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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

New Interoperability Agreement between Trimble and Autodesk Improves Data Exchanges and Workflows

 
July 15th, 2016 by Susan Smith

Trimble and Autodesk, Inc. entered into an interoperability agreement to improve current data exchanges, aimed at saving customers’ time and reducing project costs typically associated with workflow inefficiency across different suppliers’ technologies. This will benefit architects, engineers and contractors, and importantly, project owners by enabling more freedom to optimize technology workflows needed to meet the complex requirements of today’s construction projects.

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Jon Fingland, Business Area Manager, GC/CM Division at Trimble, discussed with AECCafe Voice the shared goal of Autodesk and Trimble to meet the evolving needs of the building and infrastructure industries.

Jon Fingland: What kind of interoperable products are Trimble and Autodesk planning on developing together?

This agreement allows Trimble and Autodesk to improve on existing data exchanges, as well as open up new workflows between products.  We have already begun exchanging APIs and development tools and while we can’t announce specific product integrations at this time, the most immediate streamlining is likely to be in document management, data management and BIM-to-field workflows.

Fingland: What type of improvements will the collaboration agreement allow the two companies to have?

Tighter product-to-product integration can enable AEC users to share models, project files, and allow for the reuse of information throughout all phases of a project. Both Trimble and Autodesk share a responsibility to support seamless data transfer between their solutions, from software to software, from software to hardware and vice versa to optimize project workflows.  In addition, this agreement is a complement to—rather than a replacement for—Trimble’s continued support of the development of BIM industry standards such as the Construction Operations Building Information Exchange and the Industry Foundation Classes.

Fingland:  What kinds of collaboration challenges do the companies currently have with their joint customers?

The lack of coordination between professionals in the construction industry is a continuing challenge to project delivery – and lack of interoperability between software and hardware used by different project stakeholders fuels this challenge.   For example, many GCs receive Revit or Tekla models from architects and MEP firms to use for quantity takeoff and estimating, but they have difficulty getting key metadata out of the models for accurate estimating and project controls.  In the past, this has been a manual, inefficient and ineffective process.  Trimble and Autodesk share a mutual commitment to empower AEC users to share models, project files and allow for the reuse of information through all phases of a project  Now, with shared APIs, Trimble and Autodesk will improve seamless transfer of data to optimize the workflows between architectural, engineering, construction or operations products.

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Fingland: Will there be end-to-end solutions developed from this agreement?

Nothing we can discuss at this time but customers can expect that with shared APIs, Trimble and Autodesk will be actively engaging development efforts that meet the needs of our customers. We’ll focus on efforts where improved connections are needed.

Fingland: Will the agreement involve Trimble hardware as well as software, making some Trimble solutions only work with Autodesk software?

Yes, integration will included both software and hardware but integration will not be exclusive to any one vendor.  Trimble has a longstanding commitment to open standards and data-driven workflows, as demonstrated by similar alliances with Bentley and Nemetschek as well as Trimble’s support of the OpenBIM initiative.  The agreement with Autodesk is another example of Trimble’s commitment to open collaboration, democratizing data across the design-build-operate continuum for the benefit of our customers.

Under the terms of agreement, Autodesk and Trimble will take steps to accelerate interoperability by exchanging Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and developer tools to build and market interoperable products. This allows the two companies to improve upon existing data exchanges, as well as open up new workflows between their products. Tighter product-to-product integration can enable design and construction professionals to share models, project files and other data between select Autodesk and Trimble solutions both in the office and the field, and allow for the reuse of information during design and construction throughout all phases of the project.

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, AECCafe, apps, architecture, AutoCAD, Autodesk, BIM, building information modeling, civil information modeling, collaboration, construction, engineering, file sharing, project management, Trimble, visualization

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