The AEC Lens
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »
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
Let’s start with newest acquisition, kubit GmbH, that took place earlier this week.
kubit is a developer of software for surveying and as-built documentation. The acquisition also includes virtually all of the assets of its U.S. distributor kubit USA, Inc.
Located in Dresden, Germany, since 1999 kubit has been developing field-proven software products to enable and simplify the use of real world objects in CAD applications. Initially launched to link total stations directly to AutoCAD, today kubit provides tools to integrate 3D laser scan data with CAD environments such as Autodesk Revit and AutoCAD. Although just acquired by FARO, kubit’s software is hardware independent, and is expected to remain that way, at least for the foreseeable future.
kubit Laser Scanning Portfolio
“The acquisition of kubit is a step in FARO’s strategy to developing integrated, disruptive 3D documentation product offerings for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction market,” stated Jay Freeland, FARO’s President and CEO. “By adding kubit’s products to our portfolio, customers now have significantly enhanced software options to serve a vast array of point cloud modeling, analysis needs, and measurement capabilities with very high connectivity to the Autodesk suite of products.”
Although monetary figures were not disclosed, the cash transaction includes an initial payment as well as future payments.
ARAS 360 Acquisition
About a month ago, announced the acquisition of ARAS 360 Technologies Inc., a developer of accident and crime reconstruction, simulation, and animation software.
Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Kamloops, British Columbia, ARAS produces a full suite of accident and crime reconstruction software tools that offer advanced graphics, advanced analytical tools, and the ability to work with large point cloud data sets from 3D laser scanners. The company’s newest product, Reality, is a 64-bit crash and crime software product that was launched in November 2014. Reality provides customers with an intuitive and user-friendly interface enabling them to quickly generate precision diagrams with stunning details and graphic realism.
ARAS 360 HD Crash and Crime Reconstruction Software
“The acquisition of ARAS 360 will help FARO create a complementary suite of integrated 3D documentation product offerings for our law enforcement customers,” said FARO’s Jay Freeland. “By adding the ARAS products to our portfolio, along with the product offerings of the CAD Zone which we acquired last year, customers can now document and analyze any crime or accident scene with the most intuitive and powerful drawing, simulation and animation tools in the market.”
This was also a cash transaction with an initial payment as well as future payments. As with the kubit acquisition, acquisition figures for ARAS 360 also were not disclosed.
CAD Zone Acquisition
The acquisition of ARAS 360 is not FARO’s first foray into forensics, as last year it acquired The CAD Zone, a software provider in the law enforcement accident and crime scene reconstruction market. The intent of that acquisition was to integrate CAD Zone’s point cloud software application with FARO’s laser scanning technology to provide turnkey solutions for crime scene and other forensic applications.
FARO’s continued push into the $8.3 billion law enforcement forensic technologies market supports its implementation of a long-term strategy of expansion into key vertical markets with its 3D metrology, imaging, and realization products.
“We believe CAD Zone’s leading software solutions for law enforcement will provide FARO with a compelling integrated 3D documentation product offering,” said FARO’s Freeland. “This acquisition is an important part of our strategic focus on penetrating key vertical markets that offer FARO the most market potential. While law enforcement is a relatively small vertical market for FARO today, we believe it represents a significant opportunity for the right 3D documentation solution and our acquisition of CAD Zone takes a major step forward in creating that offering.”
With these acquisitions, FARO puts itself in an interesting position. The long-range scanning market for AEC (especially with AutoCAD) is an especially lucrative one and is probably the fastest growing segment of the 3D scanning market, although it could be argued that automated inspection in manufacturing is also a growth market, too. While relatively small, forensics is a good vertical market for FARO, and one that appears to be growing at a good pace
Above and beyond acquisitions, we noted last week at the Autodesk REAL 2015 event in San Francisco that FARO and Autodesk are getting particularly close through integrations with Autodesk’s AutoCAD, Revit, and ReCap. The kubit acquisition reinforces the Autodesk connection. Where this all goes is anybody’s guess, but I think it’s safe to say that this relationship will only grow stronger. In fact, it’s not out the realm of possibility that, ultimately, FARO Technologies could become a potential acquisition target of Autodesk. After all, stranger things have happened.