Supporting BILD

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Here at BAM, we’re big on helping builders to be the best they can be; from green design within their communities and homes, encouraging better building practices, and – overall – just providing better products and service to their customers. In the end, helping them to put their best foot forward is a great thing for everyone, right down to the family who is purchasing their first brand-new home. It’s this same desire that drives BILD, which is an essential lifeblood of our industry. A product of the merger between the Greater Toronto Home Builders’ Association and the Urban Development Institute of Ontario, BILD is the voice of the land development, home building, and professional renovation industry in the GTA. Currently, it represents more than 1,400 member companies.

They provide a necessary link between the industry and governments, helping to promote both fair and effective policies. They also encourage innovations and excellence in the planning and building of sustainable communities – all while simultaneously protecting the best interests of homebuyers. Through home shows, their print publication, members-only workshops, courses, and seminars, they keep us abreast of everything that affects us. As well, through the sponsorship of university courses in planning, and their work with community colleges and unions to promote building trades as a career choice, they are strengthening our industry for years to come.

They are the backbone of the building industry here in the GTA, and we strongly support them as an active member. It was an honour for us to design their most recent advertisement, at no-cost to BILD, which celebrates the 64 BILD Award winners this year, and the amazing things they’re doing; from innovation in sustainability to affordable home design. It was our way of showing gratitude for everything they’ve done for our homebuilding community.

BAM at The BILD Awards

Untitled.pngLast week, the BAM team was dressed to the nines and in attendance at the 36th annual BILD Awards, which recognizes excellence in sales, marketing, design and construction of new homes in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). As we had previously written, we were excited – and honoured – to be nominated for Best Digital Marketing Campaign — for three of our most exciting projects to date, in addition to Best Sales Video and Best New Community, Planned or Under Development for Queensville.

We were ecstatic to join our clients Zancor Homes and Lancaster Homes on stage to accept the Best Digital Marketing Campaign award for Pine River, which was one of our most ambitious digital projects to date. In fact, if you haven’t explored the website – complete with online reservation system – you can learn more about it here. We were also excited to join builders Countrywide Homes, Aspen Ridge Homes, and Lakeview Homes, on stage to accept the award for Best New Community, Planned (for Queensville). Queensville is the largest and most ambitious new project in Ontario, and we couldn’t be happier with what we’ve achieved there. Especially since the project recently sold out its first phase.

The results we’ve helped our clients achieve over the past year is something we’re very proud of. We’re lucky – and grateful – that they see our vision, trust, and allow us to take the risks we do. These awards are just icing on the cake. They’re truly a result of the hard work the entire BAM team has put into these massive projects.

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Wood Mid-Rise Is On the Rise

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Last week, BILD held a seminar to discuss the technology, challenges, and benefits of 6-storey wood construction. Architects and builders have been grappling with some of these issues since the amendments to Ontario’s building code to allow mid-rise wood frame building took effect in January of last year. It’s without question a huge improvement in our industry, as building similar structures using concrete is both expensive and grossly inefficient. Mid-rise structures are desperately needed along many of the major streets here in Toronto. Currently, many younger families are forced to move outside of the city to find affordable homes.

Wood is natural, strong, durable, renewable, and – of course – greener. 99% of every tree is used in the manufacturing process, and it takes much less energy to manufacture, meaning a reduced carbon footprint. Challenges, though, include logistical construction issues, concerns around fire, and some of the physical properties of wood. For example, wood shrinks over time, which could cause potential issues with the structural integrity of the building. However, these concerns haven’t stopped developers such as FieldGate Urban and Hullmark, who are behind Heartwood The Beach, Toronto’s first wood 6-storey residential building located in the Beaches. Curated Properties and its top-tier architecture and design team are also developing a similar project called Cabin, located at 45 Dovercourt. Both of these projects are currently featured in the Spring 2016 issue of Toronto Builder Magazine.

With Cabin now 70% sold, it’s clear that the demand for affordable mid-rise homes in the city is real; it’s only a matter of time before more developers begin to line the streets of our city with funky, innovative, 6-storey wood designs.

AI Video Development Is The Future Of Content Sharing

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It’s no secret that video is the king of shareable online content. Larger media publishing brands, like Mashable – for example – have been rolling with this trend, and developing daily, timely, and relevant video content that is generating unprecedented levels of engagement. In fact, Facebook reported, as of early January, that its platform has over 100 million hours of video watched each and every day. For smaller brands, though, such a high turnaround of videos can be daunting, expensive and unrealistic. A handful of new start-ups, however, are offering tools that eliminate the need for in-house video production, or any video production for that matter. Welcome to the dawn of artificially intelligent video making.

Two companies, Taiwan-based GilaCloud and USA-based Wibbitz, have developed online dashboards that allow you to turn articles your brand is already creating into visually compelling summary videos, complete with royalty-free background music. Both services use AI technology to scan your online articles for keywords, highlights, and overall tone, and instantly comb the net for corresponding images (from services like Getty Images and Reuters), video, or necessary sound bites. They then arrange them into a branded, HD video ready to post across all of your networks.

Granted, these services are far from free and don’t advertise their prices publicly. The costs, though, when stacked against the expenses of equipment, editing, and music/image clearances, are likely to be more than reasonable; as well, there’s the fact that you can develop an unlimited amount of content for a set monthly/annual fee. It’s unlikely that these two companies will be the only players in this field for long. Will AI become the future of video development?

Cardboard Offers Innovative Solutions For Brands

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Virtual reality – as cool as it is – definitely isn’t for everyone. For one, it isn’t free, which can limit the audience. Dependent on the system you choose to go with, there’s a headset to purchase, and customized experiences take engineering and programming to develop; however, the rise of Google Cardboard, offers a huge opportunity for brands. It leverages smartphones, which most consumers currently possess, and creates immersive, unique VR experiences without the need for a complicated learning curve or expensive hardware. For those who don’t know, Google Cardboard is a complete virtual reality platform developed at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris. It’s commonly used with low-cost viewers, made of foldable cardboard (hence the name), 45mm plastic lenses, and a magnet or taped lever to operate the screen.

Regarding real estate, builders could – instead of traditional brochures – offer branded cardboard viewers, complete with instructions for downloading a simple web based app for either IOS or Android phones. The app could take users on a Cardboard compatible tour of a virtual sales centre, complete with home designs, prices, and interactive site tables.

There are some 360-degree cameras which are currently available – meaning brands can develop their content in-house, and use hosting through YouTube to deliver the content to clients, or to third party apps. If you haven’t explored YouTube’s 360-degree video capabilities yet, you’ll want to go ahead and do that. VR is the future, but leveraging Cardboard’s potential is an excellent way to provide innovative experiences to traditional homebuyers without scaring them off.

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