Archive for the ‘building information modeling’ Category
Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
Bob Batcheler, executive vice president of strategy, Newforma, talked with AECCafe Voice about the new Newforma software for project information management.
Newforma software for project information management arose in response to the need for ways to bridge the disparate systems that architects, engineers, and builders use to manage projects and project information. As a result, integration has always been an important part of the software’s design. (more…)
Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
Thursday, October 24th, 2013
Creating a buzz in the Autodesk world is Autodesk AutoCAD 2014 for Mac released yesterday. The Mac version does not join the AutoCAD Windows release cycle but is now aligned with the Apple schedule to take advantage and be able to support major Apple OS updates. Also the release includes Apple’s release of the next version of OSX Mavericks as well as some new iPads, Apps, laptop and Mac Pro announcements.
Shown during Apple’s new product announcement live event were AutoCAD for Mac 2014 on the Mac desktop and AutoCAD 360 on the new iPad Air tablet.
Among the new features for AutoCAD 2014 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2014 for Mac are support the new Apple Mac OSX Mavericks OS which is the release after Mountain Lion, Retina Display Support for better viewing comfort with increased pixel density, and eTransmit Support for better transmittal of DWG and reference files, called Package Drawing.
Autodesk AutoCAD LT 2014 for Mac video:
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
Pat Kannar, Director of Product Marketing, Dell Precision, talked about the release of the Dell Precision M3800 ultra thin and light 15-inch workstation that represents the last product in their portfolio line of ultra workstations. Kannar said this is the first thin and light workstation in the market.
“This M3800 most exciting platforms we’ve delivered,” Kannar said. “It fits in end-to-end solutions, and is one of the most smartly designed platforms for engineering, design, and for those creating products and energy systems.”
Customers have wanted a thinner and lighter workstation without compromising performance, and this workstation delivers all that. “It has all the traditional components you have in a workstation, quadcore, CPUs, professional graphics, NVIDIA, great memory and storage options put it in a form factor 18 millimeters thin,” said Kannar.
The M3800 is less than ¾ inch thin (18 mm) and weighs 4.15 pounds, with dual cooling to keep it running cool and quiet, and up to 10 hours six minutes of battery life. It has NVIDIA Optimus graphics technology that also maximizes the battery life. NVIDIA provides QHD 3200×1800 pixel display with multi-touch capability. The chassis is made from anodized aluminum and carbon fiber chassis which is very lightweight and durable. (more…)
Friday, October 18th, 2013
In a Q&A with Sefaira’s CEO Mads Jensen, he talked about the firm’s cloud solution for sustainability analysis, designed for early building design stages.
AECCafe Voice: Why would anyone use Sefaira when most major CAD software companies have their own cloud setups for their own software products?
Sefaira is the only firm to offer a seamless and intuitive solution for sustainability analysis, specifically created for the early stages of building design. Because of this, more than 200 leading design firms have adopted Sefaira as their main solution for high performance building design today.
Sefaira does not compete with CAD / BIM solutions from existing vendors, but rather integrates directly into existing design processes and tools. In this way, Sefaira complements existing design tools, and provides our users with a best of class experience for high performance building design, and – for this reason – we are the fastest growing solution for high performance building design, growing by more than 33% in the last quarter alone.
AECCafe Voice: What does Sefaira provide for early stage analysis that is not provided by current early stage analysis software?
The key features that differentiate Sefaira and make it particularly suitable for early stage analysis are:
- Easy and intuitive use – user interfaces are specifically designed for architectural design at the very early stages, allowing users easy exploration and comparison of design options
- Speed –Sefaira runs analysis in seconds, comparing strategies and combinations of strategies to fully understand all options and make the right decisions in a time-scale that is compatible with the needs of early stage design where decisions often need to be taken rapidly
- Clear, print-quality outputs – Sefaira facilitates discussion among project stakeholders and makes the decision making process faster and more seamless
- Parametric analysis – Sefaira response curves enable the designer to optimize key design parameters such as shading, glazing ratio and building orientation in seconds where this historically could take weeks
- Support – Sefaira’s engineering team provides outstanding client support as well as training, webinars and documentation to make performance analysis easy for non-engineers
AECCafe Voice: What is the cost of using Sefaira, and what is the pricing model?
Sefaira is Software-as-a-Service with an annual enterprise-licensing model for an unlimited number of users within a firm. The cost depends on the number of projects that are analyzed with Sefaira. The starter price is $5,000 and covers 3 projects per month.
AECCafe Voice: How does the cost and efficiency compare to existing offerings?
Sefaira requires less training than other tools and is much easier to implement within architecture firms. By implementing a practical tool for performance analysis our customers are able to meet requirements that would otherwise be hard or impossible to meet.
Our customers are telling us that because of Sefaira they have been able to win more business, reduce their design costs and avoid costly rework to meet sustainability targets during later project phases, and that no other solution for sustainable design offers such a compelling return on investment witnessed by the rapid growth of our client base.
Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
Spike (Smart Phone ike!) from IkeGPS is a laser based device that attaches to your phone to ensure that you can rapidly & accurately measure & model an object up to 200 yards (600 feet) away just by taking a snapshot of it. For ten years, Ike has been designing measurement and modeling systems for industrial customers.Using the IkeGPS technology, Spike makes use of the smartphone’s technology and adds its own features. It incorporates a digital camera, 3D compass, a laser range finder and GPS that snaps onto the back of your phone and fits into your pocket.
Spike integrates your smartphone’s current technology with some specialized features of its own. It amalgamates a digital camera, a 3d compass, a laser range finder and GPS. It fits neatly into your pocket yet is robust enough to use every day.
According to Darrell Etherington of Techcrunch, “The benefits of the Spike and its powers are evident…telecom and utility companies, architects, city planners, builders and more would be better served with a simple portable accessory and the phone they already have in their pocket than by specialized equipment that’s heavy, bulky, requires instruction on proper use and lacks any kind of easy instant data portability like you’ll get from a smartphone app’s “Share” functions.”
“The short version of IkeGPS was developed in concert with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a number of years ago,” said Leon Toorenburg. “It was a handheld GPS device with a laser rangefinder and a camera, and you can locate the target and take a photo of it at the same time. It is used to geotag measurements of buildings, and you don’t have to worry about where you took the photos because it’s attached to the GPS. We took it a stage further with the electrical ultility industry, they have no idea of what’s on their power poles, and with one photo they can take a measure of everything on the pole. They don’t have to spend hours at each pole with a measuring tape.”
Insurance adjusters can also use it to take a photo of a wall that may be falling down, for example, and get the size of it.
Laser range finders typically cost $1500 or so. This app that runs with the smartphone allows you to make measurements just from your smartphone, with height, width, distances without having to connect the rangefinder app to the smartphone at all. “We’re also going to publish an API that allows people to take the functionality inside their custom workflows. Say you have an app on the iPhone, an insurance app and you want to measurement-enable that app, you can use our API and incorporate this into the insurance app,” said Toorenburg.
Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
- In recent years we have seen a huge growth in the use of Building Information Modeling in the construction industry. At Autodesk University 2012, Amar Hanspal, senior vice president of information modeling and platform products group (IPG) at Autodesk, outlined his predictions for the construction industry in 2013. Specifically, Amar believes the following trends will drive critical change in how construction firms compete for business and deliver completed projects:
1. National Infrastructure Discussions Evolve Into Global Discussions
Discussions on national infrastructure will evolve into global conversations on interconnected transportation and financial systems. For example, completion of the Panama Canal will force the U.S. East Coast to upgrade their ports to accommodate a massive increase in traffic and ship size.
2. Infrastructure Priorities: Developing vs. Developed Regions
Today, there is a marked divide between the infrastructure priorities of developed and developing countries. Developing countries are creating, funding and building brand new infrastructure systems while developed countries are trying to fix their crumbling systems in order to address the needs of tomorrow.
3. Innovative Funding Models
No matter the end goal, funding is a critical concern across the world. We’re beginning to see alternative funding models such as PPPs emerge, and with that project teams, processes and priorities are beginning to change. A significant portion of funding will likely come from foreign investors looking for low risk projects across geographies, forcing project owners to compete on a global scale and learn to work with the increased transparency demanded by private investors.
4. Construction Green Lights Mobile Productivity
While some may consider this industry to be slow to adopt new technology, in actuality it has simply maintained a strong commitment to business objectives. They do not buy into technology for the hype or mystical promise of “cutting-edge.” In order for technology to be successful in the construction market, it must be tied to the overall business goals and processes. Most recently, the industry has been rapidly adopting mobile technology because of the time and cost benefits of using mobile devices.
5. New “Big Picture” Skill Set Required
Today, the shop floor and the construction job site are closer than they’ve ever been. For example, pre-fab construction is becoming an increasingly important conversation not only in the home building market but also in the commercial market. The use of pre-fab components requires a deeper technological understanding across all disciplines. From the get go, designers, manufacturers and builders need to ensure that the design is flawless, as one mistake could cost thousands of dollars.
Now several months into 2013, BIM is used by many construction contractors to provide information to crews before they begin their work on the project. Mobile computing has advanced as well in the past year with several useful apps to provide not only real-time field data but also geolocated field data. Even though BIM has notable 3D capabilities, for the construction industry the BIM model is generally converted to a 2D drawing with less of the available data shown to the user.
Keeping the model in 3D for a longer part of the construction process allows all professionals on the job to access a greater level of accuracy at the jobsite. With the help of laser scanners, total stations and multi-stations to gather real-world data in the field, users can merge this data with the model data already in the office for a bigger picture. This would help with scheduling dilemmas later on in the process and ensure valid information at every stage in the lifecycle of the project.
Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
Sean Flaherty, CEO and Dr. Biplab Sarkar, CTO of Nemetschek Vectorworks spoke last week in a webinar about their software launch of Vectorworks 2014.
Flaherty gave a business overview of the company and its progress:
Although Nemetschek Vectorworks is headquartered in the U.S. their customer base is very global, Flaherty explained, with 53% from Europe, the Middle East and Africa region, 28% from Pacific region and 19% from Americas. Their top five user countries are Japan, Germany, UK and Switzerland. AEC remains their biggest market, accounting for 60% of their sales. Landscape and entertainment design are still critical to the company.
Select Subscription customers will be the first to receive this release. Three years ago they launched Select Subscription service. Last year more than half the licenses delivered were to Select members. Vectorworks is seeing positive rebound in the AEC sector.
According to the National Association of HomeBuilders, they predict higher levels of construction activity in the years ahead. Also they are seeing positive signs in multi-family residential and commercial design.
In response to that and other industry insights, Vectorworks has expanded their staff by 50% in the last few years.
BIM continues to be a funnel for information in the architecture industry. Design begins in the mind of the architect. Vectorworks can take the design from the sketchpad to the workflow. Each year more firms are implementing BIM workflow into their projects.
¾ of firms are using BIM software for billable work. This report also found 91% of firms used BIM software for design visualization.
In the UK the government is pushing to become a world leader in BIM, and the National BIM Survey 2013 found that more than 1/3 or 33% of the survey are using BIM, up from only 13% in 2010. “One of the primary ways we feel we can help architects to greater BIM adoption is to provide BIM education to practitioners whether they are Vectorworks users or not,” said Flaherty. “More than half of owners admit to being beginners in BIM expertise.”
“BIM is a new way of realizing projects, one part in the overall BIM processes. In addition to an introduction to BIM processes, Vectorworks also offer industry professionals talks on the process from their standpoints,” said Flaherty.
This perspective of seeing BIM as “new” is refreshing coming from a CAD vendor, as most seem to espouse the belief that BIM is not new.
Vectorworks is very supportive of Open BIM because of its support of transparent open workflow, that allows for collaboration regardless of software tools, its creation of a common language for processes, and ability to provide quality project data that can be used throughout building lifecycle.
Dr. Sarkar gave a rundown of all the features. Here are the features of Vectorworks 2014 as listed in the press release:
The Vectorworks 2014 software includes more than 130 improvements that were developed for better modeling, BIM management, interoperability, usability, performance, and quality. The 2014 product line also features new BIM tools for architects, increased site design capabilities for landscape architects and designers, as well as enhancements to lighting devices, documentation, and graphic controls for entertainment designers. The following list provides a sampling of what design professionals will find inside Vectorworks 2014 software: Enhanced 3D Modeling: This release includes several key improvements to Vectorworks’ already robust 3D modeling capabilities. Built on the industry’s leading modeling kernel, Parasolid®, Vectorworks 2014 offers persistent rendered 3D navigation to provide designers with the ability to easily switch between 3D and rotated Top/Plan views; enhanced walkthrough capabilities, making walkthroughs in OpenGL faster than ever; and the new twist and taper tools that enable users to twist entire solids, solid faces, or NURBS surfaces, as well as taper the faces of 3D objects in a single snap. In addition, the new 3D X-ray Select (patent pending) allows users to temporarily see through solid objects in the area around the cursor.