, and effectively communicate with your subcontractors when the project starts.

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