Carl Storms, Senior Applications Expert, for Rand IMAGINiT and Matt Mason, director of Software Development, for Rand IMAGINiT spoke with AECCafe at Autodesk University in November 2016 about the direction of the AEC industry. Rand IMAGINiT is a consulting and software development firm and Autodesk Partner. Carl Storms is “out in the trenches,” working with real world problems in AEC while Matt Mason is behind the scenes in the software development department, realizing the solutions to those challenges.
When asked about popular products and trends in AEC, Storm said, “Dynamo and visual programming are still a big thing. It’s been around a couple of years and now people more comfortable with it. Autodesk’s latest release of Dynamo Player is for people who are maybe not well versed in technology. They can just hit a button and play something. It’s like a playlist, you can pick a track you want to play. It accesses the information inside of your Revit model. It will, for example, have your text go from lower case to upper case with just the click of a button. It really gives people the benefit of using the technology without spending a lot of time learning the programming.”
According to Matt Mason, “Dynamo is still used by the power users, but to make it available to the rest of the people in the firm it needs to be more approachable. It’s been a challenge historically because you had to open the power users’ big complicated graph and understand it. From a usability standpoint, for the other 95% who aren’t at the level of doing Dynamo, it really helps democratize and leverage the Dynamo concept. The players can take advantage of the power users’ skills and have pretty much on-demand access.”
“Another big thing is augmented and virtual realities,” said Storms. “It’s now in more client and consumer based products. You have things as simple as Google Cardboard where you spend $12 to get the little lens and use your own smartphone, to high end devices, but they all allow you to immerse yourself in the data. Whether it’s a virtual reality type of device where you get immersed in the world of your model, you can walk around in your model and see what’s going on. Or you bring the reality into your reality so you can still see people and have conversations. You can see your interaction. People have been talking about it and have lots of thoughts and ideas for using it, and it will become more mainstream.”
In an AECCafe Voice interview with Paul Burden of ASCENT Center for Technical Knowledge, the courseware segment of Rand Worldwide, he spoke of the trends he saw in the provision of technical training for their customers.
The Autodesk University 2016 keynote kicked off this Tuesday morning at the Venetian Congress Center, Las Vegas, with some rousing state-of-the-art rock and roll, followed by an introduction by Autodesk CTO Jeff Kowalski.
An ongoing topic in the AEC industry for over a year now has been the issue of Autodesk’s moving its customer base to a subscription only program. While Autodesk has given customers a lot of time to make this transition, nevertheless, the Autodesk Subscription Program means the end of the perpetual license program. The Autodesk Subscription Program is heralded by the company as the best thing for customers of Autodesk products and they have the recent earnings to prove it. In Q1 of this year, they were up 132,000 to 2.71 million.
Trends that are shaping the built world are powered by the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, institute BIM mandates across the globe, the need for convergence or collaboration of AEC teams, the need for the “smart city,” emergence of the owner/operator extending the lifecycle of a project into operations and maintenance, and provision of tools that are right for the job. These trends are linked, as one will benefit and nourish the other.
1 Merchant Square, London, Robin Partington & Partners Architects
“If we are to bring the broad masses of the people in every land to the table of abundance, it can only be by the tireless improvement of all our means of technical production.” – Winston Churchill, MIT, 1949.
Little could Churchill predict how timeless his comment was, or perhaps he could. He probably would be amazed at how that insightful comment would show up in the technological creations of today.
This year software companies are talking a lot about convergence, and Autodesk is no different in that respect. What is different is that the software company is making a significant investment in the “make” side of things, which it has promised for the past few years. This focus is moving into the building side of things with many technologies that we have traditionally thought of as strictly manufacturing.
Matt Mason, director of software development with IMAGINiT Technologies, of Rand Worldwide, answered some questions for AECCafe Voice about the release of the new version of IMAGINiT Clarity, Clarity 2016.1. The new release includes new features in IMAGINiT Clarity, IMAGINiT Clarity Connect, IMAGINiT Clarity Connect LT and the newly released IMAGINiT Clarity Owner Data Portal (ODP), designed to aid AEC firms in capturing information from BIM models and to facilitate the transition from construction to building operations.
About a month ago I attended a press briefing on the new Autodesk Revit 2016 R2, a release that builds on product performance and makes Revit perform faster. The release looks at how to empower architects and engineers to embed design intent in their model by building smarter tools. It has a lot of professional productivity enhancements, and product managers believe it’s their best Revit yet.
Revit 2016 R2 updates room, space, HVAC zone, duct, and pipe color fills using multiple CPUs. Image courtesy of Autodesk.