Like a ship that has long passed ripples from Apple’s long held strategy to combine software and hardware has finally come to shore in the AEC marketplace when Autodesk recently announced a ‘collaboration’ with Leica. This shatters their long held belief that they would “never partner with software.” Straight up from the copy on their splash page.
“Smart integration empowers our customers to construct more efficiently and more accurately by making design and reality fit together.”
I have to say this has been a long time coming because if anything Autodesk is excellent at marketing and mostly sort of listening to their customers and marketplace something Leica is beyond woeful at. They are a classic engineering company who makes great products and convinced of their products greatness believe it will have a market. I wonder if they have ever in their existence put together a customer focus group. While Autodesk continues to partner and acquire multiple companies in the 3D and Built Environment space Faro, Leica’s main competitor, acquired Kubit in March. Trimble now owns Tekla, Sketh Up and Gehry Technolgies .
What does the Leica / Autodesk union mean? I would think at least when you need to export point for layout, instead of just picking a generic export you would then export to Leica’s family of products as an option. Perhaps Cloudworx and Recap combination, as I would believe if you are firing up a Leica scanner, their would have to be some link directly to the Autodesk family. Is this friendly oligopoly good for the industry. Well when Windows dominated the marketplace people argues their monopoly was good as it provided a defacto standards, just like Rockefeller argued Standard Oil’s position of owning everything allowed for efficient pricing.
Pointknown / IR captured and modeled the Saks 5th Avenue Flagship building over the summer. The building, located at 611 5th Ave NYC, was just refinanced and according to the New York Times valued at $3.7 billion dollars. That’s over $1 billion more than Royal Hudson paid for the entire company last year. The survey and modeling teams used a variety of technologies including LIDAR, its own PKNail Pro and Revit from Autodesk worked throughout the night so not to disturb its clientele and associates. Working through Rob Siegel, now the Design Director at Gensler Pointknown / IR created a full exterior model, shell and cores including the mechanical penthouses. Said Rob, “This is one of the best models we’ve ever seen.”
Pointknown and its sister company IR (interioreview) creates software for the capture and modeling of existing buildings, and provides the same as a service. It uses best in class technologies, whether off the shelf or custom software it designs itself. The companies are entrusted with documenting buildings like Saks 5th Avenue, the Royal Sonesta in New Orleans , academic building on UMass and Phillips Exeter campuses to your home. This December it will be continuing its work as part of the Phase III renovation of the Chicago Hilton. What can we help you with?
We are still at the bleeding edge of the 3D capture technology. Even though LIDAR has been around since the early 60’s, commercialization of it remains small. Its projected market for 2018 is $515 million. What does that tell me? That’s ridiculously low. For perspective Facebook’s market cap is around $200b, EA Sports, the game producer for ubiquitous gaming technology is around $12b. Those are single companies not an industry. The total market for LIDAR, that is 3D capture of real objects is going to be $515M in 2018. Something else needs to happen to bring 3D to the main stream, and what’s happening now is the introduction of light weight inexpensive 3D sensors from a who’s who of technology companies. A partial list and by no means exhaustive.
- Intel Real Sense Technology
- Project Tango from Google
- Structure io
- Kinect from Microsoft
- Meta io
- Autodesk 123D Catch
- Acute 3D
- PrimeSense – Acquired by Apple
And from the way back machine:
Pong, the granddaddy of all video games was arguably the first commercial/consumer success of the gamification of a piece of hardware and its enveloping logic, in the case of pong it was TTL (Transistor – Transistor Logic ). So what’s important to note here is the players now involved in the introduction. Intel, Google, Microsoft, Apple…….. We have the introduction of the hardware and their SDK packs for developers. The next stage will be most interestin; .the software, the games, the apps, the big easy. The other technology beyond these new sensors and LIDAR in most use; photographs. Right now I see in the market a lot of people taking pictures of statues or people, turning them into a 3D Digital object and then maybe printing them out on a 3D printer, I don’t see that as a viable business model, personally I don’t want a 3D printed object of anyone I know and to me it borders on ventriloquist dummy creepiness. However, we need to go through these stages to get to whatever breakthroughs and or commercial successes there will be in the future.
3D printing is moving rapidly, if not into the mainstream, into real uses. The 3D printing market is estimated to be $16.2 billion in 2018 comapred to $2.5 billion in 2013. That is 30x the expected LIDAR market. Why? Companies are printing machine parts (cars, airplanes, etc.) there is movement toward biological printing of food/meat and body parts. So really the mass customization of things where before making one of anything could cost thousands of dollars. I recall prototyping parts through CNC machining or SLA cost at a minimum hundreds of dollars and for bigger parts easily thousands and up. At back to school night this year they had amakerbot set up in the High School lobby and would print out key chains with your initials for a $5 donation. Holy What? Really? How about 3D printing a partial titanium skull to help someone after the original was smashed in an accident. But 5 bucks for a custom printed 3D object?
So what’s the next step in the 3D scanning world now that people can start getting them in their hands for hundreds of dollars, opposed the LIDAR systems that start around $50K. You and your friends scan your house and drop it in as a map pack for Call of Duty. 3D virtual tours of the Louvre. 3D estimating of car damage…….I’m really not sure but I am sure there will be plenty of people working on it. Making the capture and use of 3D easy, that will be the magic trick. Why you might want to is a bigger question. What do I need 3D data for? For real estate? Who is ever going to buy something without physically seeing it. To quote a commercial broker when I was doing some biz dev, “I get them in the car and show it to them…” Remember the broker business is intensely personal so A) they want technology to help them not replace them and B) I am not sure having great 3D imagery is going to sell it. Maybe as part of the tenant fit out allowance they get 3D Design services, or as part of the negotiation you show them what it could look like with their allowance…..I would be really interested in what people think about this subject beyond it’s cool.
For something cool, check out the video posted for Mok3 above, Yonald and his cohorts had figured out a way in 2003 to take pictures and turn them into 3D environments., the world is still catching up.
Project : Chicago Hilton
Location : Chicago IL
Client : Hilton Worldwide
Interioreview / PointKnown was hired to survey/document 7 Floors of the Chicago Hilton and deliver in 2D .dwg format. Include all rooms, hallways, bathroom fixtures, comm ports, and duplexes, light fixtures, soffits, HVAC Supply and Return.
Hardware : Disto D8
Software: Autodesk Revit : PointKnown PKNail Pro : Autocad
Over 10 Years Capturing / Modeling / Drafting Existing Conditions
Survey Common Spaces with PKNail Pro Directly into Revit. Place all hallways, doors, common spaces. Assign spaces/rooms to team members. Measure / Model in real time, placing walls, doors, windows (with correct glass location), wall based objects directly in Revit in real time with PKNail Pro. Wireless Connectivity between workstations allowed instantaneous updates to model and team members. Punch list updated as the property was measured. Team left site with 90% of the model complete. Export Revit to Autocad. QC and line clean up in Autocad. Deliver.
Software | Services | Consulting
Location : Amherst, MA (University of Massachusetts)
Client : Finegold Alexander
Interioreview / PointKnown was hired to survey/document and create an Architectural Revit model using generic components to accurate represent the building. Accurately locate and model interior timbers, chapel and steeple. Include all classrooms and offices.
Hardware : Faro 330 : Disto D8
Software: Autodesk Revit : PointKnown PKNail Pro
Scan and register pointcloud for exterior, chapel and timbers. Import pointcloud to Revit model architectural objects included in the scan. Measure and Build direct to Revit using PKNail Pro, extents of building footprint for quality control to compare with pointcloud data, and measure and model all rooms, offices, and classrooms. Include Kitchen and Bathroom layouts as they occur through out the building using PKNail Pro to place all wall based objects (Toilets, Urinals, Sinks..)
PointKnown Captures Existing Buildings
Software / Services / Consulting
I recently was invited to present for an IFMA Technology Council Webinar (Link to Deck Here). Both Carlos Vasquez from Epic Scan, the other presenter , and myself had come both mostly to the same conclusions having never met and working on two different coasts. “It really is the wild west out there.” For instance, there are no standards on deliverables or when putting out an RFP for this kind of work. Plus, there are a lot of people out there buying scanners and saying they can do everything that comes in the literature with the hardware. However, owning a piece of hardware and being competent at it are two vastly different things. Just because I own a pair of skates doesn’t mean I can get on the ice with the Rangers. Plus, if the firm you are hiring only has one piece of hardware expect that the quote you get will be one size fits all.
My approach to any given job is to have a detailed conversation with whoever is going to use the Revit Model or Data and what they need it for. For example, an owner doing due diligence on a property has vastly different need and budget then an architectural firm doing an adaptive reuse project on 200,000 SF of Industrial Mill Space. So we tailor the project and technology around their needs and budget. I would argue that an owner look at each project and start with the minimal viable product (MVP) or data set they need and then add details as the project warrants. With that said the base line product should still be solid. For example, we might be asked to come in to verify square footages of a building during due diligence. This is to make certain that the prospective owner has faith that the marketed 100,000 SF actually is 100,000 SF of rentable space. This might just require us to get the shell and cores correctly. But be certain that is done well enough so if going forward we need to add the mechanical plant, or interior partitioning, etc. we have a good foundation to start from.
If you are looking to document your building for almost any stage, due diligence, BOMA calculations, Interior Design, Adaptive Reuse there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
• Size and Complexity of the Project
• Deadlines and Time Constraints
• Budget and Available Resources
• Uses for Models
and when choosing a vendor or service provider…get references, see if they have done similar projects, ask them about their process and their technology. When done right having a model or your building documented properly, accurately pays dividends many times over, when done wrong it has Excedrin written all over it.
The jigsaw pieces are starting to fill in with google’s Project Tango , and the structure.io sensor. Capturing existing buildings has never been an easy task, as much as the purveyors of existing scanners would like you to believe otherwise. Current laser scanners are expensive and the process was usually too much, too much effort, too much expense for most projects. Additionally, since the entry price was so expensive and each scanner has its own proprietary software, lack of open standards slowed innovation; but here comes handheld devices starting at around $400, and an open source universe that lets a universe of people to start working on current problems. Paracosm working with Project Tango looks like it has come up with a crowd sourced platform to put together fuller models of buildings from multiple people/scanners.
From the videos and data, and although everyone admits it’s early. A regular Joe can walk with a handheld scanning device and capture their world. Allowing for the crowd sourced, user generated 3D mapping of the world. Besides the eery feeling that the Matrix was more prophetic than fiction what can be done with all this cool stuff, what’s next?
It will be in the processing of this data and digestion of it that will make it launch to the next steps. Typically the hurdle of laser scanning is going from scanned data, to data that people can use. Think of scanning this stuff….cool. To floorplans and 3D walk throughs for realtors. So if a realtor can take a $300 handheld scanner, walk around a home or apartment, and have it simply turned into a walk through tour and dimensioned floor plans of a home, excellent. Share those floorplans with a carpet installer for a price, great.
Before scans and point clouds were expensive to attain it looks like the price is about to drop dramatically. Dramatic price drop, easier to attain, increased supply. Increased supply, bigger market. Bigger market, more people. More people, more better. We are just at the start. There will be a lot of companies starting to fill in ways on how to capture and deal with this data and since the world spends about $8 trillion on construction alone there will be room for players. You’re invited.
Burns McDonnell Finishes Months Early Using PKNail Pro : Documents 1.5 Million Square Feet Directly In Revit
Burns McDonnell was tasked with documenting 40+ buildings totaling more than 1.5 million square feet. The variety of buildings included hospitals, boiler plants, gymnasiums, residences and offices. A total of 8 PKNail Pro licenses were deployed so teams of one could measure and model in real time directly in Revit. The result…
Vicky Borchers, Associate, LEED AP Architectural Production Section Manager
Previously, PointKnown ran a pilot with Burns McDonnell. A single day of training on sight at their offices in Kansas City followed by two days on sight We would be going head to head with another technology documenting different levels of the same building to compare “apples to apples” measuring speed of capture, accuracy, and workflow. Afterwards they would make a decision on which technology to choose. The training went smoothly the first day at their offices and individuals quickly got up to speed utilizing the PKNail Pro interface measuring and modeling directly in Revit from a laser range finder. Once on sight they declared a winner within hours, “Jim wins, everyone on PKNail Pro.”
“There is nothing more efficient out there.”
Steve Cline, Project Manager
Mark Wagner, co-founder of PointKnown. “Having them engage with PKNail at this level allowed us to prove PKNail Pro could handle complex projects easily…plus we were able to make some improvements to the product during the process for our client.”
“Jim and Mark were wonderful to work with implementing the use of PKNail on a large scale project. They have both provided top notch support in a quick and timely fashion. They are always willing to get user input on how to improve the product and will not stop until a resolution is found.”
Jeff Campbell, Senior Application Specialist
So with Google announcement of Project Genie : Vannevar Technologies and with IBM opening Watson to the programming community one has to believe that deep analytics is coming to the AEC industry. Not silo attempts by industry leaders. It’s got to get easier to run energy analytics, design options, facility management…integrated in a way that is push button easy, and as anyone in the industry can attest we are still far from push button easy. However, getting thousands of people, the collective intelligence of the programming community solving problems. Getting data centralized, performance feedback, learning from that virtuous circle, that is exciting stuff.
Data is the foundation of all of this, without the data, we have nothing to run with. For the AEC environment, it’s the building whether it’s in the design phase, or most likely, already operating. How long will the data reside in proprietary formats? How long is that a viable business model? We will see that companies that can provide the most value with the data start to thrive. Hence the opening up of Watson as a platform and the fact that Google is coming to the AEC marketplace shows there is some seismic shifts in store. I’ve written before that getting the AEC crowd to change their stripes, adopt new technologies, can be difficult, however it’s really going to be Autodesk 360, and what they can offer you in house vs. the world. There has been talk of the ICFxml gbXML or ways to have BIMs in an open environment. This may very well be the tipping point.
1st Place New Car, 2nd Place Steak Knives, 3rd Place “You’re Fired” : Yahoo embraces employee ranking #fail
So on the heels of Microsoft throwing their stacking system under the bus, and running as far away and as fast as they can from Steve Ballmer’ s lackluster rein Yahoo in their infinite wisdom decides to implement a grading system and forcing everyone into the bell curve so essentially, 3rd place “you’re fired”. Now I understand poor employee hires are the bane of the workplace but assuming the bell curve and natural distribution in your workplace….I don’t get it. In fact, NPR, “Put Away the Bell Curve Most of Us Aren’t Average,” and follow up from The Drucker Institute , Curve Ball for the Bell Curve, put the bell curve to task in business. You can go straight to the source THE BEST AND THE REST: REVISITING THE NORM OF NORMALITY OF INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE. But boils down to that there are a few superstars and there is everyone else. Superstars can be a product, a service, sales to a particular a client, an individual and then everyone else, and sure special care should be taken to nurture this superstars. Jack Welch originally wanted GE to be #1 or #2 in each market it competed but then back off saying it was taken to “nonsensical levels” by an “insidious bureaucracy.” My experience on the small scale that it is is Organizational Behavior is like playing 3D chess in the 5th Dimension, what motivates people, how you inspire people, how you create a workplace people are fired up to be at and want to work hard to achieve common and uncommon goals. It would seem to me either Yahoo is a bit backward thinking on this one, or is setting up a framework to clean house. my bet, they clean house and then they get rid of the ranking system. Read about the stacking system at Vanity Fair. and their lost decade.