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AECO Industry Predictions for 2013 from Microdesk

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Mike DeLacey, president of Microdesk, spoke about the company’s AECO industry predictions for 2013. Microdesk provides business and technology consulting services to help firms plan, design, build and operate land and buildings. At Autodesk University 2012, the company presented their predictions, which were brought to the forefront by natural disasters such as Hurricane Isaac and Hurricane Sandy that swung the spotlight onto the country’s failing infrastructure.

Top five trends DeLacey outlined are as follows:

  1. Rebuilding America “Hurricane Sandy is fresh in our minds, and we think in the coming months people are going to push for the use of technology in building, not only in the wake of Sandy but around the current crisis with infrastructure. Governor Cuomo talked about the advantage of technology and what we think the future will look like, especially with climate change and some of the storms we’ve had hit New York in years past. This push for technology is associated with infrastructure.
  2. Regulatory Compliance “We are seeing significant push for BIM for non-traditional use. The appetite for BIM is increasing based on increased ways to use the model. More government organizations are developing BIM-based workflows that will add efficiencies in regulatory compliance and design review. We think the use will influence the industry and further adoption at more levels.”
  3. Increased focus on the I in BIM “By that we see a critical mass at this point and more and more purpose-built apps taking advantage of information in the models. Look at the integration of Maximo and Revit or mobile apps that can stream specific parts of the model to your mobile device based on information in the model. BIM has found its way more and more into field operations, material management  and other uses that go beyond project delivery to help with more efficient facility operations and maintenance.”
  4. Mobility “Mobility is hitting critical mass but in 2013 will become an industry standard.  This may be the last year it’s on the list. We’re so connected in our personal lives, but in our business word we’re not connected, we are still chasing information around. I think it will change quickly – I think the Microsoft Surface new tablets/laptops that will all run Windows 8 will be the business equivalent of the iPad. It will be interesting to see if iPad can make itself a staple in the business environment. The iPad hasn’ been able to replace my laptop. I haven’t seen Apple make huge strides in the business world, there is still disconnection.”
  5. Cloud “The Cloud is still young and will be on the list for the next three years, until we’re actually running our design and construction apps from the Cloud. I think a lot of people who are in the position to make a decision about the Cloud are old enough to remember the Burroughs B25. That evolved from your user space and processing power on a desktop. Now we’ve grown up to a laptop that’s more powerful than that, where no one limits my space or processing power. We have created an independent computing generation and for a lot of people they think of the Cloud as going back to the Burroughs, having limited space. I think the reason that Autodesk put the 12-year-old on stage to was to demonstrate that they are growing up in a world the connectivity – anything they have on any device is so natural to them any time and anywhere.”

AU2012: The Cloud and the Maker community

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

The message at this morning’s keynote at Autodesk University revolved around the cloud and the maker community. These two topics were big last year, but this year they dominated the discussions at the keynote, with guest speakers who are truly on the cutting edge of the maker community.


Dilbert goes high tech

Friday, November 16th, 2012

You really know when a technology has arrived when it shows up in a Dilbert comic strip! 3D printing gets the spotlight in this strip….

Point-Cloud Processing, STMs part of new Bentley Descartes V8i

Monday, May 14th, 2012

In an interview with Richard Zambuni, Bentley’s Global Marketing Director, Geospatial & Utilities, Benoit Fredericque, Product Manager II (Responsible for Bentley MicroStation/Descartes Point Cloud Product Management and 3D City GIS), and Faraz Ravi, Director of Product Management (Responsible for Pointools), Bentley Descartes 8i new functionality was discussed.


According to the press release, Bentley Descartes V8i (SELECTseries 3) offers 3D modeling that combines point clouds, raster imagery, and geometry. The resulting models enhance the usability of point clouds by supporting hybrid design workflows that deliver “as-operated” 3D models to serve the operations and maintenance needs of owner-operators. By uniquely enabling hypermodeling – the intuitive navigation of as-operated models in 3D context that includes engineering information in any form – Bentley is committed to enhancing infrastructure safety and resilience while increasing owner-operators’ returns on their engineering investments.

Zambuni said that point cloud data is becoming ubiquitous, as gathering data is becoming more cost effective.  “ The challenge has been to bring data into workflows in an efficient way,” Zambuni said. Those who make use of this data include  infrastructure engineering workflows, design, construction, operation or planning and designing.

“Initially, we licensed the Vortex engine from Pointools to allow us to visualize, animate and view point clouds in MicroStation, but then we wanted to make point clouds a fundamental data type which means we can manage them alongside raster and vector.” The questions remained,  how do we support visualization,  animation in MicroStation and how do we deliver the advanced processing of point clouds that people need which we are going to support in Descartes and Pointools? What do you do in extended and enterprise workflows?

“That’s where ProjectWise streaming services come in, where you can literally isolate the elements of the point clouds you want to work with and stream them into a desktop session,” said Zambuni.  “This allows you to get all the advantages you want with ProjectWise and workflow management and getting files aligned with projects. You can really bring point clouds into extended workflows rather than have them sit on thumb drives or hard drives somewhere or fedexing them around, it starts making them manageable in the way you manage DWG and DGN or any other engineering documentation.”

This is not just about individual products, he cautions, but rather about workflows and supporting point clouds in a very connected way across a range of products.

Scalable terrain models (STMs) are slightly different from point clouds as they are so huge and people must slice and dice them to bring them into projects. Often a very large STM can’t be used because it is unmanageable.

“We have made technology that allows you to to bring an STM in,  even if it’s billions of points and to view that, you can work with that single scalable STM at city, regional or country level and you do it quickly and effectively,” said Zambuni.

Fredericque said that with the adoption and growth of our aerial lidar sensors, more and more people use aeril lidar and ask for STMs with a large number of points, increasing the need for this data type. Most products cannot cope with the sheer size of these files.  Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems, says  this is part of the big data problem solving for users – the way Bentley can manipulate and process point clouds and bring STMs into engineering worfklows.

“It also is a big plus for geospatial workflows for national mapping agencies where you want to manage large scale geospatial projects,” said Fredericque.

Ravi said that Pointools engine was integrated into MicroStation in 2009 which by extension made it a part of the Bentley platform. Descartes has extra layers of Pointools functionality on top of the engine.

Bentley Descartes V8i (SELECTseries 3) running on MicroStation V8i (SELECTseries 3) advances information modeling, in particular for infrastructure assets and 3D cities, through:

  • advanced point-cloud processing
  • the ability to handle extremely large scalable terrain models
  • 3D model texturing functionality

Autodesk keynotes – AutoCAD 2013 product launch

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

The Autodesk Media Summit held in San Francisco last week sports news of the latest Autodesk 2013 product suites and products launch. CEO Carl Bass opened the Autodesk Media Summit with some business results, big trends, followed by specific product information by Amar Hanspal.Check out the video here:


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