Archive for category CAD

Flame Virus Wants Your CAD

As reported by Industry Week, ‘The world’s most sophisticated malware had a ‘high interest in AutoCAD drawings,’ Kaspersky Lab said.  The Flame Virus, which mainly affected computers in the Middle East used a loophole in Microsoft software tricking computers into thinking they are downloading a legitimate Windows update.  This fact, being reported by Reuters, The Times, CNET, and others. CNN reported that Flame can turn on your microphone, webcam, log e-mails, etc.  I have not read if it can do anything malicious itself as the Stuxnet Virus did to Iran Uranium enrichment facilities by having centrifuges essentially tear themselves apart.  However, going after CAD, essentially engineering and building documents can let whoever is collecting this information know what you are designing and building, and possibly have the blueprints of the building you are designing and building in.  And you thought google knowing that you smoke cigars and eat ice cream on your back porch at 5:23 PM was intrusive.

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Two great tastes together, Revit and AutoCAD make RevitCAD…

So I am just adding to the rumor mill, first started, or first heard by me,  by Steve Stafford on his twitter feed, so I’ll throw him under the bus if it does not come to pass that the next release of Revit will be “Revit and AutoCAD glued together in one product called ReviCAD….”   There has been a lot of bundling going in the recent years such as buy AutoCAD get Revit with it, etc. but not before has it been under one hood, so interesting if you could use AutoCAD’s drafting tool inside of a Revit view, as I’d like that but how about as a tool to increase migration to Revit, although arguably AutoCAD and Revit lead their fields as CAD drafting and BIM authoring platforms, this doesn’t require anyone to make the leap if  it’s true, your just in it.  So if true, as those guys in the Guiness commercials would say, “Brilliant.”

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Work Smarter not Harder? Graphics Standards? Objects? BIM? Building OS

Practice 2.0: Work Smarter Not Harder Source: http://gapingvoid.com/2007/09/26/simon-phipps-and-hamish-newlands/In a recent article for the IBTimes, David Fano, Practice 2.0: Work Smarter Not Harder, brings up a good point about working together and developing open source systems and standards.  He uses creating a national CAD graphics standard as a jumping off point.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, architects held about 141,200 jobs in 2008 (source). Hypothetically, if each architect in the U.S. spends 30 minutes a year on average working on standards, as a profession we spend 70,600 hours on standards every year. Just for reference there are 2,080 hours per year in a standard full-time work week (52 weeks x 40 hours). That’s like a firm of 34 full time architects working on nothing but standards every year.

This same thing is happening on a larger scale with BIM.  Each camp developing its own standards, objects and regardless of IFC, are not really good at speaking to each other. Even within a BIM platform, such as Revit, you have modelers who will build window families different from each other, now I’m all for artisans, but this seems to be going a bit far.  Now if we want to get to a liquid marketplace where each contractor can bid on a building, or component of a building for construction, fabrication or service we need an open platform that everyone can tie into.  What we have are ‘readers’ or ‘compilers’ like Navisworks or now BIM Sight from Tekla/Trimble which can suck in disparate information and display it, good, that’s a good step, but you then don’t do ‘something’ in these products and are they added back to the model, it’s another step to update the model with work that might be done, in stead of giving specific permission to a ‘contractor’ to update the model with the work that was done.  Perhaps, will have a ton of translators doing the work of minions, but for now there is still a ton of customization, which is good, but without a common standard, a lot of re-work and cross entry and translation (which is bad).

But the short answer to John’s query about an open source approach to the industry, “yeah, right on!”

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CAD Rendering in the Cloud : Project Neon

In short order Autodesk Labs is releasing a flurry of projects, and it is stuff that people want to use unlike a sub menu command in Revit 2012 that 12 people rejoice over, this is stuff that people want to use in their day to day.  I understand that there have been server farms out there that can be used for rendering and it makes absolute sense.    I also understand that there was storage on remote servers and file sync programs for a long time but until jungledisk and dropbox come along to put a pretty bow around it and make it more intuitive the percentage of the population who is going to use it would remain small, better software, better interface, bigger pie, exponentially bigger pie.

Project Neon allows for the export of dwg into the cloud viw the Neon interface, set parameters, and let it go to work.  Not ever having to watch a painful block by block rendering, much like an 96 year old man shoveling a 200 yard driveway is worth the price of admission alone, which did I tell you, is free.

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Project Butterfly : Autodesk continues with SaaS : #BIM #CAD #saas

Autodesk continues to  move forward with their Saas (software as a service) offerings.  While Project Twitch allowed users to test drive a variety of software without saving or uploading anything Project Butterfly give you space in the cloud to upload your files and drive through them, collaborate, save all within a web base AutoCAD environment.  I have just started playing around with it, although it has been out for awhile and although there is a bit of lag but  it still delivers.  I believe getting files, models, etc. in the cloud is the beginning.  The start of real collaboration, the start of value added services, the start of a more efficient work place and the market leader is starting to figure it out.

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Mac : AutoCAD : Sledgehammer: kaPOW

Reports coming over the interweb that Autodesk will be releasing a version of AutoCAD native for the Mac.  For someone writing this on a Mac while AutoCAD Architecture / ADT is running on  on Parallels (PC Simulator) simultaneously this is initially a big yawn.  However, for the fervent MAC camp that rather ride down a razor railing than use anything PC related this has to be met with much joy and confirmation that the MAC platform is superior and even the big boys now have to admit it and start creating or recreating native programs for the MAC.  The bigger question remains why?  My guess?  Because Apple is ‘cool’ and so, then why not.

I first saw this over at Architosh, where the article goes into further depth about how it was programmed, Cocoa v. Aqua which has absolutely no relevance to me, as with my refrigerator, I plug it in, it makes things cold as I load software, I expect it to work.  From a development standpoint I’ll have to ask some people smarter than me how easy–> difficult it will be to port programs from Windows to Mac environment but we’ll have to wait for the real release.

Also below is youtube video showing it running,

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Starting a Revit Model from 2D CAD: #Revit #BIM

I just read through Gregory Arkin’s post on BIMBoom and he goes through the steps of importing CAD and converting 2D CAD plans into a Revit model.  Great knowledge to have.

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CAD Marketshare : BIM Marketshare : Installed Seats : Installed Base : #BIM #CAD

I thought I’d share some numbers here since I find it difficult to find them openly out there on the interweb.  I included a Market Share Pie Chart which appears to be from Gartner Research circa 2007.  Using the 55% AutoCAD figure for the total market share and using the AutoCAD installed base via 2008 of 4,162,000, which is right from an Autodesk Press release, we then can approximate the total installed seats for CAD (2D, 3D, BIM) to be around 7,567,273.  However, this figure could be derived by revenue which will distort the total installed seats figure.

If we assume that 7,567,723 figure is correct, as well as the 7% figure for Revit provided by Gartner we get installed seats of Revit to be 530,000, give or take.  That seems kind of close to the back of the envelope estimates I was coming up with by getting published accounts of installed Revit seats to be around 400,000 end of 2008, and they were selling new seats of Revit at around 20,000 per quarter, would have them around 480,000+ by the end of this year 2009.  If installed seats of Revit have not surpassed the installed seats of AutoCAD Architecture, previously Architectural Desktop, it has to be getting close, as of 2008 there was an installed base of ADT/ACA of 503,000.

Using the report as a guideline they had BIM growth at approximately 12%, if Revit is adding seats at approximately 20,000 per quarter that is a 15% gain from FY 2009. In 2008 they had an increase in revenue from Revit from the previous year of 23%, which could be attributed to sales of subscriptions and on going maintenance contracts above and beyond the 15% I came up with here.

Another interesting fact is that as a percentage of revenue 3D Products and AutoCAD itself were getting very close to parity, with AutoCAD and AutoCADLT at 32% and 3D Products at 30%.  I am not privy to how they break out all the figures but Civil 3D, Navisworks and Revit are all thrown into that bucket.  So 3D solutions has gone from 23% of FY 2008 revenue to 27% of FY 2009 revenue to 30% at the Q2 FY 2010 watermark.

Autocad Market

Some other information I found in an article at Architosh, and I have posted some of it here.

Revenue and Growth

According to JPR’s research, CAD software vendors saw combined revenues of $5.2 billion (USD) in 2007 globally. The CAD software market grew by an astounding 20% in 2007 compared to 2006. Despite a very poor US economy and the threat of US recession, the CAD industry will continue its positive economic trend and will grow to over $6 billion (USD) in 2008. Looking out five years the global CAD software market will reach and exceed $8.2 billion (USD).

2D and 3D

In 2007 the worldwide installed base of CAD users reached 5.31 million. In 2007 the majority of CAD users (63%) are still working in 2D, while 37% work in 3D. However, revenues for 3D CAD surpassed 2D CAD taking 53% of the market. This trend will continue but JPR makes note that not all 2D CAD users will make a transition to 3D CAD.

The article was based on the research from Jon Peddie Research.

To look at the 2007 figure of installed seats as reported by Jon Peddie, of 5.3 Million and a 15% Growth Rate we would get approximately 6.09 Million Users in 2008 and 7.00 Million in 2009.

Hope this was helpful for those of you at their searching for this stuff, and if you weren’t I don’t know how you got here and why you’re still reading.

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CAD vs. BIM Smackdown: Part I

A lot of us have drank the BIM cool aid, it’s smarter, better, jumps higher, runs faster and there are a lot of good case studies out there on how much time/money it can save.  I believe this, truly but the bold fact of the matter is that most of the world works in 2D most of the time.  Now we can talk, scream and post how this technology is better but the IT world and Interweb are littered with carcasses that we supposed to be better.  Not that I think BIM will end up there but what about CAD.  I have read a lot about BIM but the fact is, I’m tuned into it and so are the rest of the cult members but what is the market demanding.  One is a way to do things better, hence faster, cheaper…check.  Another is the constant pressure to provide Software as a Service and do it for free, hello google everything.  If we look at the cloud, that is programs and data out in the ether, for example, I am writing this on wordpress which is being hosted who knows where, but every time I type the url: and enter my password, all my data is there, and it works.  How it works does much matter to me.  So if people want free stuff and want it now, in the AEC world, CAD or some flavor of it would seem to be the best choice to get up there.  Why?  It can be a much lighter weight application than any BIM platform, just look at any CAD/BIM file comparison, but also simply working in 2D vs 3D requires a lot less bandwidth and computing power.  So what, BIM rocks you might say or yell.  However, let’s look at some of the benefits of BIM.

File Sharing/Collobaration

While there is much to like about this, proprietary formats, info exchange, object transferability, etc. the fact it, the model generally resides locally on a LAN, and I have not heard great stories about sharing the model outside of an organization for technical and legal reasons.  Some people are working on this like BIMServer, and if you make the jump be warned the site looks almost exactly like this one, not a big compliment just a bit confusing.  But certainly a file in the cloud with collaboration tools built in would work much better.  Plus once this data is out there it can be better utilized and analyzed.

Product Extensions/ Add Ons

One of the great things about Saas,  opening up a platform is the amount of software that can be written for it, look at Salesforce.com, Facebook, Twitter, iphone so one would argue the more open the more better.  All though that puts a lot of business models at risk.   With the amount of software being written to aid the AEC community, the building wants to be open as it has jump through so many hoops to talk to each other.  There is ifcMCL, and the release of  agcXML, endorsed by Association for General Contractors for data interchange.  However, to write software for the AEC industry one still has to be either a developer for one of the bigs, and you would have to write to each platform.  Much more enticing to write for one.

You can’t say cloud without saying google.  Let’s look at google for a moment, there was an excellent post by Phil Read on his blog, about Google and CAD, and how google is rolling through industries, whereas Autodesk is focused on AEC, Google is focused on data, and wants you to create it, so they can sort it, index it, and serve it.  They have google earth, which by the way you can post Revit models to, they bought SketchUP, what are the focusing on, and can CAD be next.  Might someone open up and democratize the CAD platform so real collaboration tools can be written, and added value programs layered on top.  Maybe it’s case of one step back for 3 steps forward.

While I am a big proponent of BIM, I also like the idea of open platforms and maybe the opening of the ‘building’ is too big to ignore.

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