The AEC Lens
Alex Carrick
Alex Carrick
Chief Economist at the CMD Group

As Fall Approaches, Key Aspects of The U.S. and Canadian Construction Outlooks

 
August 24th, 2015 by Alex Carrick

Yes, there are ongoing caveats concerning the U.S. economy – a disproportionate number of part-time as opposed to full-time jobs; high levels of student debt; the psychological hangover of recession-era foreclosures in the housing market; etc. Nevertheless, proof of greater strength is everywhere.

The bellwether initial jobless claims figure has been below 300,000 for 24 weeks in a row. This proxy measure for layoffs, during the week ending July 18, fell to its lowest level since 1973, when total employment was nothing like as high as it is now.

In both June and July of this year, total housing starts in America climbed above 1.2 million units (annualized) for the first time since before the recession. This was the logical result of residential building permits bettering 1.3 million units (annualized) in June.

And the almighty ‘greenback’ has become even more powerful, soaring above every other major currency, mostly by percentage changes that are in double-digits-plus.

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A Dozen Mid-August Economic Nuggets

 
August 17th, 2015 by Alex Carrick

Who can doubt that there’s an exchange-rate war underway? Almost all the world’s currencies have fallen to one degree or another versus the U.S. ‘greenback’. One of the few hold-outs, until recently, was China. Now, even Beijing has stepped back from parity.

The cries of alarm, though, have been overblown. If the yuan’s reduction doesn’t stray significantly from -2%, it won’t play a huge role in promoting China’s exports. To site an example from the retail sector, nobody ever holds a sale announcing that prices have been ‘slashed’ by 2%. If the slide continues and reaches -10%, that’ll be another story.

Since most commodities are priced in U.S. dollars, they will become slightly more expensive for Chinese buyers. This is another knock against owning the shares of companies engaged in supplying raw materials at this time. A deeper concern, though is what this says about the state of China’s economy. An output growth rate that was once 10% to 12% has slowed to a range of 6% to 7%. And that’s if China’s ‘official’ statistics are to be believed.

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AECCafe to exhibit at the 2015 AIA Convention and record video interviews

 
April 27th, 2015 by Sanjay Gangal

We are exhibiting at the 2015 AIA Convention in Atlanta on May 14-15 at our booth #2878 and we are recording video interviews at our booth. Let me know if you want to book a 15-minute time slot for you or someone from your firm. Interview opportunities are open to all attendees, architects, and exhibitors.

You can see past interviews here.

Come by our booth to say hello even if you don’t want to record an interview. We are doing a raffle for a KindleFire and you are most welcome to drop in your business card for a chance to win it.

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FARO Acquires Complementary Software Companies

 
March 6th, 2015 by Jeff Rowe

As we said a little over a month ago, we have witnessed the ongoing and perpetual consolidation of the CAD/CAM industry as companies continue to get swallowed up by others.

We’ve witnessed CAD companies acquiring CAD/CAM companies, simulation companies acquiring CAD companies, and other types of technical software and service companies acquiring CAD/CAM companies. With all the attention seemingly focused on the CAD/CAM side, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there also has been a significant consolidation through acquisition on other sides of technical software as well over the past several years. In other words, with these other acquisitions technical software circles of all types continue to get smaller.

This time around its 3D scanning giant, FARO Technologies, and its recent acquisitions of kubit (AEC point cloud processing software) and ARAS 360 (crime reconstruction/forensic software). Founded in 1981, FARO Technologies Inc. develops and markets portable 3D measurement systems for computer-aided manufacturing measurement.

FARO Focus 3D Laser Scanner

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The Future of How Visualizations Are Made: Real-time Exploration of Design Data

 
January 15th, 2015 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Autodesk

This is a presentation from the 2014 Autodesk University.

 

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Technology Trends with Dell, HP, and Intel: Hosted by Lynn Allen

 
January 14th, 2015 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Autodesk

Description

Join AU’s own Lynn Allen for a candid conversation with technologists from Dell, HP, and Intel. Learn how new and emerging technologies are affecting and enhancing the way we work with Autodesk® design and creation suites, and more.

Key Learning

  • Hear near-term technology predictions from technologists from leading companies
  • Learn how leading technology companies approach workstations, cloud computing, mobility, innovation, the Internet of things and big data, and 3D printing

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Autodesk CEO Carl Bass and CTO Jeff Kowalski Keynote at the 2014 Autodesk University

 
January 13th, 2015 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Autodesk

 

Description

Join Autodesk CEO Carl Bass and CTO Jeff Kowalski as they present the trends and forces shaping the future of making things. Carl will talk about new ways to communicate and even collaborate with our computers, which are blurring the lines between the digital and physical worlds. Jeff will explore how we’re bringing life to design through robust design taxonomies, generative design, and our emerging power to create things that can sense, respond, and collaborate.
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Innovation Forum: The Future of How Buildings Are Made: A Stimulant for Your Next Project

 
January 12th, 2015 by Sanjay Gangal

Article Source: Autodesk

This is a presentation from the 2014 Autodesk University held in Las Vegas in December, 2014.

Description

The explosion of digital context is about to change everything that you know about the design and construction of the built environment. Join the AU Innovation Forum, buckle yourself in, and wrap your mind around the future of making buildings.

Speakers

Co-speaker: Alan Ricks

 
Alan Ricks is the Co-Founder of MASS Design Group. He manages global operations and leads initiatives spanning the design of individual buildings to policy—working globally to promote and build architecture that has a positive impact on communities. Ricks is an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab and a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum.
 
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Big News For AEC – AutoCAD 2015 and AutoCAD LT 2015 for Mac Released

 
October 14th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

Coming about six months after its major Windows releases, Autodesk, Inc. announced today the releases of AutoCAD 2015 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2015 for Mac.

Although Autodesk estimates that only 1-3% of all Macs run CAD software, this is still a significant milestone for AutoCAD for the Mac platform, now in its fifth release. Significant because in the five years since the first release of AutoCAD for Mac, the Mac platform base and presence has expanded from about 15 million to today’s approximately 80+ million. A nice increase in potential market.

AutoCAD 2015 For Mac Overview

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InsectCity and BuzzBuilding make Stockholm Self-sufficient

 
June 9th, 2014 by Sanjay Gangal

Stockholm, June 9, 2014 – Belatchew Arkitekter’s studio Belatchew Labs presents InsectCity and the insect farm BuzzBuilding, with the aim of making Stockholm self-sufficient in protein.

In the year 2050 it is estimated that the Earth will be populated by 9 billion people and a question that is raised is how a sustainable food-production that produces enough for everyone, without posing additional stress on the environment can be designed. A solution is to find an alternative to meat production, and one such protein source is insects. There are approximately 1900 edible species of insects, and 2 billion of the world’s population already eat insects today. Protein production from insects is much more efficient than meat production, for example, 10 kg fodder is needed to produce 1 kg of beef, but the same amount of fodder can produce 9 kg of insects.
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