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August 06, 2012
BIM, the Cloud and Mobility are Primary Topics for Trimble/Meridian
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

BIM, the Cloud and Mobility are Primary Topics for Trimble/Meridian

By Susan Smith

Jon Fingland, AEC business unit director, described the Meridian Prolog 9.5 release for construction project management and the WinEst proposed acquisition by parent company Trimble.

Trimble is a $1.6 billion company with the goal of  making organizations more productive through office and field, and tools and equipment. Meridian was acquired in 2006.  The company includes Tekla, Sketchup and now WinEst, with this latest proposed acquisition and RFID asset tracking solutions.

From the Meridian perspective, Fingland said they look at two distinct markets  - people who own maintain and manage assets and then organizations that are focused around building the assets and providing a service, specifically general contractors and construction managers.

“We do purpose built solutions, we do meetings with customers and we talk about industry topics like BIM, how is it impacting the organization,” noted Fingland. “The topics talked about most in these discussions are cloud, BIM and mobility. We’ve had an online offering the SaaS model for years, the Prolog Sky offering at the end of last year. We didn’t think big organizations would be a target for the cloud, but there’s a couple of things they want.  They need to have this capability in house and to be able to integrate with it. We can host their solutions for them and still integrate with other systems like accounting in another geographic location.

“The second component is in a company has 1,000 users internally that use our solution and they have 40,000 people that they have to deal with that they have to provide directory logins and security for because those are all the people they need to collaborate with – architects, consultants, engineers, etc. The hosting has grown to be more and more users, and you have to deal with the daily burden of having to manage more and more users because the permits are getting more collaborative with the IPD processes being adopted.  That’s why the cloud has become very relevant to our customers and specifically the segment that we’re providing the solution for. And contractors want to
know how they can get value from BIM? Use cases have been more around clash and business development and BIM has a view that it comes from the design aspect. That’s why the cloud has become more important to our customer and particularly the construction segment.”

When you look at BIM as building information management instead of building information modeling, you will find you can use that information to collaborate and communicate more which means getting more and more value of it.

Mobility has become huge for people in the AEC industry. One large corporation said they would never adopt the iPad because it is a consumer product and now they use it for everything, all their employees have one.

What has happened is that customers are trying to get rid of the number of silos they have, and every project has five or six file repositories now because people sign up for the pay as you go options. They have different mobile devices that they can only get certain apps on those devices, so multiple jobs now have multiple ftp sites, multiple mobility solutions. These are creating more silos which is more counterproductive to what they are trying to achieve. Prolog has created seamless data and process flow to capitalize on collaboration.

The challenge now is to support more platforms than ever before because of the pace and environment of technology. Meridian has to support the desktop, web, mobility, online/offline work to really maximize potential and value. “We provide a solution that supports all those platforms, but is working at one process and one set of data,” said Fingland.

New Prolog 9.5 Features
  • Cash Flow Forecasting – Ensure cash is available over the course of a project’s implementation.
  • Workflow – Streamline document routing and project approval processes by using new Workflow functionality.  There is now a visual component to workflow.
  • Web-based Mail Merge – Automatically create letters, contracts and other project documents using Word templates directly from within Prolog.
  • BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) Viewer – Store, view and collaborate on BCF files from directly within Prolog, for better collaboration with other project stakeholders. This is achieved from working with Tekla and Open BIM Concepts.
  • Purchasing – Assemble bid packages, select prequalified bidders and send bid packages via email.
  • Project Email Capture – Attach critical project data from emails directly into Prolog.
  • Project File Capture – Store a multitude of project-related documents as part of Prolog.

  • In January Meridian acquired Dimension 5 for mobility and those solutions have been integrated with Meridian for a number of years. Now it is seamless and part of the core Prolog platform, available for both iPad and Windows.

    The cash flow forecasting ties in with WinEst giving project managers more ability to manage business units, empowering them to manage that from the conception of the cost and the building of the cost plan through managing it all the way to the completion. With WinEst, Trimble announced the acquisition and signed a definitive agreement, planning to close in Q3. WinEst comes with a team of estimating professionals, well versed in cost planning and cost modeling. WinEst will be integrated into the Meridian product line. 

    The two components of WinEst are the core estimating application that is the vendor flagship product, and Modelogix for developing accurate conceptual cost models based on cost history data from multiple sources.

    Top News of the Week

     GRAPHISOFT announced its latest innovation specifically targeted toward Android device users.  GRAPHISOFT BIMx, the ultimate communication and presentation tool for BIM projects, is now available as a 3D viewer app for a range of Android devices, in addition to the iPad/iPhone. The Facebook-integrated BIMx community and the new Model Transfer site help spread this innovative technology among architects, clients and all other stakeholders.

    Helping to further optimize the Java development experience, Oracle announced NetBeans Integrated Development Environment (IDE) 7.2.

    NetBeans IDE is a free, open source IDE available for Windows, Mac, Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, and other Linux distributions, that enables developers to rapidly create web, enterprise, desktop and mobile applications for the Java platform, PHP and C/C++.

    Deltek, Inc. announced the release of Deltek Capture Analytics. The new solution gives executives and business development professionals that use Deltek’s CRM and Capture Management system access to critical information to track and analyze current and historical pipeline, win and bid rates and the resulting revenue forecasts. This unprecedented level of visibility into the entire capture management process empowers companies to win more contracts.


    A powerful new partnership between Intergraph Government Solutions and Alvarez and Associates emerged within the federal geospatial landscape today.

    Alvarez and Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVO/SB) information technology company and Intergraph Government Solutions, the leading provider of engineering and geospatial software, announced a partnership to provide products and services under the NASA SEWP IV contract.

    Newforma, a project information management software company, and M-SIX, developer of a platform enabling 3D building model collaboration in the cloud, announced that Newforma has licensed the M-SIX VEO platform to integrate PIM with BIM. The integration will enable AEC firms and owners to manage the project information and work processes associated with building models.

    Tweet this: @Newforma licenses @MSIXVEO platform to integrate #PIM and #BIM streamline AEC/O project delivery

    The integrated solution will provide Newforma customers with model coordination and review capabilities, including: 
  • View and navigate 3D building models without the need for the underlying authoring software.
  • Search for information in models with the benefit of rich visual context linked directly to Newforma PIM data.
  • Tie workflow items, such as action items, requests for information, submittals and more, to objects in the model.

  • The number of Vectorworks users who can access and share files from their mobile devices continues to grow, as today the launch of
    Vectorworks Cloud Services in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg is realized! All members of the
    Vectorworks Service Select software subscription program receive access to Vectorworks Cloud Services and 5 GB of storage capacity.


    Trimble announced second quarter revenue of $517.6 million, up 27 percent as compared to the second quarter of 2011. 

    GAAP operating income for the second quarter of 2012 was $58.9 million, up 14 percent as compared to the second quarter of 2011.  GAAP operating margin in the second quarter of 2012 was 11.4 percent of revenue as compared to 12.7 percent of revenue in the second quarter of 2011, down due to expenses related to acquisitions.

    GAAP net income for the second quarter of 2012 was $53.7 million, flat as compared to the second quarter of 2011.  Diluted earnings per share in the second quarter of 2012 were $0.42 as compared to diluted earnings per share of $0.43 in the second quarter of 2011.  The tax rate for both GAAP and non-GAAP results was 16 percent for the second quarter of 2012 as compared to 10 percent in the second quarter of 2011, due primarily to the geographical mix of revenue and the failure to date by the federal government to reinstate the federal R&D tax credit for 2012.

    Construction spending in June rose to a 2-1/2 year high as double-digit percentage increases in private residential and nonresidential construction more than offset an ongoing downturn in public construction, according to an analysis of new federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said they expect the disparity between private and public construction is likely to persist and urged policy makers to put more funding into infrastructure projects.

    “The June spending gains come on top of upward revisions to May and April totals, reinforcing the notion that private construction is now growing consistently,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Even more encouraging, the improvement is showing up in a wide range of residential and nonresidential categories.”

    The agenda for the upcoming Meridian Systems 2012 Customer Summit, coming to Sacramento, CA, September 11-12, has been announced. Some general session highlights include:

    - Executive Keynote:  Building a Better World with Meridian 2.0 Technologies

    Hear Geene Alhady, General Manager of Meridian Systems, present new insights on where construction technology trends are going and how Meridian will help its customers prepare for the future. Mr. Alhady will speak to Meridian’s continued investment in a market-centered product strategy, our mission for growth, and how organizations can achieve true plan-build-operate efficiencies leveraging Trimble’s technology portfolio.

    - The State of Construction Visualization

    Both owners and contractors are actively leveraging visualization technologies to improve project collaborations and the as-built results. This session will explore adoption of visualization techniques and the valuable integration points to construction project and program management solutions. Hear from our technology pros about how Meridian is responding to this technology trend, including Prolog’s BCF viewer capabilities, integration touch points with Tekla, and an introduction to SketchUp – a product recently acquired from Google.

    Early Bird Ends August 8: Reserve your ticket and save $100


    New Products

    Autodesk, Inc. has announced that Autodesk Inventor Fusion technology for 3D CAD modeling is now available for download in the Mac App Store for the first time. Autodesk Inventor Fusion for Mac takes advantage of new OS X Mountain Lion capabilities to help increase productivity and transform how designers share designs and receive feedback, whether in face-to-face meetings or participating in social communities.

    Building Systems Design, Inc. (BSD) announced a major software release of its flagship BSD SpecLink-E product for automated production of construction specifications. The new version of the product includes major software modifications but no data updates. The biggest change is quite significant -- all data edits in a project are saved immediately to the projects database on the server instead of being saved initially to a temporary file in the client software for batch uploading at a later time. This approach results in much faster operation of many functions (such as section check-in and closing), greater stability in the software, and significantly enhanced data
    management and control.

    Axiom announces the release of video-based, searchable courses for MicroStation V8i SELECTseries 3 (SS3).

    Courses in the MicroStation V8i SS3 Update Essentials Library focus on the changes, capabilities and tool enhancements that have been introduced in MicroStation V8i SS3.

    Around the Web

    AECCafe Today

    March 27 - November 23, 2012
    Place: Level 8 & 9

    1 Macquarie Place, Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia

    To meet these educational needs the SBRC, with support from the NSW Government, is offering professional development short courses for professional engineers and other interested participants.  Each short course is designed to be delivered over two days, with a significant component dedicated to hands-on, interactive, or discussion based activities.  Each short course is offered on a stand-alone basis, while also remaining complimentary to the overall programme.

    August 7 - 8, 2012
    Place: Overland Park Convention Center

    Overland Park, KS USA
    MCMC Annual Conference
    Overland Park Convention Center
    Overland Park, Kansas, USA
    August 8, 2012
    Place: Louisville Marriott Downtown

    Louisville , KY USA
    Event Title: Bentley's SidePlate Seminar Louisville, KY
    Date & Time: Wednesday, August 8, 2012, 8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
    Location: Louisville Marriott Downtown
    Description: Bentley is excited to partner with SidePlate Systems, Inc. to deliver a series of technical seminars for engineers across the United States. Along with relevant information for practicing engineers, these complimentary, 4-hour events will also include a presentation from The American Institute of Steel Construction on the state of the construction industry.
    August 9, 2012
    Place: Atlanta Marriott Downtown

    Atlanta, GA USA
    Event Title: Bentley's SidePlate Seminar Atlanta, GA
    Date & Time: Thursday, August 9, 2012, 8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
    Location: Atlanta Marriott Downtown
    Description: Bentley is excited to partner with SidePlate Systems, Inc. to deliver a series of technical seminars for engineers across the United States. Along with relevant information for practicing engineers, these complimentary, 4-hour events will also include a presentation from The American Institute of Steel Construction on the state of the construction industry.
    August 14, 2012
    Place: designLAB Architects

    35 Channel Center Street,Suite 103, Boston, MA 02110 USA
    Clear your schedule and come join us for the second (and final) user group meeting of the summer here in Boston. At this meeting special guest Jared Banks, AIA from Shoegnome will do all the presenting. He'll share projects and talk about some of his favorite techniques, tips, and tricks. Feel free to bring anything you want to share and any questions you might have. If there’s anything specific you’d like to learn about, or you want more information, feel free to e-mail Jared before hand. Don't miss out; Jared heads back to Minnesota just a few days after this meeting! And remember, the rest of you New England users... Boston isn't that far away.  
    To Register Please Visit
    August 15, 2012
    Place: USA
      Bentley Raceway and Cable Management Overview 
    Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2012
    Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT
    Location: Adobe Connect Pro
    Description: Bentley Raceway and Cable Management provides complete layout, routing, and material estimating functions in a single, integrated system
    August 16, 2012
    Place: USA
    Event:    Bentley Raceway and Cable Management Overview 
    Date: Thursday, August 16, 2012
    Time: 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM BST
    Location: Adobe Connect Pro
    Description: Bentley Raceway and Cable Management provides complete layout, routing, and material estimating functions in a single, integrated system
    August 21, 2012
    Place: Courtyard Marriott

    Downtown, 500 East First Street, Long Beach, CA USA

    August 21 - Bentley Bridge Information Modeling for California;

    August 22 - Bentley Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Day for California
    Location: Courtyard Marriott – Downtown

                  500 East First Street

                  Long Beach, CA USA
    Description: Bentley Civil invites bridge and geotechnical/geoenvironmental professionals interested in improving project quality, reducing time to delivery, and increasing competitive edge to attend two, complimentary seminars and accrue continuing education credits. Presentations will focus on bridge design and analysis using LEAP Bridge and RM Bridge; geotechnical data management and subsurface modeling using gINT and Power InRoads; and automated detailing capabilities using PowerRebar. Agenda details and registration information are available at
    August 22, 2012
    Place: USA

    Learn about the
    environmental load generation, execution of the analysis and post
    processing and how your organization will benefit from it, including:
    foundation modeling, seastate load generation, execution of analysis,
    beam element check and tubular connection punching shear checks
    August 23, 2012
    Place: Hyatt Regency Chicago

    Chicago, IL USA
    Event Title: Bentley's SidePlate Seminar Chicago, IL
    Date & Time: Thursday, August 23, 2012 8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
    Location: Hyatt Regency Chicago
    Description: Bentley is excited to partner with SidePlate Systems, Inc. to deliver a series of technical seminars for engineers across the United States. Along with relevant information for practicing engineers, these complimentary, 4-hour events will also include a presentation from The American Institute of Steel Construction on the state of the construction industry.
    August 28, 2012
    Place: USA
     Tuesday, August 28, 2012 12:00 p.m. EDT
    Description: Register for a live eSeminar: Innovations in Flat Slab Concrete Building Designs. Learn about the RAM structural product line’s powerful new concrete design and integration features. Then discover how to apply these capabilities to flat slab concrete building designs for seismic requirements and floor vibrations--and how working in unison they bring your designs to deliverables.
    Register here:
    August 29, 2012
    Place: Courtyard Denver Cherry Creek

    1475 S. Colorado Boulevard, Denver, CO USA

    Power up for greater success with the innovative, proven technology that enables you to work more effectively with the Colorado Department of Transportation. Agenda details and information are available at


    You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.