December 22, 2008
Top Ten AEC Technology Trends Review for 2008
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each AEC Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the AEC industry, AEC product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

The integrated project delivery process is being adopted across the board, said Hecht. “Open standards means agreeing on a common definition of terms and names, attributes, properties and information,” he quoted. Open standardization also means agreeing on a common means of communication.

With regard to open interfaces and interoperability, he said that it’s about balancing users’ needs for compatibility with autonomy and heterogeneity of interoperating systems. “We need to agree on a definition of open interfaces.”

The buildingSMART Alliance, the OGC and Sponsors of the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner and Operator) Testbed issued a Request for Quotation (RFQ) and Call for Participation (CFP) for the AECOO-Phase 1 Testbed.

The OGC and buildingSMART are collaborating on the AECOO Testbed to address the productivity problems in the AEC industry which are fragmented by professions and skills.

“Testbeds yield accelerated alignments of industry on solutions using open standards,” explained Hecht. The feedback then goes back to the standards bodies.

Another challenge is to coordinate the testbed with other standards such as IFC. A testbed results in a prototype/alpha software with interoperability “baked in.” It is then submitted to the standards organization knowing that it works in the software.

AECOO-1 strives to incorporate:
  • BIM views
  • gbXML and EnergyPlus
  • SOA

  • Hecht said that anyone can join the testbed. For more information click here.

    10) Cloud Computing

    Computing power is greater this year than ever before. Cloud computing enables organizations to take advantage of and provide internet services without having to own infrastructure themselves. This capability alone opens up all kinds of possibilities. When organizations own their own infrastructure, they need hardware and bandwidth that is not always being used, but they still have to pay for it. By using Amazon Cloud services, Microsoft Live Mesh or others, companies can effectively pay for what they use. If the company has a peak period where they need more machines for a set period of time, then automatically new computing resources are spun up just as part of the service that the
    cloud computing provider gives them and that’s what they pay for. But the rest of the time when the company has less bandwidth requirements and less processing, they only pay for the actual CPU, bandwidth and disk storage used.

    For developers and others who may want to put a service out on the market, but are not too sure how well it will do, it would be better for them not to invest in hardware and bandwidth initially and instead use the cloud. For the AEC market, the cloud can deliver a video stream very quickly with almost no hardware on the cloud and users can create models while still working with their desktop applications.


    Obviously, AEC technology and computing power cannot solve all the world’s problems, but it’s comforting to know that as we head into a new year, technology is poised to take on new initiatives of building infrastructure, whatever they may be.

    Top News of the Week

    TurboSquid in conjunction with
    Autodesk Seek, the online source for building product design information, have launched Revit Market, a marketplace for users of Autodesk's Revit Platform for building information modeling (BIM) to browse, buy and sell user-generated Revit content through a TurboSquid-powered marketplace.

    Intergraph has released its newest SmartPlant Enterprise solution for quickly and efficiently producing industry-standard pipeline isometric drawings for small piping projects. The most recent version of Intergraph’s industry-leading piping isometric sketching software increases engineering productivity with expanded capabilities, including a SmartPlant-style user interface, concurrent engineering of multi-pipelines, instant 3D visualization, display of dimensions, and enhanced selection and editing tools.

    Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

    Autodesk, Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of
    BIMWorld, a privately-owned business specializing in the production and distribution of branded BIM content for building product manufacturers. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

    Michael Baker Corporation is now a TREES customer and strategic partner with
    TRIRIGA, provider of real estate life cycle management software and developer of TREES (TRIRIGA Real Estate Environmental Sustainability). TREES, launched in April 2008, is the industry’s first and only integrated real estate management/sustainability system to measure, manage and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. Baker will apply the system internally to assess its real estate portfolio’s carbon footprint and make strategic real estate decisions, as well as offer services to clients with the goal of improving long-term environmental, social and economic performance.

    Advanced Solutions, Inc., a full service Autodesk Premier Solutions Provider, has developed a partnership with Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) Ltd. to provide green building tools to its customers. IES tools integrate directly with the Autodesk Revit software platform for building information modeling (BIM). The focus of IES is to provide innovative analysis solutions that contribute to the development of LEED Certified buildings.


    Penta and
    e-Builder demonstrated the capabilities of agcXML at the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) buildingSMART alliance National Conference, co-located with Ecobuild / AEC-ST Fall at the Washington Convention Center. agcXML, a buildingSMART™ initiative led and funded by The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and managed by NIBS, will enable efficient, reliable exchange of electronic project information among all design and construction professionals.

    McGraw-Hill Construction released the Building Information Modeling (BIM) SmartMarket Report together with premier sponsor Autodesk at Autodesk University 2008 in Las Vegas, NV. The report shows growing enthusiasm for BIM among architects, engineers, contractors, and owners, and usage is expected to grow rapidly in the coming year, despite the economic recession. Users plan to significantly increase their investment in BIM in 2009 to realize greater productivity, improved communications, and a competitive edge.

    A section of Boston’s Interstate 90 connector tunnel’s suspended concrete ceiling became detached from the tunnel roof and fell onto a vehicle July 10, 2006, killing one person. The
    National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the probable cause of the ceiling collapse was the use of an epoxy anchor adhesive that was not capable of sustaining long-term loads.

    In an effort to address the NTSB’s findings and help educate the profession on lessons learned, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) formed the Task Committee to the NTSB Initiative to review the final investigation report and develop recommendations. After nearly a year of review, the task committee’s report, which was released , acknowledged the role of specifications as “essential for complete understanding of the work to be performed by the builder.

    Cadac Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner developing Organice, a SharePoint based engineering document management solution, has scheduled a series of webcasts around the central theme: "bridging the GAP for the AEC". As a solution provider for the AEC and other project driven engineering industries, the Cadac Group is often confronted with companies struggling to create the right conditions for managing their project documents and for collaborating with their project partners. With a series of webcasts, the Cadac Group will address typical needs and challenges in the AEC and provides practical tips and tricks to improve the business process of project driven
    organizations. Visit
    Organice for further information.

    The AEC industry is on the cutting edge of embracing the promise of building information modeling (BIM), the most recent digital technique to create, simulate and generate new designs. In fact, according to the
    American Institute of Architects (AIA) "The Business of Architecture: 2006 AIA Firm Survey Report", 16 percent of architectural firms have acquired BIM software and 10 percent are using it for billable work. More than a buzzword, BIM represents the latest wave in the use of multi-faceted, 3D computer software data to virtually model and document a building's design, construction and operation. BIM provides companies with extremely high quality, information-rich documents -- often in color -- that can be used in decision making, design collaboration, predicting performance, cost estimating and scheduling before the foundation for a new structure is even laid.

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    -- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.


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