Concourse Federal Turns 2D Drawings Into 3D Visuals: A Boost For Interior Designing

Zinger Key Points
  • With CHPS360, you have the ability to see exactly what the space is going to look like before it is actually built.
  • Concourse Federal's goal is to have CHPS360 packaged as a shrink-wrapped software you can purchase and use on your own.
Concourse Federal Turns 2D Drawings Into 3D Visuals: A Boost For Interior Designing

“For the most part, things never get built the way they were drawn.”

That’s what Maya Lin, one of the most innovative artists of the last century, once said. She’s best known for merging the conceptual and natural worlds, evidenced through works such as the once-controversial, albeit highly-visited Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Concourse Federal Group, the creator of the design tool CHPS360, seeks to take the abstract and turn it into tangible structures that get built the way they were drawn. To learn more, Benzinga spoke with Geoffrey Perkins, the president of the group. The following text was edited for clarity and concision.

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Q: Want to kick it off with an introduction?

Perkins: I am a retired Air Force officer. My last assignment was at the Pentagon, and I was the chief architect for human resources – doing their IT systems – and it was challenging. Fast forward to the 2008 recession, I was let go, and, based on my network from the Air Force, I landed a job as the CIO for the Air Force Aid Society. Later, I met my partner, Tom Shea, and we started Concourse Federal Group in 2009.

What is Concourse Federal Group?

When we started Concourse Federal, we were focused on government real estate, such as privatized military housing. We were doing what they call enhanced-use leasing (EUL) and helping the Department of Veterans Affairs build homeless housing for veterans. That’s what we’ve been doing since 2009, but it became a smaller niche.

In 2018, we added what’s called IOTA (Initial Operating Transition and Activations), and hired some of the best. Overall, we knew we wanted to do something different and shake up the industry. We saw a big opportunity to automate processes. It’s been a lot of pen and paper, and some computerization. We saw an opportunity to build a state-of-the-art system that would go end-to-end for the IOTA.

Can you go more in-depth on this state-of-the-art system?

We get these Revit models from the architects that designed the buildings. Usually, what they do is just print out two-dimensional floor plans and show the client, which is hospitals in most cases. These are doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, pharmacists – you name it – looking at these plans and trying to figure out how to lay all the equipment out. It doesn’t work very well because they’re not trained to really understand floorplans. So, we sought to make it three-dimensional and interactive.

Is CHPS360 a tool that makes the models 3D and interactive?

That’s what it has really done. It’s been embraced by the community we work with. Now, you have the ability to see exactly what the space is going to look like before it is actually built. We make it interactive.

For instance, through user group meetings we host, if a doctor wants to move equipment, we do it on the fly and the changes are saved back to the Revit models. So, now, the architect knows that’s where the bed is going to go.

How big is the team you built this with?

It’s a really slim team. We were bootstrapping and building a few projects, at the start, that enabled us to invest more money into this.

How much does something like this cost to make?

We’re probably close to seven figures in development costs. Those costs you are going to bear no matter what. While the upfront costs of developing this software are steep, it will pay for itself in the next couple of years.

Where do the costs come from?

Most of the people we have internally working on this are salaried employees. We’re going to pay them no matter what. It’s just a matter of what we’re going to have them focus on.

Beyond having to meet with potential users, can this platform be licensed or provided to customers for use on their own?

Right now, we drive the user meetings and software. Our goal is to turn it over to a customer and they would be able to manipulate it the same way we do. We’re trying to automate the setup process – taking the architect's Revit model and porting it into CHPS – which takes a bit of time.

Our goal is to have this as a shrink-wrapped software you can purchase and use on your own.

Would this be a one-time cost for users or a recurring subscription?

We’re still working through how to price it. Potentially a subscription service.

Separately, when doing much larger projects, we do more than what is just provided by CHPS. We’ll help facilitate the purchase, storage, and installation of equipment.

How will you warehouse the equipment?

We end up leasing warehouse space closer to the project. We’ll lease up to a year in advance of project completion. The equipment comes in and we have colleagues that unpackage it and train end-users on how to use the equipment.

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How do inflation and supply chokepoints impact your business?

The supply chain issues have been very challenging. It really impacts us with respect to timing. What we have to do is make sure we understand the lead time and focus on important milestones so we don’t miss those critical dates.

How do you scale this idea?

We’re meeting industry clients we have relationships with. We show them, get feedback, and make improvements.

That’s step one. The true test is whether there are big architecture and engineering firms we can team with or sell to. Then, they would use CHPS on all their projects, going forward.

What things did you learn while in the military that you still use today?

The software takes much longer to develop than you ever thought it would.

Testing is critical, and you got to do end-to-end testing. So many times people will test individual modules, and they work great. But, when you put all the modules together, you got to make sure they’re talking to each other.

As schedules slip, the one thing that gets cut is the testing time. So, we said we’re going to guard against that and make sure we test software from end-to-end and make sure it works.

I think security is critical, too, and we’re making sure that we have multi-factor authentication, among other things.

Any competitors?

We focus on healthcare and there are not many others that do the same.

Looking into the future, where do you want to be?

We really want to team up with a lot of architecture firms. We think the earlier we get involved in the process, the more of a positive impact we can have on the schedule. Beyond that, we think this same technology can be used in office space, as well as airports and transportation hubs.

What keeps you motivated?

Our mission is to help veterans. Most of our work is with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and helping veterans get the healthcare they need and deserve.

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Posted In: CHPS360Concourse Federal GroupGeoffrey PerkinsInterview