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 »
March 15th, 2013 by Susan Smith
Bob Batcheler, co-founder and executive vice president of Strategy for Newforma, talked with AECCafe Voice about the new spring 2013 release of the Newforma product line. The company is well known for its Newforma Project Center, a project information management software (PIM). The product line also includes Newforma Building Information Management, Newforma Contract Management, Newforma Project Analyzer and Newforma Project Cloud. Its new enterprise project resource management software, Newforma Project Analyzer, is a product built expressly for project managers and principals in architecture and engineering firms.
March 12th, 2013 by Susan Smith
VIZERRA introduced the next generation of its Revizto cloud-based collaboration software to make it even easier for architects, engineers and contractors (AEC) to communicate their design intent with project owners in a 3-D environment. The new version of the Interactive 3-D platform allows users to view their Revizto interactive 3-D designs via iPad and Android tablets to communicate easily in the field.
Additionally, smoother control and navigation make this new version simpler to use and can be used by those who are not design professionals. Revizto – Latin for “visual check” – helps AEC professionals avoid project complications by working in real time through 3-D technology, without having to learn a new software program. An Autodesk Revit or Trimble SketchUp project can be turned into an interactive, data-rich 3-D environment in minutes. The result is a Visual Information Model (VIM) that can easily be shared with the entire team via the Revizto Viewer in a cloud environment, including the associated video notes, markers and screenshots.
March 4th, 2013 by Susan Smith
Huw Roberts, Bentley Systems vice president, core marketing, shared some predictions on important market trends for 2013:
There is a focus in construction on integrated projects, so my top-level prediction for the year is that the characteristic of projects and project teams will continue to become increasingly integrated. Infrastructure owners have been looking to integrate project delivery types for a number of years. There are many models, including IPD in the U.S., design-build-operate, joint ventures, and project alliancing. It’s really not important which model becomes the frontrunner; what matters is that the trend toward finding ways to integrate project teams and processes, and of eliminating silos of activity that only act sequentially, will continue to become the dominant way of delivering projects.
This is already creating some needs in the market and shaping what happens this year. To begin with, there is growing demand for information modeling for all aspects of infrastructure projects – for building design, site design, utilities, fabrication, construction, and so on – and this is fast becoming the norm. Information modeling deliverables are what owners want to receive and what designers and contractors want to produce. Design firms and construction firms see value in this approach and that perception is going to grow and accelerate demand for it.
This change in attitude is being driven by the realization that the best solution is not a “one size fits all.” What information modeling means to a building design team is different from what it means to the folks working on the roads and developing the land around that building, and also very different from what it means to the construction crews and the teams that will eventually be charged with operating and maintaining that building. So there’s a growing awareness in the market of the need for those different information modeling approaches to work together, and support for an iterative process is taking hold. Many project organizations and enterprises recognize that they have different tools, processes, and skillsets that have to work together in order to achieve an information modeling approach that serves their own purposes.
Here’s a case in point. A few years ago everyone was excited about the fact that architects and engineers were moving to smarter 3D models, and then that constructors were moving to 3D. Today, owners are soliciting projects that require the delivery team to not only design but also build and operate the building. These delivery teams quickly recognize the need to integrate multiple information modeling approaches to serve their various needs across the infrastructure lifecycle. And all of this awareness is driving growth at project and enterprise scales.
Some firms are working to apply various technologies in new areas, and many struggle by trying to “mash” information or processes into a tool or technology that’s not suited for their workflows or purpose. Increasingly, they are beginning to realize that multiple technologies need to be involved on every project. Why? Because some information is best suited to be in a CAD system, while other information can be better processed and managed in a BIM system, database system, operational control system, discipline-specific analysis system, machine control system, and so on. Anyone familiar with real-world projects knows that it makes no sense to put everything into a single system.
February 26th, 2013 by Susan Smith
In a webcast this week, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass addressed the company’s financials. “As we near the 2-year anniversary of the launch of our design and creation suites, we couldn’t be more pleased with their progress and growth. Revenue from Suites increased 50% over that 2-year period. Suites now represent 30% of total revenue, up from 23% just 2 years ago. We’re delivering exceptional value to our customers, who get to utilize and experience more of our broad product portfolio. What’s more, we have seen a meaningful increase in our ASPs. It’s a win-win. Growth in our Suites help drive the record revenue results in both our AEC and Manufacturing business segments.”
Bass went on to say that the investments made over the past couple of years in major account direct sales continue to pay off. In the fourth quarter, Autodesk had a record 45 transactions that exceeded $1 million in value. This is up 25% year-on-year. The total value for these large deals increased 36% year-on-year. For FY ’13, large deals increased by 18%.
Autodesk’s AEC business had record quarterly results. Strong growth in AEC Suites to the growing implementation of BIM across all disciplines of the AEC industry, including infrastructure. BIM 360 wins in Q4 were concentrated in construction, reflecting Autodesk’s leadership role in providing cloud and mobile technologies to that industry.
February 26th, 2013 by Susan Smith
While the U.S. is trying to figure out where to get the money to pay for much needed infrastructure, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to spend more than $100 billion on infrastructure in the next 15 months to help revive his country’s economy. Half of this growth is expected to be funded by government debt. Further, the country doesn’t have a great need for infrastructure, according to industry experts. It already has man-made islands, bullet trains and elevated highways, the result of its love affair with concrete and steel.
February 20th, 2013 by Susan Smith
IMSI/Design announced TurboSite and free TurboSite Reader for iPad in November. I spoke to Bob Mayer about this release at Autodesk University.
TurboSite is a field and site survey mobile app that facilitates drawing in the field and geolocation using a GPS on an iPad. It also has an indoor sensor based positioning system which tracks your position indoors.
Royal Farros, CEO of IMSI/Design, said: “TurboSite is the first true mobile AEC app… a professional building app that can’t be done on a desktop or laptop computer.”
This product eliminates the need for laptops, full sets of building plans, table and chairs and digital cameras that were all a part of the site visit process in the past. The information gathering is also simplified by having this app on the iPad where all building plans can be electronically viewed and navigated with the touch screen.
According to the press release, GeoWalk tracks location within a structure, while GeoNudge pinpoints exact location. When documentation is required, a photo or video is taken using iPad’s built-in camera and is automatically positioned correctly in a separate layer over the electronic file. Text notes and audio annotations can also be added. Even your orientation when taking notes and photos is denoted by TurboSite’s unique GeoMarks. GeoMarks offers a collection of rich data that are geolocated, according to Mayer. This can includes audio, notes, photos, dictation, and many other data types.
February 14th, 2013 by Susan Smith
Brooklyn-based design firm Situ Studio is the winner of this year’s annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design. Over the last five years, the Times Square Alliance has invited architecture and design firms to submit proposals for a romantic public art installation celebrating Valentine’s Day in Times Square. This year’s winning design, Situ Studio’s Heartwalk, was unveiled on Tuesday, February 12, 2013, and remain on view until March 10, 2013.
February 13th, 2013 by Susan Smith
In President Obama’s State of the Union address, he specifically talked about rebuilding the U.S. He outlined a “Fix-it-First” program to put people to work on “urgent repairs,” such as failing infrastructure like bridges, roads and other critical infrastructure. He also said on the topic of climate change, “If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”
February 5th, 2013 by Susan Smith
At AU I spoke with TopCon Positioning Systems (TPS)’ Brad Burgess, North American sales manager for scanning products, about the ScanMaster CAD Link which they were demonstrating at the show. CAD Link provides users with an interactive link between ScanMaster and AutoCAD and enables them to efficiently extract and draw objects.
The ScanMaster CAD Link makes editing point cloud data collected by the GLS-1500 scanner through the drawing operation via AutoCAD very smooth and efficient.
The main functions of CAD Link for ScanMaster are as follows:
CAD Link had been released several weeks before the show. TopCon is active in various industry segments, and very busy in the heavy construction and machine control industries. The scanning product division covers a couple of vertical markets.
Where once before TopCon was known more as a traditional hardware manufacturer, now they are very involved on the office side. There has always been some software packaged with TopCon hardware.
“It’s a necessity today because once you collect the data it’s got to be processed in some manner so it can be consumed in the traditional design packages like Autodesk and MicroStation, and Carlson,” said Burgess. “You don’t have a solution unless you can move your data off your hardware platform and into your customers’ CAD platform.”
In the past 10-20 years or more, there has always been a multi-step process to move data. There were always a number of hoops to jump through to get that done. “What is different about this is a customer that’s using our scanning technology in conjunction with our ScanMaster software, doesn’t have to export a certain file format and then import that back with the CAD Link data. With the link created, as you’re working in ScanMaster software extracting features, those features are automatically and simultaneously populated in the AutoCAD environment. So there is no import/exporting, it’s just happening in real time.”
By creating this link you’ve really streamlined a couple of keystrokes and there is no glitch of having to have compatible versions, it’s a seamless workflow.
CAD Link provides a link between the two worlds of data production and design. “Even if you went to a surveying engineering company you might find surveyors in the basement and the designers are on the second or third floor,” Burgess pointed out. “Now we truly have a product that links these communities together with one piece of software.”
January 29th, 2013 by Susan Smith
Geodesign is a set of techniques and enabling technologies for planning built and natural environments in an integrated process, including project conceptualization, analysis, design specification, stakeholder participation and collaboration, design creation, simulation, and evaluation (among other stages). “Geodesign is a design and planning method which tightly couples the creation of design proposals with impact simulations informed by geographic contexts.” – Wikipedia
Geodesign is yet in its infancy and as the conference made clear, many are just on the dawn of using it while others might be exploring its inner workings. The focus on the first day did seem very geo-centric, as of course the event was hosted by a GIS company. Ideally, Geodesign will pull datasets from geographic information systems as well as computer aided design and BIM software and other datasets to tackle big world problems such as sustainability, ecology and building tomorrow’s cities.
Bran Ferren, co-founder of Applied Minds LLC and keynote speaker for the opening session at the Geodesign Summit held at Esri’s Redlands, Calif. Campus, set the tone for the Summit that commenced Thursday, January 24th, 2013.
The Geodesign Summit, introduced by Esri in 2009, explores the concept of merging geography and design, and being able to access various datasets through the “CloudGIS,” Esri’s version of the Cloud. According to Ferren, it is a way to begin to build the cities of the future, using technologies such as geographic information, planning, building information modeling and much more.