Bentley’s annual Year in Infrastructure event is a showcase for the company’s Be Inspired award winners in various industry categories, as well as an opportunity for the company to demonstrate some of its new directions and product releases. Some of the big topics this year were the introduction of Bentley’s Cloud Services added to the platform, the SaaS Project Sharing Services, the potential of a health information model, the new Innovation page where users can view and comment on new research and development.
Archive for the ‘Cloud’ Category
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…)
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…)
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.
- 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.
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.
Mike Gustafson, Product Manager, Tekla answered some questions about Tekla’s BIMsight 1.8 release, a free construction collaboration tool. This new version makes BIM collaboration LIVE and allows you to share models and communicate through the client instantly. The model sharing that was introduced in BIMsight 1.6 is now enhanced by the note sharing capability, thereby eliminating the need to send notes in email.
This morning Autodesk announced a pay-as-you-go model for all the company’s desktop software including the latest Design and Creation Suites, Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya and Autodesk Maya LT. A “hangout” was held this morning on Google this morning where Andrew Anagnost, SVP, Industry Strategy & Marketing for Autodesk and other industry specialists, discussed this new offering.
Businesses are increasingly adopting this type of model for consuming services and products as opposed to owning software. Options generally include renting, sharing or purchasing subscriptions such as this “pay-as-you-go” model. This way designers, engineers and architects no longer will have to be concerned about purchasing the next version of the software. New comers will also be able to get up and running on the software with few up-front costs, and get projects started with this software.
Options include quarterly and monthly or annual rental plans for customers who want to stay current with product updates, use of Autodesk 360 cloud services and support. This is a similar option to what Autodesk Subscription customers already enjoy. The rental plan will be available beginning September 2013 and applies to Autodesk AutoCAD Design Suite, AutoCAD Inventor LT Suite, AutoCAD Revit LT Suite, Building Design Suite, Entertainment Creation Suite, Factory Design Suite, Infrastructure Design Suite, Plant Design Suite, Product Design Suite, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya LT.