Industry series interview: Thomas Gröninger-Swietelsky

We had the pleasure of speaking with Thomas Gröninger from Austrian construction company Swietelsky AG. Thomas shared his insights on the transformative role of technology in the AEC sector, the challenges of digital adoption, and the future of sustainable practices.

Can you share a bit about your journey in the AEC technology industry and how you got started?

I started my journey as a site manager for infrastructure projects. I m really open minded regarding new technologies and Lean Construction. I had a lot of processes which costed me a lot of time and effort. I started to optimize construction processes to have a smoother and more efficient workflow doing my job as a site manager. After that I switched to a full time job doing this for different topics like for Mapping and BIM. I build up different groups and business units in a large construction company for digitalization to bring that mindset and technologies international. It’s like a digitalization fever. Until you see business unit working digital on their own, it is the proof that you did all right.

How has technology transformed the way projects are conceptualized, planned, and executed in the AEC industry during your career?

The most influence was or is BIM. As an requirement on some market in public tenders, there is no question if we want to transform. We have to!

Other technologies are improving the efficiency of some part of the construction process which makes it faster and in higher quality.

As someone deeply involved in AEC tech, what challenges have you encountered, and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenge is the human challenge. The mindset and the fear to loosing competence while implementing digital tools and technologies. You need to understand different languages spoken on site, management, c-levels, etc. You need to translate your knowledge in different languages (I don’t talk about real language 😊)

Considering the current technological advancements, where do you see the future of AEC technology heading in the next 5-10 years?

Very clear for me. A.I. machine learning, deep learning. Robotics. Look at the development of robotics. Take as an Example that Robo-Dog. Technical that machine works. But there are not really use cases on site, because this dog is lacking in intelligence. Some companies are using it for their image but its fake.

Collaboration is crucial in AEC projects. How have collaborative tools and platforms evolved, and what role do they play in enhancing project efficiency, especially with diverse stakeholders like designers, engineers/surveyors, project managers and client owners?

You are talking about BIM. Let’s say the people are still in a learning curve. Depends also on the market we are looking to. Germany e.g. ist political on a high digitalization level, but the reality in a project can be the complete opposite. Paper, Emails, Letters, no CDE, etc. Some international project sometimes have some really high level communication platforms but it is more an exception then a standard.

Sustainability is a growing concern. How do you perceive the role of AEC technology in promoting sustainable practices within the industry?

For me sustainability is really important. I m also following that topic in my private life.

So many technologies are combined with sustainability. Look at GIS. We measure some Geodata on a project and can use it with GIS also in 5 years for a another project. Same for geological investigations and other Data. I remember an example where a university analysed how often the same wall is measured on a construction site because the people don’t share information.

At the moment sustainability is more a politcal issue, but we need to bring that understanding and knowledge to everyone on the construction industry.

With the rise of BIM (Building Information Modeling), how do you think it has impacted the design and construction phases of AEC projects, and what do you anticipate for its future?

For Building it is more developed then for infrastructure projects. So for infrastructure projects, the designers are not really delivering or working with BIM. Why? Because they have not the requirement from the clients. Because to design in BIM is more expensive then to design in old school way. Somebody who is responsible for the lifecycle of a building needs to pay for it.

As technology advances, there’s often a learning curve for industry professionals. How can the AEC sector ensure a smooth transition for its workforce into more tech-driven practices?

Step by Step and with different translations for different levels. The next generation will expect that tech driven workflows. Otherwhise they wont decide for a job in the construction industrie.


Are there any specific trends or emerging technologies in AEC that you find particularly exciting or promising for the industry’s future?

A.I. is for many people just a marketing flop, because currently it is not really A.I. It is a littlebit deep learning with not really good results. But in the future we can expect here a big change.

Looking beyond technology, what cultural or mindset shifts do you believe are necessary for the AEC industry to fully embrace and capitalize on technological advancements?

On the one hand we need to get an open minded basis on site to bring technologies to the construction process. On the other hand we have an average age of over 40 years on site and not everyone is familiar using new technologies. New staff is coming is learning the old way. We need to educate young people before they start their on site. The older generation we need to inform, train and pull into the new processes. Not push, pull! If you push, you’re doing the top down mistake.

How do you see the role of technology in bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds within the AEC industry, and what impact do you think this connection will have on project development and execution?

It is needed to offer trainings and to be able to offer personal support to step into the digital world. How children learn do cycle? You explain it to them and then you assist them until they can manage it themselves. Same with the gap between physical and digital world.

Lastly, reflecting on your career, what advice would you give to young professionals entering the AEC technology field today?

Go first on a construction project and learn and feel the process to get an understanding of construction requirements. Then take your knowledge and try to think different and optimize processes. It’s the same like the McDonald brothers did it. They lived the conventional restaurant process and optimized it. That’s Lean. And Lean is not something which everyone needs to learn, it is just a personal attitude.

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Infrakit’s products are ready for the Olympic Games with the version 3.9.0!


Infrakit’s products are ready for the Olympic Games with Search and a New look in the version 3.9.0!

Yes, you heard right, our products are ready for the Olympic Games in Paris, which are approaching fast! Where do we compete you might ask? Decathlon!

Javelin, running, BIM, As-built & fleet management, orthophotos, photo & file management, mass hauls, you name it! Take us to the site, that works! Surveying tasks, not a problem!

Hmm, well maybe not javelin and running, but you’ll get the joke I guess 😀

Jokes aside, this new version we just released is a crazy one indeed, our fabulous R&D team has done so many improvements it was brutal practice to pick just a few highlights out of it. But our CEO told me to have just 3 best ones so that you won’t get bored with my blogs (he really cares about you all clearly, saving you from my long stories!), so here they are!

It looks better and it works better with the SEARCH!

I am sure this one has not gone without notice from you, as we took the whole Infrakit to the barber and bought some new clothes, and now it looks much fresher! You cannot attend the Olympic Games without looking like an athlete, right? Not especially if they are in the most fashionable country on earth, France (I am sure our French team agrees 100% on that statement 😉)!

But hey, looks don’t win the games, what does, is how it works! And oh boy this you all have been waiting for. Finally, Infrakit has a SEARCH FUNCTIONALITY! Need to find that one photo of pipe networks months ago… where was it… no more those moments with the search. 😉

And hey, regarding the look, there are many things I want to show you, so maybe we just skip the talk and look at the new buttons and floating dialogs! Here is how they look ->



Megaprojects run smoother than ever now!


Keeping the Olympic Games hype now up as we ended up there -> Think about how much they needed to build new Infrastructure in Paris to facilitate the modern-day Olympic Games… That must be a megaproject itself. This huge stack of new features and optimizations we built for megaprojects to work smoothly did not yet help Paris so much as we just released it, but maybe Los Angeles and the Olympic Games hosts in the future could benefit from it! 😊

What are the things we did then to help megaprojects benefit more from Infrakit, you may ask? I’ll drop a few of them for you: We made it possible to filter docs and images by their custom properties, we optimized point cloud rendering to facilitate huge ones operating nicely, watermarks for images, slopes of 3D lines, flow direction arrows for 3D’s, downloading huge amounts of contents in ZIP without folders, BIM and file browsing speed optimizations… Okay maybe it is easier, if I just drop you the list of release notes here and let you see these things in a video!

And by the way, as we spoke about infrastructure in Paris Olympic Games, they did something spectacular there, by building disadvantaged communities in mind! Talk about sustainable construction! Read about it here

FIELD reporting!


Okay, enough of the Olympic Games, more of the everyday construction. What is the thing that everyone knows needs to be done, but is not maybe the most loved part of work? Yeah, I heard 90% of you said the same, reporting. But it still needs to be done. And especially if you are the one receiving the reports, you definitely know those are crucial!

If talking of precisely reporting on the construction site, our decathlon athlete has a solution for you now in there as well! Our external document feature enables you to have report workflows with the Infrakit FIELD app in so many ways it is hard to tell just one, but one thing is sure -> with this you can make reporting easy and accessible through Infrakit! I’ll show a few ways of it in a video!


Bolstering Trucks page improvements

Talk about receiving some vital information from the running fleet and where they are at the moment when you are running a marathon in Olym… What is wrong with me… I meant to say vital information from your TRUCK fleet… Certainly my Finnish head has not gotten used to this early summer heats in May.

Oh well but hey, do not let the messenger ruin the message! Our superstars from the Mission Control room did some magic for the Trucks page as well, as we can now introduce a few certainly great features: Infrakit Trucks can now trace not only the trips from Load to Unload, but also everything in between, so return trips! This feature we though have behind project settings, so you won’t scare yourself by thinking you have started to see things double after our new release… so let us know if you want it on!

On top of that, we made some great improvements on both downloading data from the page and creating Truck areas through area calculation tool in Map page, see how these work from this video!

Oh wait… What happened to that 3 Highlights… Well, I tried, what can you do when there is so many great new things… Well, I hope you still enjoyed your time reading these rather light-hearted stories of our new features and I especially hope you enjoy using them in your work!

As I mentioned, this was the maximum I can share again, so, it would be very smart from you to check everything we have listed in our release notes, in case there was something great developed that I just did not end up talking here on the blog!

See more in release notes

Jere Syrjälä
May 28th, 2024

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Employee interview: Sarah Meronen, User Experience Lead

I had the pleasure of discussing user experience work at Infrakit with Sarah Meronen, our UX Lead. Sarah is a member of our Product team at Infrakit HQ.

Sarah, could you tell us what does your regular day consist of, or is there such a thing as a regular day?

It really depends on what I’m working on – and which product of ours. Sometimes I’m more design focused, those days I will spend most of my time in Figma and going back and forth with people on feedback. Focusing on research, I could be setting up user tests, analysing data in spreadsheets, and the like.

What got you interested in UX?

I always enjoyed making websites and creating art growing up. When I was working construction after finishing high school, I looked up what types of jobs could be done with the web and found „UX“, so I signed up for design school.

What’s the most exciting part in user experience work?

For me, that I get to be hands on in the full depth of what ux work is – from understanding a problem, researching, designing, testing.

What’s something that people don’t know about UX but is very critical in your work?

UI (user interface) does not equal UX, but UI is a part of the UX. Focusing purely on UI can mean missing opportunities that go beyond the surface level.

If we think about product and R&D functions in general, we still don’t have enough diversity in those. Many girls don’t really have role models to look up to in coding, for example. What would you say to young women interested in your field of expertise?

UX careers are more balanced than other fields in STEM if I do a quick google search. And I’d say that is mostly my experience in recent years. I think its important for young women, especially, to have confidence in their work and their worth. Also, finding someone you can relate to and confide in helps your career in so many ways. I have worked with wonderful people who have helped increase my confidence and given great resources to learn with, from managers to a more senior ux researcher who left a lasting impact.

Annika Helisvaara, HR Manager
May, 2024

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