Principal Software Engineer Lachlan is a long-term practitioner in the field of software development and brings extensive knowledge and experience from his diverse roles in the industry. Since 2012, Lachlan has been responsible for developing, maintaining and extending the datastores that drive the engine behind E7.

We caught up with Lachlan to learn a little bit more about what makes him tick.

Why did you become a Developer?

My step-father brought a BBC Micro Model B computer home from the United Kingdom in 1982 and I have been tinkering with them ever since! I was 15 when I first started coding professionally, so when I left school this became an easy choice for me to continue my studies with a Science degree with a major in computer science. It led me to work in a number of really interesting roles, but I eventually found my way to the welcoming E7 team in 2012, where I have been ever since.

What do you love about working in infrastructure?

I love the emergent benefit our field is responsible for. By making the information transfer in construction projects more efficient, we help people build the roads, tunnels, buildings, pipes and plants which make the entire community better off.

What are you working on at the moment?

Currently, I am working on surfacing the field data that E7 captures into a business intelligence framework for visualisation, analysis and hopefully improved decision making. Extending our data exploration capabilities will help our clients really unlock the value in their information.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date?

Being able to develop with systems that combine rapidly calculating tens of millions of spreadsheet cell equivalents with the distribution of the world wide web. We can therefore stream higher quality data directly from the field, avoiding the many uncontrolled and error-prone spreadsheets and help to transform the data into information, project knowledge and ultimately improving underlying value.

What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned throughout your career?

Improvements don’t happen all at once… some take time and effort… but they are still worth it. This reflects how we work here at E7, as we are constantly evolving and adapting our program to suit the individual needs of our clients. Every construction site is different not only because the built environment is different, but how the construction teams themselves work together and communicate also has a massive impact on what a site looks like.

There is a phenomenon known as Conway’s Law which describes this – organizations design systems that mirror their own communication structure. With a tool like E7 which helps increase visibility and facilitate good communication, this will undoubtedly have a positive effect on how these projects are built.

What would your last meal be?

Punjabi chicken curry with a chilli cheese naan bread.

What is the last movie you watched or series you binged?

Altered Carbon – I am a big fan of well-done science fiction.

Who do you admire from your industry and why?

This is a hard question because we all stand on the shoulders of giants. I admire all the teams and visionary individuals who made what we take for granted possible… both technically and socially. Take, for example – Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and Jony Ive – the engineer, the CEO and designer of apple. These guys created a revolutionary product which many of us rely on heavily in our day to day life, but it was not without each of their skills that they made this happen – the coding, physical design and the marketing.

What excites you about the future of technology in infrastructure?

Infrastructure, construction and agriculture are some of the oldest human endeavours. It is empowering to be able to help with the evolution of them just by helping distribute the necessary information around and between sites.

We have already changed the game so much by creating a completely digital integrated platform, but with the technology that exists today, there is still so much possibility for innovation. For example, I would love to eventually see Augmented or Mixed reality used to help field personnel get their best results.

If you could get tickets to any concert or event from the past, what would you do and see?

Orbital live at Glastonbury 1994

Outside of work, what do you do for fun?

I spend a lot of my time with my family, which often involves ferrying my two boys around to different sports engagements and parties.

What piece of technology can you not live without?

These days? Probably my mobile phone. A wireless yet connected mobile computer terminal, whose power I couldn’t even contemplate back when I was typing out BASIC programs from magazine listings and loading computer programs from audiotapes.