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 »
February 22nd, 2018 by Susan Smith
Anand Mecheri, CEO and Founder of Invicara, spoke with AECCafe Voice about the company’s recent news of Kingspan Group plc’s $10 million investment in Invicara. Invicara is a provider of transformative cloud-based software solutions for the entire ecosystem of the built environment.
February 16th, 2018 by Susan Smith
There have been some changes to Autodesk recently. Perhaps most importantly for the users and owners, changes to the subscription program, that has been promoted by Autodesk as an “my way or the highway” approach to selling software, or cloud services as it were. As some people were not happy with being expected to purchase a subscription and give up their perpetual licenses, a new promotion has been initiated. This new promotion offers a “switch-back” option, meaning that if you own a perpetual license and you switch to a subscription, “If you’re not satisfied, you can switch back to your perpetual license.” This is the promise.
You can find out more about what this might mean for those who would like to continue with their perpetual licenses or revert to a perpetual license after finding the subscription program doesn’t work for them here.
How do I get this offer? (The first of the FAQs)
Simply trade in your qualifying old perpetual license(s) and purchase a new 1- or 3-year subscription to any eligible collection or individual product of your choice via one of the methods outlined.
Once you submit your perpetual license(s), you agree to discontinue use of the traded-in license(s). This offer ends April 20, 2018.
Which products qualify for the offer?
Most Autodesk perpetual licenses of releases R14 (release year 1998) through 2018 version product not on an active maintenance plan (as of December 31, 2017) qualify to get the offer discount.
When you trade in your qualifying perpetual license(s), you can get the offer discount on most Autodesk product subscriptions, including industry collections, AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor, 3ds Max, Civil 3D, Maya, and much more.
View list of all eligible products and full offer details here.
Can I get a different product than I have now?
You do not need to purchase the same product as the perpetual trade-in license. For example, you can trade in an old, eligible perpetual license of AutoCAD and subscribe to a collection at the promotional price.
(Eds note: This might work if you wanted to buy a subscription to a collection that contains AutoCAD, thereby seeming to get more for your money.)
What does “switch-back” option mean?
We’re confident that you will be satisfied with your subscription, but if for any reason that is not the case, you are eligible to switch back to your perpetual license at the end of either the 3-year term, or the end of the second year of an annual term (1 year plus 1 year renewal). See full details here.
In those full details, note this information:
Note that customers are only able to switch back to the versions set out below.
Do I have to be connected to the internet to use my software?
No. After initial activation, your software will work offline for 30 days. At that point, you will need to reconnect. Don’t worry, we’ll remind you 7 days prior.
Will all of my work automatically go into the cloud?
Desktop applications and all associated user data are stored on your local machine. When you use cloud service applications, you can choose to either store data in the cloud or on your local machine. You retain all of your local data even if you decide to end your subscription.
Will I have updates whether I want to or not?
As a subscriber, you can access the latest updates anytime, but you decide if and when to install them.
What else can I do with subscription that I don’t have with my old software?
The subscription offerings provide you greater value and enable you to:
Eds. note: Nowhere is there any mention of continued support, upgrades or maintenance if you do choose to “switch-back” to your old version of Autodesk software after dipping your toes into the subscription pool. What this offer offers: 1) the owner or user, gains the opportunity to try out the subscription-based arrangement with an option of turning back if he/she wants to. 2) Additionally, the subscription price is 25% less than it would be without this offer, so it might be a worthwhile incentive to move forward. 3) You may really save money on signing up for the Industry Collections.
You must make your decision within 30 days, if you want to “switch-back.” If you do switch back, you don’t get to pick up your perpetual license maintenance plan. You will also be sent back (kind of like in a game of Monopoly) to your perpetual license version you had before.
Extraordinary as it may seem, if you had purchased a 2017 or 2018 perpetual license, it appears (see above chart) that if you were not happy with your subscription plan, you would be switched back to a 2016 perpetual license. I’m hoping this is a typo, but so far that is what is stated on the website. Stay tuned; I have contacted Autodesk to find out further information.
February 8th, 2018 by Susan Smith
This week Trimble announced its acquisition of privately-held e-Builder, an SaaS-based construction program management solution for capital program owners and program management firms. While very often we might wonder what a company’s end goals are regarding an acquisition, e-Builder extends Trimble’s ability to accelerate industry transformation by providing an integrated project delivery solution for owners, program managers and contractors across the design, construct and operate lifecycle. e-Builder is a foremost survivor of the construction software management boom of many years ago.
February 1st, 2018 by Susan Smith
Twenty or so years ago, software programs were developing as the manuals were being written, and often the latest updates in the software didn’t make their way into the final manual. This opened the door for magazines providing software training, and physical classes. Since then, the internet, YouTube and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have increased the opportunity for technology education several fold. Training guides are still valuable learning resources, however, and ASCENT now offers videos inside the guides of various exercises.
Jennifer MacMillan, ASCENT, Instructional Design Projects Manager, talked about the trends and latest instructional curriculum offered by ASCENT. As the traditional instructor-led training is definitely in decline, the need for other types of learning opportunities abound.
“At ASCENT, we definitely feel there is room for both types of learning,” said MacMillan. “The instructor-led side of things absolutely has to occur to set the foundation for learning. As you start to develop the skills you need, you can rely on YouTube and on your peers to learn more. Understanding of high-level strategies is much easier once you’ve learned the basics. Definitely that self-paced learning is what you’re seeing.”
The biggest focus for ASCENT right now is around Autodesk Fusion 360’s curriculum.
“Many are not given the opportunity to go off and take a five-day training class,” said MacMillan. “They’re expected to hit the ground running with new projects all the time. Even if they run into a new software, they still have to get that project done. There’s no room to let that slip.”
In terms of ASCENT’s latest software offering with the Fusion 360 training guide, Fusion 360 is new within the last few years.
“What we found when we started to investigate this software product was there was tons of learning online, such as YouTube,” said MacMillan. “Even Autodesk released tons of learning that was video based, but everything was not at that foundational basic level. It assumed you had those skills. So, we asked, where do users get that skill? We wanted to fill that void with our training guides, because we felt that foundation was absolutely missing in terms of what was available online.”
Considering the fact that students can’t get away from the office for very long, ASCENT developed the Fusion 360 Guide. Fusion 360 is an easy-to-use software product from Autodesk. The book is self-paced so the student can purchase the book, and the training guide and work at their own pace. There is a lot of video content included inside the online training guide so students can learn from that.
“We’ve also found in our most recent training guide, often times the exercises we go through in the book are very focused on this or that task,” said MacMillan. “We felt there was a need to bring all the tasks and requirements together in project-based projects. We did that in the latest training guide, the Sculpting Training guide, where we also included videos. That’s the first time we’ve done that, including videos of the exercises. In the past, videos were always of the learning content and then you used those skills to do the exercises on your own. If you got lost, the only reference you had was going back to the learning content again. But with this latest training guide, it was complex enough that for these projects that we actually embedded some videos so that if a student got lost, they could watch these videos to figure out what was going on.”
Each chapter starts with objectives and what you will learn in each chapter, and then there’s a set of review questions, to be sure students have learned the objectives and content for the chapter.
Students can go to the e-store or go to Amazon and buy it. In ASCENT’s online learning portal, there would be a certification of completion at the end of that course.
The content is designed for people with different learning styles. Some people want it shown to them in video, some people want to read content. Some people want to go straight to the exercise and by trial and error try to figure it out themselves, or go back to resources as they make mistakes or as they need to. “Everyone’s style is completely different and that book has something for everyone,” said MacMillan.
The Autodesk Fusion 360: Introduction to Parametric Modeling book is a foundation book, including the interface and basics of working with parametric modeling. The one introduced prior to AU is one step up above the fundamentals. However, if someone is only working in that environment, that book is standalone as well. It would provide them with foundations if they were doing freeform organic modeling.
ASCENT is very much involved with Autodesk so they have access to their beta programs and beta software prior to release. By working with Autodesk’s developers and product teams they can learn the software and get a head start on building the books and materials before the software is actually released.
Courseware materials in the works include manufacturing and Inventor HSM. On the architectural side, the Autodesk Advance Steel 2018: Fundamentals book is due to release in early February, dealing with the Advance Steel product that Autodesk released.
Everything is in print. Purchases can be made through ASCENT’s e-store, Amazon or through ASCENT. You can purchase an online license to get into the learning portal, you can also purchase everything as an e-book, which gives you an access on your computer, not a PDF, but through a proprietary e-book provider.
January 25th, 2018 by Susan Smith
Harry Vitelli, senior vice president, Construction and Field, Project Delivery and Eric Law, senior director, Product Management at Bentley Systems spoke with AECCafe Voice at the Bentley Year In Infrastructure Thought Leadership Conference in Singapore in October, 2017.
Bentley and TopCon teamed up to help construction industry professionals to learn best practices in constructioneering, a process of managing and integrating survey, engineering, and construction data, to streamline construction workflows and improve project delivery.
Constructioneering enables engineers to begin work with an accurate 3D model of current construction site conditions (as captured by Topcon’s UAS photogrammetry and laser scanners) which then can be processed into engineering-ready 3D reality meshes (by Bentley’s ContextCapture software). Cloud services convey the engineers’ work directly to construction processes in the field.
Eric Law: Construction process automating the workflows, what we’re doing is going after design build teams and helping them to pursue projects better, by using reality modeling, drones, and ContextCapture.
We’re automating workflows with TopCon and Bentley to move data throughout their process. So, this way I can take a drone, fly a site, capture the site, use Bentley’s ConceptStation to develop essential designs, get my client to buy off on a design. I can say here’s a budget concept, pick an option then take it to detailed design. In detailed design, we can actually move it back to TopCon and out to the field where it is driving machines. We can take the design all the way back to the equipment on the field, where we’re doing surveying stakes, redoing drawings, all that redundant stuff. By working with TopCon we’re streamlining that workflow process. It’s a really big step forward for the industry. Everyone talks about inefficiency in construction and one of the things we’re doing is how do we improve that design and construction, how do we get rid of data loss and move data across the process. We’re going to be educating in the Academy on how constructioneering can help the design and build teams better execute their budgets. We’ve put together the Constructioneering Academy and take these workflows out to the audience and educate them on how they can leverage this in their projects. It’s a great way of combining technology, education, working together as a collaborative team in the industry.
January 18th, 2018 by Susan Smith
In an interview with Joe Eichenseer, Building Solutions Team Manager of IMAGINiT, he talked about current trends in BIM and what people want from the technology these days.
JE: From our perspective, we’re seeing more people moving toward trying to do more with the model, whether through information and analytics or taking it into fabrication. There is a large acceptance of BIM in the design and engineering community, and to some extent in the construction side. The question is, how can we get more, because the cost of software and business isn’t going to go away. People want to know what can we do to become that much more efficient and stand out from the crowd in our use and application of BIM philosophies in the design, engineering and construction world.
AECCafe Voice: Have you seen or implemented any really groundbreaking application of that among your clients?
JE: What we’re really focusing on is the incremental improvements. In some cases, it might be taking someone a couple of steps beyond where they were before. With the application or use of BIM with residential home construction, single family homes, we’re working with various home builders to make that transition so they can get into the whole VR side of things. They can show prospective buyers what that home is really like with whatever materials and finishes they have inside the rooms. We want to bring that industry forward, which is traditionally the last to come through because of the nature of the design and construction market.
We’re taking the analytics we can extract from the Revit project or collection of Revit projects using our CLARITY software. We’re getting people to understand where the true technological bottlenecks are inside the company. And if you are a BIM manager or a BIM coordinator, how can we better guide your vision to those things that actually make a difference in your business?
January 12th, 2018 by Susan Smith
AECCafe Voice provides some insightful comments from Jon Fingland, general manager, Collaboration Solutions at Trimble and René de Groot, BIM program manager at VolkerWessels leading construction firm and global player in the field of information and communications technologies, about this week’s announcement of a strategic relationship to standardize VolkerWessels’ projects on a key set of Trimble construction technologies. The collaboration is designed to leverage each company’s core capabilities to drive innovations in Building Information Management (BIM) technology and improve the management and predictability of building construction and real estate projects.
January 4th, 2018 by Susan Smith
Happy New Year!
Approaching a new year, the technologies that we saw growing during 2017 may unfold into 2018 to become realized with deeper understanding.
December 21st, 2017 by Susan Smith
Looking back over 2017, AEC milestones and ongoing challenges preside over the year. It was exciting this year to visit Singapore, a nation/state/city that is truly a “smart nation,” as well as a “smart city,” employing more technologies that are linked and integrated than generally used in design projects.
In terms of adoption of products, the year has seen many ways software companies help customers adopt new workflow processes, product releases and maintain upgrades.
December 15th, 2017 by Susan Smith
This interview was conducted with Andy Smith director product management – Building Design Modeling and Santanu Das, senior vice president, Design & Modeling, at Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2017 thought leadership conference, Singapore.