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Builders have always been driven to innovate based on both necessity and a natural inclination to improve comfort, increase safety and enhance aesthetics. Today, technology is advancing faster than at any other point in our history and we are harnessing it for the benefit of our clients and the communities in which we build. 


Oracle Industries

Project: Oracle Industries Innovation Lab  |  Location: Deerfield, IL  |  Owner: Oracle Corporation  |  Architect: Nelson
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Building a lab where the future and present can meet – and keep building

Located on the northwest side of Chicago and scheduled to open in early 2021, Oracle’s innovation lab has already captured international attention. Designed to work off the grid, Oracle's Innovation Lab incorporates 45.6 kW photovoltaic panels with a SolarEdge inverter system and Tesla Powerwall for battery backup. Within the contemporary structure, the work that will take place is expected to advance how we build well into the future. 

Oracle's approach combines the pragmatic with the aspirational. Instead of looking ahead five or 10 years, they believe the future is now. Their space provides immersive experiences to demonstrate Oracle and partner technologies in simulated work environments, as well as a place to test new ideas with the intent of helping bring them to market.

Understanding the magic of innovation happens in the real world, Oracle has treated their construction project as a lab, offering up more than 13 different technology platforms for the team to apply across the project. The tools range from reality capture, to Internet of Things (IoT), to autonomous robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). As their partner, our Pepper team has appreciated the opportunity to explore more technology than we could dream of using on a single project.

Moving forward in tandem

Our companies have been aligned from the beginning, which laid the foundation for honest evaluation and real collaboration. Oracle’s focus on teamwork and transparency creates a unique environment that encourages innovation.

"When COVID turned our world upside-down, we asked Pepper to help find solutions. We have this amazing toolbox at our fingertips. What more can we do with it?" - Burcin Kaplanoglu, Executive Director, Innovation Officer, Oracle Global Business Units

The result: We worked with technology providers on several solutions, like for tracking social distancing, to integrate reality capture data from multiple sources with AI platforms, reducing manual work. 

Our team brought on Faro® for laser scanning, who also introduced Spot® the autonomous dog. Spot® is a quadruped robot developed by Boston Dynamics that's capable of carrying devices for capturing data on construction jobsites. When combined with Faro's Focus laser scanners, we can scan with speed and accuracy while freeing team members to work elsewhere. We also piloted continuous scanning, where Spot® scanned as it walked the site rather than stopping to scan at different points before continuing its journey.

Finding the keys to adoption

Sometimes the fact that an innovative idea solves a problem isn’t enough. We saw some tools readily incorporated into the team’s daily routines, while other tools were limited to specific tasks. What made the difference?



Our innovative approach was featured in Reuter's.

As our part of this project comes to an end, we find ourselves asking how close we are to a breakthrough in how we build. We believe the options for technology, visualization, predictive analytics and automation are at a tipping point. And this project proved it.

Oracle and Pepper will be sharing our experience in a comprehensive case study, with the goal of quantifying the intangible benefits along with tangible metrics. Categories we plan to explore include safety, quality, productivity and more. 


Virtual Reality Safety Training

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In Indiana, we’ve been piloting another safety program, SmartTagIt, which encourages tradespeople to capture and upload video Task Hazard Analyses from their jobsites, so they can identify and discuss different safety hazards.

The software then organizes them into an accessible online resource where people on different project teams across the company can view them and comment. The platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology and natural language processing (NLP) to analyze conversation topics and how effectively safety messages from leadership are received.


To help share the information, Pepper recently introduced external facing project dashboards that are created through an automated process. Now, in lieu of manual reports that become out of date as soon as they are printed, our teams can access this real-time information from virtually anywhere.