Innovation in robotics provides endless opportunities for improvements in the construction industry. Before that happens, there must be someone to realise its potential and make it accessible to others.
We spoke with Guy German, CEO of smart robotics company Okibo, to learn more about how his passion with technology drives him as a pioneer in construction robotics. His company is a gold medalist of 2020 Construction Startup Competition by Cemex Ventures, Ferrovial, Hilti, Lepnard, Saint Gobain.
Tell us about your background before getting into construction robotics. How did your passion for robots come into being?
I was interested in computers, electronics and robotics from a very young age. I love SciFi and always imagined myself working in the high tech industry. I then learned computers and robotics in High School and later majored in Electrical Engineering.
Tell us about OKIBO, when and how you decided to start a business, which part of the industry it primarily serves.
OKIBO started when a construction company approached us, interested in automating their swimming pools fabrication process. We studied the construction industry needs for several months and eventually they became our first pre-seed investor and we started OKIBO as a construction robotics company.
Some would argue that the rise of robots is eliminating jobs as it replaces human in many parts. What is your view on the case of construction?
That is an unfortunate misconception.
Firstly, there is a growing shortage of skilled professionals in the construction industry. In the next decade 40% of the workers are expected to retire. The population is aging and the demand for workforce increases.
Robots, automation and industrialisation improves productivity and creates jobs. It's not a zero sum game - they increase the pie. This was the case in every industry that was transformed by automation, in history, and this will be the case for the construction industry. More houses will be built and it will create many more jobs. Just not the same kind of jobs, but rather ones that are more suitable for younger generations.
Robots excel in repetitive tasks in a controlled environment, construction sites are the exact opposite. How would Okibo prove robots could take on these challenging tasks?
We are already proving it :) If you are a General Constructor in Europe we invite you to request a demo.
OKIBO is headquartered in Israel. How is the appetite for construction tech in Israel compared to other countries?
Israel construction industry scale is relatively small compared to other countries, so it is not our target market. We are currently focused on the European market.
The most useful and most useless talent you have
The most useful is my accumulated experience in developing complicated products and leading development teams.
The most useless one is my ability to move my ears.
Three first things you would do when you get to the office
- Say Hi to everyone
- Make a cup of coffee
- Open my calendar
Something that makes a person look cool to you.
Wearing Jeans and T-Shirt in a conference.
An accomplishment you’re most proud of.
My 3 kids.
Three things you’re eager to change
Climate change, world hunger and world peace.
11. What would your perfect weekend be like? Is it also the reality for you?
Relaxing with the family. Yes.
Learn more about Okibo.
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