Acquabella Interview Series | Mario Ortega

Acquabella Interview Series | Mario Ortega

July 2022 | Entrevistas

We spoke in depth with the Managing Director of BIMobject Spain to learn first-hand how he has experienced the industry’s highly accelerated digital transition.

In a new chapter of the Acquabella Interview Series, we welcome Mario Ortega, Managing Director of BIMobject Spain. Three years ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Mario when the BIMobject awards nominated Acquabella as the brand with the best journey following its launch, and we were soon charmed by his innovative spirit and motivation to transform the sector. His passion for architecture led him to train in this field and, for more than a decade, he has been the driving force behind a platform that offers solutions to professionals in the sector. A network that has grown exponentially, and now serves 3 million users and over 2,200 brands. We spoke with Mario to find out how he has experienced the accelerated digital revolution of the last few years.

1. You trained as an architect. What was it that attracted you to the world of architecture? What does architecture mean to you?

Curiously, my approach to the world of architecture was purely casual. However, once I started my training, architecture began to transform my way of understanding reality. My studies, and especially visiting emblematic works, awakened a passion for architecture in me that transcends just its professional practice. Architecture, for me, is a feast for the intellect and the emotions.

2. You have been connected to BIMobject practically since its origins a decade ago. What is your assessment of your career?

Yes, my first contact with BIMobject took place in December 2011. As for my assessment of my career, I would distinguish two sections: a pre-pandemic section and a post-pandemic one. At the beginning, like any start-up, we had scarce resources and a lot of work ahead of us. It was a period that was full of excitement, alongside a strenuous workload. During those years, talking to manufacturers about BIM required a commendable degree of conviction. I contributed my grain of sand in the dissemination of this technological paradigm shift and achieved the first large contracts for BIMobject from Spain. Three years later, in 2015, BIMobject Spain was opened as a subsidiary of the Swedish parent company and I took on the position of Managing Director. Later, we expanded our active territory to Portugal and LATAM, with exponential growth in the number of manufacturers year after year. In 2018, I was awarded a Global position and was appointed SVP & Head of AECO at BIMobject AB. So, I placed my focus on the world of platform users, instead of focusing solely on the area dedicated to manufacturers. At that time, I spent most of my time in Sweden and was a member of the management team. Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented me from travelling and we agreed that it would be best for me to return to my previous position, where I continue to contribute to the commercial and strategic development of our platform.

What is a BIM file?

Architects and engineers use BIM (Building Information Modelling) to create 3D models of a complete, furnished building. BIM is a process that enables the creation of a shared data model. This model is available to all stakeholders, from the building designers to the construction company and, finally, the owners and managers.

3. The pandemic meant that brands accelerated their digital transition. At Acquabella, we utilised the situation to bring our products closer to the public through technology, with tools such as the interactive catalogue and the virtual tour. How have you experienced this revolution at BIMobject?

The pandemic led to adjustments in all companies. We had to prepare ourselves for a scenario of uncertainty in record time. At the same time, we were aware that the standstill of activities in the physical world was conducive to the long-awaited acceleration of the digital transformation in the construction industry. We took advantage of both circumstances to restructure our operating model. We opened a Customer Success Management department to better support our existing customers and, at the same time, we initiated a transition in sales roles to become a SaaS company, with the ability to scale our business to absorb a higher-than-expected volume of demand. This meant we had our own revolution, and now the whole company, in all territories, works in the same way. This gives us a great advantage in terms of optimisation and use of resources for whatever the market might demand.

4. Do you think the construction sector has effectively integrated itself into this new digital scenario?

The construction sector is very broad and diverse. Meaning that, if we are talking about the industry, specifically the manufacturers of construction products and materials, I have only words of admiration. Before I started working with BIMobject, I had my own project office and, as a prescriber, I was familiar with the products of many of the manufacturers that are now BIMobject customers. However, when I started visiting them and learning about their factories and working methods, I was simply fascinated. The world of construction companies is completely different. Of course, there are excellent construction and development companies, but the procedures and technology they use are still at a less technical stage than those used by industrial firms. As for architects, engineers and designers, the picture is even more diverse. There are engineering and architectural firms that are world leaders in the use of BIM, and there are others that continue to believe that it is a passing trend that offers no advantage over CAD. There is still a lot to be done. Fortunately, consistently increasing demands from public bodies and institutions at state and European level to improve the efficiency of processes and the sustainability of projects are helping to promote these new technologies. For its adoption, the digitisation of products and materials is needed to create digital models that simulate the behaviour of projects and their environmental impact before they are built.

5. Is BIM a trend that is here to stay? What are the advantages for both users and brands that have their Marketplace on BIMobject?

In my opinion, I would say absolutely yes. It is very likely that BIM will end up being just the seed of a future technology that is more inclusive of all digital formats. By this, I mean that, parallel to the development of BIM, we have seen the evolution of other technologies such as Virtual and Augmented Reality, 3D Scanning, IoT (Internet of Things), 3D Printing and so on, up to the very current concept of the Metaverse, which proposes an immersive experience in a digital world where many of these technologies work in an integrated way.

BIMobject’s mission is literally “Building a Better World”. We want to help the agents involved in any phase of the life cycle of buildings or infrastructures to have the best digital content available to make their processes more efficient, whether they are involved in the design, construction or even maintenance of buildings. BIMobject is the platform with the largest number of BIM objects on the Internet. And not only that: all the product pages have the information structured in the same way, it is simple to use, and it allows the user to access all the information they need about the product, files, videos, data sheets, etc. You can even contact the manufacturer to request technical support or related commercial information. We have a policy of constant evolution of the platform’s functionalities, based on the feedback we get from users. We currently have more than 3 million users and over 2,200 brands from international manufacturers. We log more than 1.6 million visits and almost 6 million file downloads per month.

Brands benefit from this flow of traffic, enabling their brand to become better known and making their products available to prescribers who insert them as BIM objects in digital models. Manufacturers have tools for analysing the impact of their products in the digital world, with constantly updated information. In addition, they can create their own audiences by filtering their own traffic by country, occupation or product category, among other filters, and create their own marketing campaigns or promote the products they wish to.

6. Finally, what advice would you give to brands that, like Acquabella, have BIM objects and want to stand out?

They should talk with their Customer Success Manager. This department performs monthly, quarterly or annual analyses, depending on the contracted subscription plan, which measure the impact of, in this case, Acquabella’s products, and propose actions to improve it. Sometimes, something as easy as including the translation of the business description in more languages can lead to a considerable improvement in traffic. Other times, the inclusion of more file formats for download is key, depending on the markets of interest. In addition, we have multiple marketing tools to help manufacturers highlight their products on the platform and connect with their target audience.

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