Blog (Case Study)

Transforming collaboration through a custom voice assistant

Voice technology is relatively new to Suffolk Construction, but widely recognized as a potential operational game-changer for business efficiency.

RAIN Staff

Voice technology is relatively new to Suffolk Construction, but widely recognized as a potential operational game-changer for business efficiency. While there are long-term ambitions to integrate voice into day-to-day large construction site operations, RAIN partnered with Suffolk to begin their efficiency-focused voice agenda in a location that was already built: “CoLab,” the innovation and collaboration hub of the company’s Boston headquarters.

To do this, RAIN created a branded voice assistant, “Hey Louie,” that reflects the Suffolk brand and orchestrates its state of the art innovation lab, launched in summer 2021. Louie’s namesake honors the trailblazing American architect, Louis Sullivan, a Bostonian also known as the “Father of Skyscrapers.” 

Louie lives in a custom hardware solution, a custom smart display that allows for voice-first input paired with visual complements. But while Louie’s brain may be accessed on a device, his brain lives in the cloud, and his actions and outputs are displayed on the CoLab’s immersive video walls. 

Through an integration with Suffolk’s data infrastructure, Louie is capable of delivering real-time insights on any of the firm’s many construction projects underway. Just by asking, CoLab meeting participants can call up project data points, charts, and live video feeds. We also implemented a dual-wake-word system, providing an option to bifurcate the experience for clients and internal teams to deliver varying levels of data access. 

To drive adoption, it was critical to prioritize use cases that would provide tangible valuable at launch, with a priority on accessing real-time information and providing external visitors with handy FAQs and onboarding to the CoLab experience. In the future, Louie will look to expand on its initial utilities to support broader use cases for collaboration, not to mention eventually venturing out of the four walls of HQ and onto the job site.

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