BIM CAD Throwdown : Dassault Takes Aim with Catia Live Building and Draftsight


Holy frontal assault Batman.  Dassault, the french producer of CATIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application) / Solidworks is making a strong move into the world of architecture.  CATIA, generally used in the aerospace and engineering fields, has also been used successfully by Gehry to produce his curvilinear buildings.  They are now introducing 2 products aimed squarely at the Autodesk Bullseye, a CAD application developed through the IntelliCAD Consortium (ITC) and the Open Drawing Alliance (ODA) called Draftsight and its going to be free, yup free. And is available here.

And while it is available for the Windows Family of OS (XP / Vista / Seven) MAC and Linux versions are in the pipeline, take that into account that IBM, you’ve heard of them, markets these solutions worldwide and that complaints about Revit not handling larger products are scattered across user groups and BIM forums one can believe there is an opening.  Additionally, if they are following the SaaS path of putting Draftsight in the cloud for file sharing/integrity it becomes a pretty powerful argument to think about switching, especially if all the ingrained keystroke commands and shortcuts from AutoCAD are copied along with it.  Having seen the Intellicad interface, I think that most likely a yes.

Excellent article at AEC Magazine that covers the introduction in depth, and thanks to @amonle / John Allsopp twitter for bringing this to my attention. I’ve included a portion below.

Based on a future version of Catia and its data management system Enovia, Dassault Systèmes is developing a competitive parametric modelling solution to compete with Autodesk’s Revit BIM (Building Information Modelling) tool. I understand that the next update of Catia will store its data in the cloud and Catia will potentially be downloaded and licensed from the desktop. This will enable Dassault Systèmes to overcome the fact that it does not have a value-added reseller channel to sell Catia Live Building but needs to compete with an established and low-cost player.

The brief demonstration showed an architectural model being rapidly developed and edited using Catia. Bernard Charlès said that the new product could do modelling in seconds, what Revit would take 45 minutes to do. And Dassault Systèmes should know — it was among the many original investors in the start-up company that developed the first version of Revit.

While Revit has captured the mindshare here in the US and Down Under among other places no one can discount the Dassault / IBM alliance and their entrance into the AEC industry in a big way.  The amount of consulting opportunities and hardware sales  should have IBM salivating.  So if Draftsight is free, what is Live Building coming in at?

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