In 2008, a seemingly modest proposal was made to make secure electronic cash transactions directly between interested parties. Called Bitcoin, it is now a worldwide phenomenon with the potential to disrupt money as we know it. But what exactly is Bitcoin and why should we in the AEC technology industry care about it?
In this article, Jim Forester, a long-time AEC technology veteran and enthusiast, attempts to shed some light on the underlying concepts of Bitcoin technology, Blockchain, and how it is immediately applicable to many aspects of built environment projects as well as the BIM technologies used to realize them.
Earlier this year, I provided an overview of GRAPHISOFT’s 2017 Key Client Conference (KCC) event that was held in Kyoto, Japan, including the key updates from GRAPHISOFT, the global launch of ARCHICAD 21, and the third party solutions that work with GRAPHISOFT products. The majority of the KCC event, however, was devoted to presentations from GRAPHISOFT customers across the world, sharing their work and how they were using GRAPHISOFT solutions, not just for architecture but also for construction. This article captures some of the main implementation themes common to many of these customers as described in their presentations, including schematic design, algorithmic modeling, the use of OpenBIM, facilitation of downstream processes, and the use of advanced technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.
This article captures the technology updates most relevant to AEC that Autodesk shared at its recent user conference, including the launch of a new Exchange with third-party integrations to accelerate the adoption of its Forge-enabled BIM 360 ecosystem, a new Dropbox app for AutoCAD, and planned integration with Esri’s GIS technology.
This article captures the highlights of Bentley’s annual Year in Infrastructure (YII) conference that was held a few weeks ago in Singapore. As always, Bentley uses this event as a “State of the Union” of sorts for the company and its products, showcasing its achievements, milestones, acquisitions, and product updates. It also provides some insights into its future technology roadmap, including product ideas it is working on and the broader vision underlying them. As such, it is an excellent way to get up to speed on what one of leading AEC technology vendors has to offer the industry, both in terms of what it currently has as well as what is coming up.
In addition to the updates from Bentley, the event also provides the opportunity for Bentley users all over the world to present the projects that they have implemented using Bentley solutions. In fact, more time at the conference is devoted to these project presentations for the Be Inspired Awards than to Bentley’s own updates, giving attendees in different infrastructure disciplines the opportunity to learn about how Bentley solutions are being used to execute projects in their specific discipline. Collectively, they showcase a wide range of infrastructure projects, ranging from individual buildings all the way to city-wide planning and transportation, and across all stages of the project lifecycles, from initial planning through to operation and maintenance.
Among the roster of BIM applications used globally, Allplan from the publicly traded Nemetschek Group is close to the top of the list. Headquartered in Germany, similar to its parent company, Allplan has had a strong European presence for decades—Nemetschek was founded all the way back in 1963 as an “engineering firm for the construction industry” and Allplan was its main product. Given its long history in the AEC industry, its tools and capabilities have been honed over decades of deployment and development, making it one of the most comprehensive applications for detailed design and construction.
While a comprehensive overview of Allplan was provided in the BIM Study Evaluation Report published in 2010, this review looks at the updates in the 2018 version of the application that has been just been released, including its brand new user interface, modeling and visualization enhancements, and integration with the open cloud-based collaboration platform, Bimplus, that allows it to be part of a large whole.
I last reviewed Bentley’s multi-disciplinary BIM application, AECOsim Building Designer, in 2012 when it was in the V8i generation. A lot has changed since then with regard to Bentley’s technology. It has a brand-new CONNECT generation, which features dramatic improvements over the earlier V8i generation including speed, connectivity, mobile support, cloud capability, and interoperability with other applications. Bentley first introduced the CONNECT edition at its 2014 YII (Year in Infrastructure) conference and has been gradually releasing the CONNECT editions of all its applications, starting with ProjectWise, MicroStation, and Navigator at YII 2015 and many more of its design, analytical, construction, and reality modeling applications at last year’s YII conference. The CONNECT edition of AECOsim Building Designer has just been released and this review takes an indepth look at it to explore the new features and enhancements in this major generational update of the application.
In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the devastation they have caused, this article explores the technology behind flood forecasting, which can help to predict areas of flooding before a hurricane actually hits, leading to better preparation and improved evacuation. It also looks at how AEC technology can help.
Those familiar with ARCHICAD know that each new release of the application revolves around a theme named after a breakthrough improvement. The theme of the new release of the application, ARCHICAD 21, which was launched earlier this summer, is “Step Up Your BIM.” It’s a smart way of capturing both the two main highlights of this release: one, dramatically improved means of modeling staircases and their accompanying railings; and two, the advent of truly smart design tools in ARCHICAD, which significantly ramps “up” its ability as a BIM tool.
This review explores the new rule-based Stair and Railing tools in detail, along with the many additional improvements in interoperability, Grasshopper integration, and productivity enhancements that have been made in ARCHICAD 21.
In what seems to have become an annual event, this article captures the many developments in AEC technology that I have not been able to cover in my regular articles and reviews. It is an encouraging sign of the AEC technology industry being so vibrant that we not only see new releases of existing products on a regular basis, but also brand-new solutions hoping to address the thorny issues of design and construction more innovatively. This 2017 AEC technology round-up looks at both—new releases of existing products such as Allplan, Twinmotion, 4M IDEA, BIM Assure, Aconex, and Autocase; as well as new solutions including Unicorn Render for rendering and BIMsmith for finding BIM content.
Now that BIM has been firmly established as the go-to technology for the design and construction of buildings, the expansion of the “information modeling” concept to infrastructure as well as cities is also underway. While infrastructure modeling seems to be a natural offshoot of BIM and closely related to existing building modeling technologies, city information modeling or CIM is a different beast altogether, which is why most of the upcoming CIM solutions are being built from the ground up by completely different developers than AEC technology leaders like Autodesk and Bentley. One such developer is Cityzenith, whose 5D Smart World platform for CIM is rapidly gaining traction. This review takes an in-depth look at Smart World and how it works.