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Smart map, Smart city

Smart maps, smart construction, smart communities from a Ukrainian developer.

We are pleased to present a new interview with Yuriy Shchyrin, CEO and founder of The Agency of Industrial Marketing (AIM) conducted by Oleksandr Pupena, associated professor of the department of automation control, National university of food technologies, member I4U.

Oleksandr Pupena: I invited Yuriy Shchyrin to the conversation, he will tell us more about himself, we met at a joint event, I was interested in the topic Yuriy presented there, and we agreed to talk in more detail. So, Yuriy, please introduce your project and yours.

Yuriy Shchyrin: I am the director and founder of AIM Group, a research company that has been analyzing industrial markets since 2005. We mainly like complex markets – engineering, technology markets, construction markets, construction technologies, not only in Ukraine but all over the world. The company group includes a software development company, AIM Solutions, as well as AIMap. AIMap is our product company that has developed a software product, a symbiosis of a geographic information system, smart map of construction and registers of everything that has been built, is being built, is planned for construction. The group also includes a financial advisory and audit company and several other areas. I believe that everything related to the digital economy simplifies our lives, automates our routine, allows us to free up time, have more leisure for creative work, self-expression, and the realization of our talents. My dream is to create a talent platform where everyone can easily find their place to maximize their talents and realize themselves as a creative person.

AIMap is our product company that has developed a software product, a symbiosis of a geographic information system, smart map of construction and registers of everything that has been built, is being built, is planned for construction.

Oleksandr Pupena: It sounds like a mission.

Yuriy Shchyrin: Yes, it is a mission. I live by it, and when I created the company, I set myself this goal, so the company is called AIM, an acronym for purpose, that is, to have a meaningful purposeful life, with a mission, and this is how I live and how I try to work.

AImap consists of AIM on the one hand, and AI map on the other, i.e. a map with artificial intelligence. Now the map already has three neural networks that group types of construction objects.

Oleksandr Pupena: Let’s talk a little bit about the services and how people can use it?

Yuriy Shchyrin: This is an electronic, digital service. Its main goal is to make construction joyful and fun for everyone. This online service visually looks like a map with points with different types of buildings and structures, and descriptions of these structures.

This is a map similar to Google maps, where there are various construction sites, private houses, shops, apartment buildings, and information about who is building it, when it is being built, and what is the history of this construction.

There are objects that started construction 11 years ago, and these construction statuses are changing. Officially registered construction is entered into the database, so almost all officially registered construction projects are in the system.

The first basic area of application is the ability of suppliers of building materials, construction technologies, or service providers to find their customers much easier than they do outside the digital space. This reduces transaction costs and the cost of customer acquisition. Also, for those looking for builders or contractors, this also simplifies the search, because you can find a contractor and see what they have already built. The map of the object has a construction history, that is, you know who the contractor is for electrical engineering, water supply, and climate systems. For objects of different sizes, there are different details of the description. Not all the data is recorded perfectly, but you can also find the investor, the estimated cost of the object, the number of floors, and other parameters that allow you to make a fairly simple assessment and increase your sales, reduce the complexity of entering the service market or selling construction projects.

In general, the share of GDP in Ukraine accounted for by construction is about three percent. In developed countries, construction generates five to seven percent of GDP, so our economy is undercapitalized.

This is the first level, which we have already implemented, and the second stage was the introduction of all business participants, i.e. all enterprises and individual entrepreneurs, into the database in order to form a community of contractors. For example, there are approximately 30,000 companies involved in construction in Ukraine, and approximately 300,000 individual entrepreneurs working in this area.

In general, the share of GDP in Ukraine accounted for by construction is about three percent. In developed countries, construction generates five to seven percent of GDP, so our economy is undercapitalized.

Now the map exists not only in Ukraine, but we have also created the same map in Poland and France.

Oleksandr Pupena: That is, there is a database that stores construction projects and a database of participants in this process, business entities that are involved at different stages of this construction. Each construction object has a certain history of structured data, which contains certain information for the entire period, from the registration of this object to its commissioning, or is the information accumulated for this object in the future?

Yuriy Shchyrin: At the moment, the information actually ends with commissioning, but it is possible to further develop the database, enter repairs, information on the completion, reconstruction or destruction of facilities. When, for example, it is decided to decommission and dispose of a facility, information about this is not always entered into the register, but only for particularly important facilities. This is the information that is currently available and that we are actually updating.

Since February 24, 2022, when the full-scale aggression began, all official registers in Ukraine have been closed, so we began to actively enter international markets. Now the map exists not only in Ukraine, but we have also created the same map in Poland and France. There are more than two and a half million construction projects on the Polish market, and it is also regularly updated there. As for the French market, there are 4.5 million objects in France, which are also updated.

Oleksandr Pupena: I understand correctly that there was no competition in these services, why did it happen? Did no one think it would be interesting, or did it just happen?

Yuriy Shchyrin: You understand correctly. In fact, there is currently no competition in these services in Poland and France. The construction market is very conservative in all countries. It is also the case that developers, construction companies, contractors, suppliers of building materials, manufacturers of building materials, and distributors have not been able to create such a system.

Ukraine has an innovative company called LUN, and there is no analog of LUN in Europe. But LUN’s model is related to the sale of final dwellings, they work on the model of commercialization of advertising, on the model of commercialization of attention.

Our model is to create a marketplace that would reduce transaction costs for all participants in the process of creating added value. We do not exclude the possibility of attracting real estate agents; we have signed up real estate agents who are interested in finding objects, building logistics warehouses and hotels, etc., but the construction market is very conservative. Starting in the fall, we started offering AIMap to the world.

We also created such a map for Oslo, Norway. We are working on the Dallas regional construction market in the United States of America. Now we have a contract for the Australian system on the table. It is possible that AIMap for Australia will be developed under a different brand, but we are actively working on this issue and are currently negotiating with the customer.

Oleksandr Pupena: You said that until February 24, the services were operating using open data. Could you explain in a nutshell what it is, how you use it, and how things are now, as I understand it, everything is closed in Ukraine. How is it done abroad now?

Yuriy Shchyrin: This is done on the basis of open data, i.e. special robots have been developed that scrub open data sites. In fact, all the data we have in the system is legal and open. The government agencies that work with data do not display the data in a way that is convenient for the user, but in a way that they can declare: here you go, if you really want it, you can find it somewhere on the website.

There are non-normalized tables, pictures, inaccuracies, distortions, incomplete addresses, incomplete fields, and anyone who works with data, with data normalization, knows what it is. The situation is the same in Poland, Norway, and France. I believe that Ukraine is among the top countries in terms of digitalization.1 In my opinion, there is a lack of specialists in the Civil Service who could properly prepare and visualize it, present it in a user-friendly interface. This is a very complex science – the right user interface.

There are several options. There are json files that are posted with a certain frequency, but firstly, it is not always regular, secondly, they are not always posted in the same structure, and thirdly, they are not always declared. In the interfaces of government agencies, you will not always find a link to a json file.

Then we normalize them, bring them to our standard form, and provide a unique single AIMap ID. At the moment, there is no unified register of construction objects in Ukraine, so we have developed our own register, which has a unique ID of a construction object.

Oleksandr Pupena: How do you work with images?

Yuriy Shchyrin: We do work with images, but the complexity and cost of normalizing this data is such that it makes processing this data not always feasible.

Oleksandr Pupena: Next comes the classification of the collected information, but it is necessary to bring this information to a normalized form, so I assume that neural networks are used here?

Yuriy Shchyrin: For example, in Ukraine, there is a classifier of construction objects called the State Classifier of Building Structures. It has more than 100 items of different types of buildings, starting with kindergartens, various ancillary facilities, bridges, roads, and so on. This is a very complicated and inconvenient structure for customers, for those who work with the classification, with the search for different types of construction objects. This classifier needed to be regrouped. It was our idea to regroup them into 16 types and make this classifier uniform for the whole world. All types of construction objects are grouped into 16 types, and an artificial neural network is responsible for determining which type an object belongs to, by what features it is recognized.

Oleksandr Pupena: I take it that there was no such classification before, or have you just never seen it?

Yuriy Shchyrin: We have not seen such classifications, we made them based on our vision, although customers constantly find mistakes, find irrelevance. That is, it is not a static entity, it is constantly changing, constantly improving. The more data is uploaded, the smarter and more correct the system becomes.

Oleksandr Pupena: Let’s go back to data collection. So we talked about data collection by scrapers that take data from open data sources. Is this the only way, or is there any interest in your customers to provide you with data themselves?

Yuriy Shchyrin: Absolutely, so here you come to the next stage of work. The business model of this system is built as a marketplace. Every marketplace faces a chicken and egg problem: what should come first, data and capabilities, or users providing data?

This is a really difficult task, it is extraordinary, and in order to solve it, you need to try very hard. Based on this, we were the first to create an open data base because it is not so difficult to collect construction data, classify it, and normalize it.

This is the basic level. Then, when the threshold barrier is reached, is there enough objects there for a local contractor engaged in repair or construction work to start using this service? If it is enough for him, he starts using it, and our next goal in this system is to create an infrastructure for him to enter his data, so that he is not only a data user. This is partially done now, because this is the next level of project complexity. For example, we are now working on introducing designers there.

Oleksandr Pupena: There is a whole industry of building automation. Companies that create automated HVAC systems, ventilation, heating, etc. would be interested in submitting their projects and getting feedback. Accordingly, those looking for contractors would also be interested.

Yuriy Shchyrin: We hope for this because those involved in climate control, water supply, sewerage, lighting, cable infrastructure, power engineering, communications could draw the appropriate pool of specialists into this system. In the long run, the business model envisages this way of development. We also see potential in the fact that homeowners, who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the systems, are interested in having a digital model of their own home. Because this is an opportunity to create a correct energy passport, it is an opportunity to have the exact dimensions, dimensions, all the schemes of laying engineering networks in your home, to calculate repairs, to calculate reconstruction, completion, replacement of air conditioners or heating.

Oleksandr Pupena: This is actually integration with BIM, right?

Yuriy Shchyrin: Yes, at the moment BIM is still quite expensive and complex. But I think that over time it will become simpler and cheaper. So that when I sell my house or buy a house, I can show a digital model. So that the buyer is not afraid that my roof is not insulated, or my windows do not have energy-efficient double-glazed windows, do not meet the standards.

If you have a digital model of the project, it will be much easier for you to enter it into the system

Oleksandr Pupena: A very comprehensive system is emerging that includes everything.

Yuriy Shchyrin: It is absolutely correct that in order to confirm and verify this ecosystem, each participant in this system needs to be made profitable, both in terms of their interests and in terms of the interests of the system. Further, we see now, as the war has made clear, that a very important element is the Smart grid. Everyone wants to be energy autonomous, and we will come to this, because it is part of our Freedom, our personal Freedom. When we have a house or even a multi-storey building, it is as energy autonomous as possible. I am now near Kyiv, and we have, for example, the most autonomous system of Internet support: in each house, the centre of the communication hub is equipped with a battery that is quickly recharged, for now, from the network, in the future it can be charged from solar panels. Similarly, we have an 11 kWh battery in our office right now, and switching phases, from the moment the power goes out to the moment the batteries are connected, should take as long as it takes for the router to stay on.

Oleksandr Pupena: How does what you are saying now relate to your system, how is it seen in the context of this system?

Yuriy Shchyrin: Look, if you want to build a house, you will start with a project anyway. If you have a digital model of the project, it will be much easier for you to enter it into the system, declare it, and say: hey, installers, builders, automators, I need a solution for my house. From the fence, entrance, paths to the lighting of my site, and then wall materials, roofing, translucent structures, and utilities. If you have a clear technical specification, you have a normal digital model, you have a technical specification for virtually any area of work.

Oleksandr Pupena: In order to build somewhere, even a private house, I would like to know about the entire infrastructure, is there any information in your system about these objects? Or is it planned?

Yuriy Shchyrin: We are approaching topical issues because we are dealing with the capitalization of territories and the capitalization of the country as a whole. You will be faced with the task of deciding where to build this house, whether to build it in Bilohorodka, Irpin, Bucha, Brovary, or perhaps near Zhytomyr. Before you build, you need to have the coordinates of energy networks, power lines, sewers, road access – this is the basic infrastructure that should influence your decision to choose a location and it also determines the cost of ownership and capitalization of this site. This affects the investment attractiveness of the region, so over the past year we have developed a prototype of a Smart Community, where we have mapped the business landscape, all the enterprises, on the map. For the community, this is an ERP system for the team of a separate territorial community. We are deploying all of this in the Bilohorodka UTC. These are 10 villages with about 100,000 people living there, and they have their own infrastructure and network. Very few communities have digital network schemes.

Oleksandr Pupena: This is your community, was it all done at your request?

Yuriy Shchyrin: In fact, we are not the first. There are many companies that digitize municipalities. In particular, my partner and his company MagneticOne Municipal Technologies have been doing this for many years. We are facing this problem together: the digitization of all engineering networks in such a way that municipal property, including the entire infrastructure, can be audited and accounted for so that certain algorithms and models can be used to assess the investment attractiveness of building a house in a particular place for the end owner of the property.

Oleksandr Pupena: So you are right there testing your ideas and solutions, so you are not only a platform developer in this case, you are also a client, am I right?

Yuriy Shchyrin: Yes, but we haven’t done it yet, we are in the process. Not only we, for example, in the Novodmitryv community of Cherkasy region, there is a very progressive head, Artem Kukharenko, who is an effective promoter of the Smart Community, and he is very positive about it. There are some communities that do not want to disclose their assets for certain reasons, a hidden interest in reducing public capitalization. But, again, we try not to enter into direct confrontation with these models.

We are forming a certain alternative reality that will be beneficial for the management of more modern heads of UTCs, and they will be supported by the free residents of these UTCs, they will be voted for, they will be promoted. For example, we have announced this for the Bilohorodka UTC, because I want to attract $100 million in investments in the territory of the Bilohorodka UTC over the next five years, which is about 530 square kilometres.

Oleksandr Pupena: Let’s go back to the situation abroad, how does it work there? What is the model there, how is this data collected and filled in, and who is using it now?

Yuriy Shchyrin: I will disappoint many Euro-optimists and say that the situation there is even more complicated than here. In our country, it is a matter of survival of the territory. I’m not talking about the UTCs near the capital, they are doing very well, and I re-registered all my campaigns in Bila Tserkva so that I could pay taxes here and signed a memorandum with the UTCs to spend part of these taxes on targeted social and infrastructure needs. But, for example, let’s take the Novodmitryv community in the Zolotonosha district, Cherkasy region, where the entire community budget for 20 villages is about 100 million hryvnias a year. This is actually a very small amount, given that the public sector alone takes about 70% of the budget for education.

Europe also has a big problem with bureaucracy and they still do everything on paper. But they understand this and invest generously in it. Last year we applied to 6 programs of European funds and one of them has a chance to be realized. We have also registered a Lithuanian company and will submit this technology for distribution in the European Union.

Oleksandr Pupena: How is the data collection going there?

Yuriy Shchyrin: There, too, this category of data is open, but the structure is slightly different. Poland has the worst structure, Norway is a little better, and France is the best digitized country. We did an analysis and wanted to digitize Germany, but it turned out that Germany is quite complicated in this regard, so we settled on France.

France is much better in this regard, and it turned out that France is bureaucratized, and the French recommended that we pay attention to Morocco, because Morocco is even more advanced, the industry is even more mobile, and there is even more data. But Morocco has an underdeveloped construction market, while France is much more developed, so we decided to lean towards France. Now we see that such things are best done in the United States, because they are fast, there are already many startups and existing businesses in the field of construction marketplaces, but we are not afraid of competition.

Oleksandr Pupena: Who was the initiator of entering this market?

Yuriy Shchyrin: Oddly enough, we were “asked” to enter by our enemy, because on February 24, updates to Ukrainian registers stopped. We signed about 30 contracts in Ukraine in January 2022, and in March everything stopped, all open data, all registers stopped. We understand that new construction projects are being updated in the registers, and they can be easily calculated by coordinates as targets for shelling, so all registers were stopped. We had only one alternative – to move to the global market.

I believe this is a very good decision. We actively, in fact, within a month, were doing one country after another. The only thing is that in Norway, for example, each municipality has its own data structure, and there are about 300 of them, so we decided to focus on Oslo. France has a fairly centralized data structure, and it was easier for us there.

Oleksandr Pupena: You went there and offered the service, who is starting to use it and how?

Yuriy Shchyrin: We have developed an existing model, filled it with data, and developed a model for updating data, but we are not actively promoting it any further. We have taken a wait-and-see attitude, developed the MVP model, and are still looking at what interest it will generate, what needs to be changed, what needs to be added. We see that Europe does not react so quickly. That’s why we decided to move towards the United States. There is a much more mobile audience, a much more mobile business culture, and today we received a request from Australia.

Oleksandr Pupena: How did it work in Ukraine before February 24, what are your typical clients? How do they make money on it?

Yuriy Shchyrin: Let’s imagine that you sell a product, for example, electric vending machines. Depending on the type of facility, you need certain types of vending machines: domestic, industrial, and those used by professional licensed electrical organizations. You register and pay a subscription fee. For example, for up to 5 users, we have a fixed amount, 3000 hryvnias per month, the subscription fee. You get access to 2 million construction projects, as well as those that have received permits and are planning to build. You can simply enter categories of objects in the search where you know a certain type of vending machines is used. You can see how the objects are distributed on the map, select objects or investors who build them, depending on the business model. You can work with designers, depending on the type of facilities they specialize in. Then contact them, or their regional managers, and negotiate for targeted equipment sales.

The more managers, the more expensive the license, up to 10 managers increases to 5 thousand hryvnias, and an extended Enterprise package with API, where you can directly import this data directly into your CRM or ERP, depending on the configuration of your system. We can offer to automate your business processes – when an object appears, it automatically gets into the CRM, opens in the sales manager’s window, and the manager does not search, but reactively contacts the object, the designer who started the construction of the object, choosing the target type of construction object.

Oleksandr Pupena: The next question is, when a client is registered, does he appear in your system as a business entity, which, in turn, can be found by someone else?

Yuriy Shchyrin: This is provided by the marketplace, if the client is an installation organization or a designer, they also register, they describe their profile, they can add their objects where they performed installation, they can also receive stars, receive recommendations. Accordingly, those who receive a higher recommendation are ranked higher in the rating. They can be found not only by a seller of equipment and technologies used in construction, but also by a homeowner who needs to install something and find a reliable electrician in Bilohorodka. I will tell you that it is a huge problem to find an electrician in Bilohorodka. The same problem exists in the United States and Germany.

Oleksandr Pupena: Do non-business customers, end users, have the opportunity to use the system? Can they add anything to the system?

Yuriy Shchyrin: Yes, it is possible to register in the system for free, the data up to and including the year 19 is available there, and it is possible to see the Polish construction market for free. We have developed a dashboard where the Polish construction market changes every week, it is a kind of regular online construction market, where you can see what categories of objects are being built in which regions of Poland. We have already developed the same map for Ukraine, but there is no data for the 22nd year, so it is relevant only until February 24. Now we are adding a map of designers, even with unupdated registers, they are still relevant, because designers work more or less steadily and licences are not obtained or lost so quickly.

Oleksandr Pupena: Is there any integration with other platforms that have some data that is useful to your platform and vice versa, or are there any moves in this direction?

Yuriy Shchyrin: Yes, the AImap architecture is two-tiered. The first level is the IAAS model, infrastructure as a service, meaning that we can provide, for example, geolocation parameters of construction objects as a service, as in geographic information systems.

A geographic information system is a complex concept that includes both infrastructure and data. AImap consists of two layers: one layer is exclusively infrastructure, which is adapted to the construction itself. We understand that maps are used in weather forecasting and military guidance, and Google Maps works, but our system is more focused on residential facilities, territories, the place where we feel comfortable living and where we change the environment for our own purposes, and this is also very closely related to the capitalization of construction projects, repairs, reconstruction, completions, paths, lighting, sewage, everything related to this. The second layer at the macro level is applications that can be built on this infrastructure. For example, an application with a network of electric charging stations.

Oleksandr Pupena: I understand that there is an API that can be purchased and used in applications, etc.

Yuriy Shchyrin: Now, as a rule, the API is used by those who want to receive normalized, high-quality data on a regular basis.

If we talk about the future, to outline where we are moving, the level of complexity of the systems is ahead of the market’s willingness to pay for them, so I am now outlining the realities of where we are moving to make this system, even if it is still in a rather simplified format, it will be interesting for those who would like to start working there. I will give you statistics on the construction market in the United States, they did a study that 68% of resources in construction are spent on construction administration, not on construction itself. We have no less than that. That is, receiving an order, bidding, redoing, then doing it wrong, then doing it poorly, then planning to do it for five years, and it is collapsing in two years, all these processes are connected to the fact that the construction market is very imperfect. There is a lot of asymmetric information, a lot of non-market relations between suppliers, distributors, designers, and end customers.

I believe that the best field for digitizing society is in Ukraine.

Oleksandr Pupena: I’ve heard that there are other geospatial system providers, do you have any contact with them? Do you integrate somehow?

Yuriy Shchyrin: There is a globally recognized American company called Esri, and they have a very long-standing and reliable representative in Ukraine. They developed the ArcGIS system, it is a world-famous system, it occupies 70% of the global market of geographic information systems.

We take the most friendly position and can deploy AImap on the basis of ArcGIS, it is not a problem. In this case, those clients who work in ArcGIS will work with our data right in their own shell.

Oleksandr Pupena: Clients should be interested in ensuring that the data is always true, because otherwise everything we focus on starts to fall apart. How realistic is this, how much easier is it to do in other countries? Not in terms of bureaucracy, but in terms of data openness.

Yuriy Shchyrin: I believe that the best field for digitizing society is in Ukraine. Now it is true, it does not mean that we should not work. Once I came to Milan and the train went around Milan in a circle. Milan is a fairly industrial city, but everywhere around Milan there are walls, fences, barriers, so they are already in a state where everything is built up, and it was built many years ago. It is much more difficult for them to rebuild it, we now have a great chance to do everything from scratch in a new way.

There are people who want to do it in a new way, so that it is beautiful, so that it capitalizes the territory, so that it makes it convenient for people to live. At the very least, we need maximum digitization, then the speed of decision-making will be different. Where to build a house, where to locate production, what are the logistical conditions there – the correctness of management decisions increases, the capitalization of the territory increases, society becomes richer, society becomes smarter, the likelihood of reconstruction, attracting investment increases, education and healthcare conditions improve.

Oleksandr Pupena: Have you thought about integrating this into the development of your region, where you are prototyping it, to make it part of a Smart city?

Yuriy Shchyrin: This is a question of marginal cost and marginal utility. I will tell you now how the geodetic survey system works in the United States, how it is used. I’m not talking about force majeure situations such as a hurricane or something like that. In such cases, you need to assess the extent of the damage and, accordingly, create a situational response model, calculate the required amount of building materials, food kits, how many vehicles are needed, how many people to evacuate, and so on. This can all work very quickly if you have all the information within an hour after a hurricane.

For example, how the Eagle View system works, which regularly monitors the United States: planes fly over 95% of the United States and use special high-quality optics to take orthophotography of the territory. Based on these images, using image recognition, they created a roof design service. That is, they get photos of all the roofs and, if you want to either put a roof on your house or replace it, or want to install solar panels, they will calculate the place where it is most profitable for you to put solar panels on your house with the maximum solar gain. Or, if you want to change the roof, they will calculate it for you, with an accuracy of three cm, and develop a project. You simply indicate the place where you want to do it, your address, and you will receive a report on your roof by email within five minutes. You can order the material there, they will make preliminary calculations of the roofing material and how much it will cost. You can imagine what the US construction market is like.

Oleksandr Pupena: We talked about open data, and there is also measurement data. Do you use anything from such data, or is it mainly construction documents and so on?

Yuriy Shchyrin: Yes, documents are, in fact, the cheapest information for us to adequately understand how everything compares to the cost. Electricity consumption, let’s skip it, there is static data by region, but at the moment, Regional power grids do not provide such information. You need to buy it, it is their commercial information, because they are a commercial organization and they do not want to share this information. If you set out to do so, you can get it, but the question is why, can it be sold?

Oleksandr Pupena: How often does the update happen, it probably depends on the context?

Yuriy Shchyrin: In Poland, updates are made every day, in France once a month, and in Ukraine, updates were made every week until the registers were frozen. You need to understand that the speed of updating affects the cost of data processing and the cost of subscription fees for servers where data is stored and processed, so if scrubbing robots go every day, it’s one cost, if they go once a month, it’s a lower cost.

Oleksandr Pupena: Does your platform make forecasts?

Yuriy Shchyrin: You can predict the market for roofing or wall materials or concrete consumption based on the volume of construction. We do this, but it has a very narrow range of clients. Only very large companies pay for such work, while the rest look at open data and say: well, we feel that it will be somewhere around 10% plus, that is, they compare the picture of GDP with their order book, estimate, ask their colleagues, competitors.

Oleksandr Pupena: Let’s go back to neural networks. As for the use of neural network models, who is involved in model training? Do you use neural networks exclusively to classify data collected by scrapers?

Yuriy Shchyrin: There is also a problem when you are given an address where to place the geotag. The address may not be described accurately, and the problem is how to recognize from the accompanying parameters of a given building object where to land its geotube.

Oleksandr Pupena: How many people are involved in model training, and how does it work?

Yuriy Shchyrin: There is a team of data science developers, and there are also analysts who have experience in construction analytics, who use their experience to determine which object to place where and why. As a rule, data science developers use mathematical thinking, while applied analysis, market expertise, is provided by market analysts who understand that translucent structures account for about 25% of the housing area. If you have 100 square meters, you will have about 25 square meters of windows. This is additional expert knowledge that industry experts have. This is superimposed and results in solutions and products that can be used. You also need to add interface expertise to make it convenient for the customer to find it on the website, and user interface specialists are working on this.

Oleksandr Pupena: Have you seen similar systems?

Yuriy Shchyrin: Well, let’s take, for example, the LUN system, which I think is very advanced, very dynamic. I follow the development of LUN. They work with a different business model, but I am very impressed with this Ukrainian company and we are different, but we are actually working in the same field.

Oleksandr Pupena: It is difficult to talk about the future now, but what plans are you making?

Yuriy Shchyrin: If we talk in detail, we are creating an ecosystem so that everyone who would like to build their own home can do it in a fun, joyful way. Also, after they build it, they could increase its capitalization, make it a living asset, just like shares, like a bank deposit, or any other value that will grow over time and do it with internal satisfaction, so that it is not associated with stress and negativity that now accompanies construction around the world. This is the mission, and we are on our way to it.

I believe that we are forging Ukraine’s victory on the economic front, even though we have a lot of veterans in the company, but those who are not fighting on the front line right now. We are forging this victory here, at our computers, working in the markets of the United States, Australia, and Britain. Also, the company and I cultivate innovation as much as possible. We cannot do otherwise, just like in war. For example, we don’t win by linear methods, we have to think asymmetrically, non-linearly, so building more is not an option for us now. We have to build smarter, we have to use every centimetre of space more wisely, every cubic meter of living space has to bring more comfort and be used more efficiently. The whole of Ukraine should be like this, so that every corner, Bila Tserkva, Irpin, Bucha, should be our flower gardens, oases of human development, development of their talent, so that we are a free nation, so that we somehow make our own energy, energy autonomy in every house, in every apartment – this is also part of the AIM mission.

Oleksandr Pupena: You told us how the war hit your team very hard, can you share? Traditionally, I ask these questions at the end of an interview because this war has dealt a serious blow to everyone, but nevertheless, you have withstood it.

Yuriy Shchyrin: For me, this war is very personal, because I started my service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine on January 26, my birthday, in 2015, as a senior lieutenant. First the 81st Brigade, then the 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade, I served near Donetsk. And on February 24, 2022, my front-end developer, Ilya “Lytvyn” Khrenov, called me at about 1 p.m. and said: “Yuriy, I’m going to deploy the code and I have to go to Gostomel. On February 25, we started forming a volunteer unit of the Belogorodka community, and I became its first commander, with 1,000 fighters. Bilohorodka is not far from Irpin, and two days later we had enemy vehicles driving by at a distance of 2 km, and there were attacks. The AIM office here in Bilohorodka was the headquarters of the territorial volunteer formation. Ilya died on March 3 near Bucha in the San Marino hotel. I took his body on April 2. Then, on April 22, my analyst, tank commander of the 72nd Brigade, Andriy Hryhoriv, was killed. On May 6, my close friend, with whom we started serving back in ’15, Denis Antipov, died in Kharkiv. On September 6, Sergey Petrovichev, a backend developer, was killed in an attack on Izyum. They are all very close to me, it is a very personal matter. Stepan Golovko, an Azov fighter who is still in captivity in the Russian Federation, is wounded, he is alive, but there is no contact with him yet. Four of our employees are now serving in the Armed Forces, including a female officer, Nelya Chorna, near Bakhmut.

Oleksandr Pupena: This is a very serious loss, both personally and for the company.

Yuriy Shchyrin: This is a big enough part of me that I shouldn’t retreat any more, that AImap should do, among other things. AImap has a part of Ilya’s code, and it is partly sacred to us, even.

Oleksandr Pupena: So we have to end on something good. Thank you very much for the interesting interview, I learned a lot. I believe that you will succeed, I believe that we will win – it is 100% a matter of time and lives.

Yuriy Shchyrin: I would like to thank Oleksandr Yurchak, because it was he who introduced us, I would like to thank APPAU and the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance for the great work they do. And personally to Oleksandr, who does a lot to popularize advanced technologies and connect people.

Oleksandr Pupena: Thank you, deep respect and forward to victory!

1L4D comment: we have recently talked about this in another interview.

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