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Helping Builders During the Pandemic: Get OpenSpace Photo for Free.

By Jeevan Kalanithi

March 25, 2020


At OpenSpace, we’ve been thinking hard about how we can contribute to all those who need help during the global COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve been thinking specifically about how we can help those we serve: the builders and developers of this country and their counterparts across the world.

We’ll cut to the chase. OpenSpace has proven really useful to our customers during this crisis: it helps limit job site access to only essential personnel by allowing other stakeholders to track the job remotely—and it does so in a simple, fast, and comprehensive way. At a time when we can’t travel, and we can’t gather in groups, this way of working has become a necessity.

We know our tool is useful, especially now. And we want to support more builders through this crisis.

So we’ve decided to launch a simplified version of OpenSpace. It’s called OpenSpace Photo.

And we’re releasing it for free. Period.

As a technology company, we’re fortunate that we can keep our company running pretty much normally while we are all working from home. Builders do not have this luxury.

You may have heard that the State of California has deemed construction an essential activity. And there’s a lot of work that needs to get done, now. I would assume other states will follow suit—we will see.

So we have been talking to our customers about how they can keep their sites moving with reduced on-site personnel. And where job sites are completely shut down, builders are trying to figure out how they can monitor them while work is suspended. When work starts again, it needs to do so quickly. Having some eyes on the job during the pause is key to making this happen.

 Snippet from an email sent to one our customers' entire workforce

Snippet from an email sent to one of our customers’ entire workforce

All that means our existing customers are leaning hard on tools like OpenSpace right now. We’re seeing a spike in data usage. One of our customers told us that “you guys are like the Zoom for us construction guys.” If you didn’t know, Zoom is a videoconferencing company that is seeing a ton of usage right now.

That Zoom analogy made sense to us. Many key stakeholders (owners, architects, PXs, lenders, engineers, etc.) will need to get used to tracking and managing jobs remotely.

And let’s face it. This might be the new normal for a while.

So, here’s how we thought we could help.

Even before the crisis began to emerge, we had decided to build OpenSpace Photo: a simplified version of OpenSpace that is geared towards smaller projects. (Our existing, fully-featured product for medium to large projects will be called OpenSpace Project.)

OpenSpace Photo is a simple way to capture your site with 360° and mobile phone photos manually pinned to plans, and share them via our Google Streetview-style web interface. We felt OpenSpace Photo is competitive with other photo documentation tools out there, and we thought a lot of builders could benefit from it.

Then the pandemic began.

We decided to announce OpenSpace Photo now, a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. You can get early access here. And we decided to make it free.

We hope OpenSpace Photo makes it easier for more teams to keep their jobs running, and running safely. And by making it free, we hope teams can get moving quickly.

In addition, for both our existing customers and new ones, we are offering free onboarding and training to ensure everyone is comfortable using the tool and accessing and navigating our web viewer.

We’ll have more information on our website in the coming weeks. But we didn’t want to hold up the announcement until that’s done.

We’re here to help however we can. We will work with new and existing customers and support you all to the very best of our ability. You are literally the reason why OpenSpace exists.

This pandemic is tough. It will continue to be tough. In the face of huge, global, sweeping problems, it’s easy to feel powerless. We are fortunate to be in a position to help do a little good, and we stand ready to do so.

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