Meet the Team: Eliot Foster, Product Manager

We caught up with our Product Manager, Eliot Foster, to learn more about his experience, what he looks forward to developing at FYLD, and where he sees the future of AI technology progressing…

Q: What attracted you to the position at FYLD?

I have spent my entire career working in the construction industry and have a deep appreciation of how the industry works, the reality of day to day out on site and the potential for the industry’s future. When bringing in new safety measures and regulation, in all industries, it is typically assumed that productivity will dip as everyone gets used to the new guidelines.

However, FYLD enables efficiency from the get-go, creating a safe and productive space for progressing industry standards, that’s what really drew me to FYLD in the first instance.

With my experience in the construction sector, I understand the individual users and the group dynamics of workers involved in fieldforce teams and how to balance that huge excitement from some, coupled with initial reluctance from others who are not so comfortable with change.

I also really enjoy building things – from bridges and civil works in my early career to tech products and AI platforms later on. In my role as Product Manager, I get to combine my expertise from first-hand roles in industry as well as my operational, product-focused engineering skills. I immediately saw the value of an AI-driven platform like FYLD and couldn’t pass up the chance to be involved in transforming operations for so many field workers.

Q: What are the key responsibilities of your role as Product Manager?

I am responsible for making sure our team is continually developing the FYLD technology to ensure our customers deliver substantial benefits from our products.  I improve features for our customers, strengthen our AI engine by defining specific industry problems that data can solve and ensure the app is really easy and efficient to use.  Essentially, I continue to drive forward FYLD’s overall objective: to be the leading digital tool transforming the safety and productivity of field force operations.

On a day-to-day level, I manage stakeholder expectations, work with our designers and engineers, to design, build and test our technology to ensure its always delivering results beyond our customer’s expectations.

Q: Which area of FYLD’s technology are you most looking forward to developing both for the company and personally?

For the company, I’m excited to develop deeper AI predictions, which is the machine learning aspect of the FYLD platform. There is understandably a lot of estimations in utilities and in the wider construction sector but being able to accurately predict factors such as job and task duration, potential safety hazards and allocation of personnel is a game changer for Project Managers. Imagine how much easier detailed project planning, resource planning and staying on budget would be!

Sourcing and analysing this granular data is vital for progressing our algorithms and practices – it’s a circular process. We need the data to make the predictions, which improve the platform interface with the increased user engagement ultimately improving the AI. We keep open channels of communication with all our customers to get their insights and feedback to help develop the technology, this is really helping us as we continue to grow and expand into new sectors.

Q: What in your opinion are the biggest challenges that the digital transformation and AI industries faces now and in the future?

I think the first big challenge is cutting through the noise. There are lots of point solutions that are needed for different tasks, but nothing that addresses holistically how field operations are carried out. Our customers complain about the complexity this brings to their workflows.

A second key challenge lies in adoption of the technology. We’re finding many solutions that weren’t designed with the field worker’s day in mind.  These types of solutions come with a large learning curve for field workers and often a need to change how they go about their jobs each day. It is really important that new technology solutions benefit field workers and are super easy to use.

FYLD was built with the field worker for the field worker – it uses user friendly, simple interfaces to make sure the platform is accessible for all. Its usability shows up in all user stats and customer testimonials.  Simple is better – no one wants to use an overly engineered app!

Q: Why do you think the innovative technology FYLD has developed is key to transforming safety and productivity, and how do you predict this will continue?

A typical and outdated thought in many industries is that you can either be safe or be productive – one comes at the sacrifice of the other. Before FYLD, safety was often seen as a checkbox exercise, performed in vans and huts away from the work site, with no active thinking required.  FYLD has changed safety fundamentally and impacts how people behave. As a manager – if a risk review ever even made it to you – you could look at the same sheet and tick boxes every day, and not really connect with what field teams are experiencing.

FYLD changes that completely through its use of video and audio data, changing paper-based tasks into a video, photo and audio experiences that saves time for field workers and their managers from Day 1, and also creates a true picture of what is happening on site. The productivity opportunity this presents is huge and already proven out with SGN where we have a new Innovation Partnership underway targeting £13m of savings annually!

Products like FYLD will completely change the landscape of how companies run their field based operations in the next few years – I am really excited to be part of creating this future.