3D Repo, digital construction technology provider, has announced Clash Detection functionality has been added to their 3D Diff, software that identifies clashes in construction plans by analyzing 3D models that have been submitted by project partners and contractors.
IMAGINiT Technologies’ new Pulse Platform, available now, is designed to allow engineers and architects to share data between independent software on-premise or cloud products beginning with Autodesk Vault and Autodesk Fusion Lifecycle. Other integrations with other products are forthcoming, according to Matt Mason, software development team manager for IMAGINiT.
“It’s an initial release and a big new area for us,” said Mason. “We’ve always done system integration work, and the work tends to be custom and one-off. This is our attempt to build a platform to make the process of system integration easier, more packaged and less custom.”
Mason adds that previously system integration was primarily 90% custom and required high level software developer or consultant. “We want to see 85% -95% of system integration work as a part of the package. The rest would be what a midlevel consultant could do, set up relationships between systems, map one to the other, etc.”
IMAGINiT Pulse benefits include (according to company materials):
Connectors for Autodesk Vault, Autodesk Fusion Lifecycle, Autodesk BIM 360 Operations and BuildingLink and other systems, allow users to automatically flow information from one software program to another. For example, individuals involved in enterprise resource planning and PLM may need to seamlessly transfer certain data in a specific format from Fusion Lifecycle to Vault.
Real-time visibility of data, through an easy to read dashboard, allows users to understand exactly what information is being transferred, monitor each step in the transfer process and ensure the security and consistency of the data between the two systems.
Configurability gives users control over information being transferred, the systems it is being transferred between and the format in which it is being transferred – all without needing a dedicated development resource on staff. IMAGINiT technical professionals can assist Pulse users to define what data must move, in what direction, the format, and the reaction it triggers upon arrival at the destination software system.
Mason said that the connectors were built to do the heavy lifting of system integration, for working with specific products and getting data in or out of those products and doing updates.
“What’s left in the middle are workflow, rules and data mapping, and that’s modest, but doesn’t require the same level of development expertise that the actual deep integration to each system takes,” said Mason. “We’re trying to build something where we can have these pre-built connectors that do the hardest part of the work and separate the business logic and business rules into a separate part of the product.”
The first three connectors are built for Autodesk products currently since IMAGINiT’s consulting work largely revolves around those products. The fourth one was a non-Autodesk product called BuildingLink.
“We actually had a chance to build a product that made use of BIM 360 operations product with the BuildingLink product,” said Mason. “We expect to do more connectors over time, building our catalog of connectors. We’re expecting to do Bentley ProjectWise and other common integrations that we’ve done in the past such as Microsoft SharePoint.
People using the connectors need to be familiar with the workflows for the products involved. What is in the middle between the two is defining those workflows and some scripting is necessary, such as Microsoft.net scripting, as one product may refer to a part and another may refer to it as an item, etc.
An example, Mason said, are two Autodesk products that don’t communicate very well together such as Autodesk Vault to Fusion Lifecycle. They each have a separate language for how they describe parts and items and both are heavily customized for each customer to define the pieces of information they have. Someone has to build out the script of how to map data from this side to that side. To date, people have set up custom properties on their systems.
“We’re trying to build the connector out so it is visible to the user but not necessarily end user,” said Mason. “The person responsible for the integration wants to see what’s going on and see how integration flows from one side to the other. When you’re doing each one of these as a custom job, there wasn’t much time for polish. We wanted to invest more in the polish and see information flowing back and forth and have a way to visualize and trace. Since we were building it as a platform we could invest more than we could in a typical one off minimalist consulting project.”
In most cases IMAGINiT’s customers have already had their systems custom built for them. “We’re using the expertise of all the integrations we’ve done over the years and tried to build something so the next year’s integration will be much easier.”
Customers just want integration and want it to work, not cost too much. The Pulse Platform offers them “a nicer system that is less risk and less cost than something more custom, because so much of it is packaged,” said Mason.
Pulse will be separate from ongoing development, support and consulting, with annual use fee, including automatic updates for connectors for each company.
There will be one cost for the platform itself, and if you want two systems to connect, get a connector for each system, as each connector has a different amount of and specific complexity.
Autodesk holds some informative webcasts for the civil community entitled “Civil Community Webcasts.” One recent one was entitled “What’s New in Civil 3D and InfraWorks.”
Bay Bridge East Span Seismic Safety Project To prove the project was viable, the California Department of Transportation shared detailed 3D designs with potential contracting firms.
Eric Chappell, Civil Community Evangelist for Autodesk, hosted this webinar with Dan Philbrick, director of Civil Infrastructure Products, Dave Simeone, Civil 3D project manager, and Sarah Cunningham, InfraWorks product manager.
Chappell recommends the InfraWorks tool for doing preliminary design and decisions. “This year we’re focusing on continuing to drive detailed design in both InfraWorks and the platform for BIM.”
The use of Civil 3D with or without InfraWorks is valuable and both are in the same civil collection.
What’s new in InfraWorks 2018.0
Sarah Cunningham noted that they changed the name of the product and took “360” out of the name.
An InfraWorks Customer Council meets with Autodesk once a month. “They tell us about challenges,” said Cunningham. “They bounce ideas off one another. Many people aren’t sure how to implement InfraWorks yet. This group has been able to talk about how they’re using it. We’re starting to hear some interesting things: 1. Continues to be used for road and highway design 2. CAD managers are hearing from designers that they want more engineering data from the InfraWorks model, increasing in frequency. They want it to be more than a pretty picture in visualization, more toward engineering design. The Corridor project in Norway, winner of the Infrastructure in Excellence Awards 2016, was about planning a corridor and using InfraWorks for large scale planning projects. They want to use InfraWorks for more preliminary design now that planning phase is done.”
Autodesk’s AutoCAD 2019 just added seven new specialized toolsets to its subscriber program. These toolsets include specialized features and libraries for mechanical design, architecture, 3D mapping, and more; plus, greater mobility with the new web and mobile apps; and take advantage of new features and performance enhancements, included with new subscriptions to AutoCAD 2019 available March 22, 2018.
In a recent Webinar, presenters Tiina Lehtinen, marketing manager, Trimble; Oxana Kyllonen, application manager, Trimble; and Eric Beyer, product manager, Trimble outlined the sneak preview of Tekla Software 2018 for Steel.
The new Tekla Structures 2018 is designed to be more productive with your drawings and modeling.
Reality Capture has taken the AEC world by storm in recent years with its ability to capture existing conditions and create 3D models out of photographs or laser scans, without seams. Technologies used include 3D laser scanning, mobile and aerial LiDAR, and photogrammetry. This resulting point data is reconstructed into a 3D model. While accurate, LiDAR only captures 3D data leaving color out. Photogrammetry is another method by which Reality Capture is achieved. This type of Reality Capture uses photographs to reconstruct a 3D image.
An image in Bentley’s ContextCapture photo planning that shows operation (gray), target (yellow), and forbidden (red) zones.
This week Trimble announced its acquisition of privately-held e-Builder, an SaaS-based construction program management solution for capital program owners and program management firms. While very often we might wonder what a company’s end goals are regarding an acquisition, e-Builder extends Trimble’s ability to accelerate industry transformation by providing an integrated project delivery solution for owners, program managers and contractors across the design, construct and operate lifecycle. e-Builder is a foremost survivor of the construction software management boom of many years ago.
Twenty or so years ago, software programs were developing as the manuals were being written, and often the latest updates in the software didn’t make their way into the final manual. This opened the door for magazines providing software training, and physical classes. Since then, the internet, YouTube and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have increased the opportunity for technology education several fold. Training guides are still valuable learning resources, however, and ASCENT now offers videos inside the guides of various exercises.
Jennifer MacMillan, ASCENT, Instructional Design Projects Manager, talked about the trends and latest instructional curriculum offered by ASCENT. As the traditional instructor-led training is definitely in decline, the need for other types of learning opportunities abound.
“At ASCENT, we definitely feel there is room for both types of learning,” said MacMillan. “The instructor-led side of things absolutely has to occur to set the foundation for learning. As you start to develop the skills you need, you can rely on YouTube and on your peers to learn more. Understanding of high-level strategies is much easier once you’ve learned the basics. Definitely that self-paced learning is what you’re seeing.”
The biggest focus for ASCENT right now is around Autodesk Fusion 360’s curriculum.
“Many are not given the opportunity to go off and take a five-day training class,” said MacMillan. “They’re expected to hit the ground running with new projects all the time. Even if they run into a new software, they still have to get that project done. There’s no room to let that slip.”
In terms of ASCENT’s latest software offering with the Fusion 360 training guide, Fusion 360 is new within the last few years.
“What we found when we started to investigate this software product was there was tons of learning online, such as YouTube,” said MacMillan. “Even Autodesk released tons of learning that was video based, but everything was not at that foundational basic level. It assumed you had those skills. So, we asked, where do users get that skill? We wanted to fill that void with our training guides, because we felt that foundation was absolutely missing in terms of what was available online.”
Considering the fact that students can’t get away from the office for very long, ASCENT developed the Fusion 360 Guide. Fusion 360 is an easy-to-use software product from Autodesk. The book is self-paced so the student can purchase the book, and the training guide and work at their own pace. There is a lot of video content included inside the online training guide so students can learn from that.
“We’ve also found in our most recent training guide, often times the exercises we go through in the book are very focused on this or that task,” said MacMillan. “We felt there was a need to bring all the tasks and requirements together in project-based projects. We did that in the latest training guide, the Sculpting Training guide, where we also included videos. That’s the first time we’ve done that, including videos of the exercises. In the past, videos were always of the learning content and then you used those skills to do the exercises on your own. If you got lost, the only reference you had was going back to the learning content again. But with this latest training guide, it was complex enough that for these projects that we actually embedded some videos so that if a student got lost, they could watch these videos to figure out what was going on.”
Each chapter starts with objectives and what you will learn in each chapter, and then there’s a set of review questions, to be sure students have learned the objectives and content for the chapter.
Students can go to the e-store or go to Amazon and buy it. In ASCENT’s online learning portal, there would be a certification of completion at the end of that course.
The content is designed for people with different learning styles. Some people want it shown to them in video, some people want to read content. Some people want to go straight to the exercise and by trial and error try to figure it out themselves, or go back to resources as they make mistakes or as they need to. “Everyone’s style is completely different and that book has something for everyone,” said MacMillan.
The Autodesk Fusion 360: Introduction to Parametric Modeling book is a foundation book, including the interface and basics of working with parametric modeling. The one introduced prior to AU is one step up above the fundamentals. However, if someone is only working in that environment, that book is standalone as well. It would provide them with foundations if they were doing freeform organic modeling.
ASCENT is very much involved with Autodesk so they have access to their beta programs and beta software prior to release. By working with Autodesk’s developers and product teams they can learn the software and get a head start on building the books and materials before the software is actually released.
Courseware materials in the works include manufacturing and Inventor HSM. On the architectural side, the Autodesk Advance Steel 2018: Fundamentals book is due to release in early February, dealing with the Advance Steel product that Autodesk released.
Everything is in print. Purchases can be made through ASCENT’s e-store, Amazon or through ASCENT. You can purchase an online license to get into the learning portal, you can also purchase everything as an e-book, which gives you an access on your computer, not a PDF, but through a proprietary e-book provider.