Posts Tagged cloud
LOS ALTOS, CA–(Marketwire – Feb 14, 2013) – Sales in this (AEC) segment more than doubled over the course of 2012. Box today announced a new technology partner and preferred Box OneCloud apps to better serve customers in architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) services. The new integration with Gehry Technologies‘ GTeam cloud-based BIM collaboration service, together with the company’s extensive mobile ecosystem, will make it easier for Box’s growing AEC customer base to securely access, manage and share critical information like blueprints, CAD files and contracts in the field. Sales in this segment more than doubled over the course of 2012.
This whole cloud based AEC collaboration, especially with digital punch lists, central BIM files, etc. just seems to make too much sense for anyone to ignore.
Why the cats in the box, well, the interweb loves cats.
While Autodesk labs has already made Photofly available for free over the web another competitor has thrown their hat into the PointCloud from Photos ring, Areoscan , and I have to say they are playing a game of catch up with Autodesk, who I believe already has a pretty good reseller network and did I mention Photofly is currently free. Add to this battle that Autodesk most will likely have the functionality built into the next AutoCAD release and its a big hill they are starting to climb. So I can’t say if there will anything new or compelling in order to pay for the service, unless they are going to fly you to their HQ in New Zealand for a personal demo. And don’t get me wrong I am always rooting for new companies but right now cannot see how the services between Photofly and Areoscan differ, except Photofly is free and Areoscan is more difficult to pronounce.
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.
While I have not taken this for a test drive yet the videos and technology behind this are impressive and could provide a very valuable tool set. First, a word about technology. Too many times software presupposes too much knowledge or interest on the user, that is this software can do some amazing stuff you just have to sit down with it, go through the manual, try and use it, sit in a classroom, hit the user groups, etc. to master it and make it a useful and successfully incorporate into your workflow. If you are like me you might be open minded to that but the benefits of learning a brand new software package have to be pretty amazing to entertain that process. Enter Photofly. From what I have pulled up and I included two videos here you upload standard digital photographs, which could range from your iphone to your 18 Megapixel Digital SLR, and Photofly does its magic in the cloud utilizing its own servers to render a photographic 3D image, that can be scaled using a known dimension to a dimensionally correct model that can also be exported to AutoCAD as a pointcloud. What?!$% From my perspective this is invaluable, and brings to the forefront technology that was only available from laser scanners. I am not saying this takes their place but any time you can put another arrow in your quiver for building surveying and documentation, the better. And if this is as intuitive as these 2 videos make it out to be, this is a home run.
Photofly Intro Video
Wrigley Field Gets Modeled From Tourist Photos
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.
Excellent article from Chris France on AECBytes on how Little Diversified is using Private Cloud Computing to deliver cost savings across its organization and powerful computing to its designers.
Excerpt below but well worth the jump to read the article. And thanks to John Allsop and his blog @ http://blog.tropicalismo360.com/ for bringing this to my attention.
We have heard a lot about Cloud Computing and SaaS (Software as a Service), but what about moving our high performance graphics workstations to the cloud? This article describes how Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, located in Charlotte NC, built a private cloud that included their high performance graphics workstations (HPGW). A private cloud differs from the public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services or Google by the fact that the cloud computing infrastructure and resources are controlled by the individual business that deploys it. (See a brief discussion by Tom Bittman of Gartner on private cloud computing in this YouTube video.)
What is the future of BIM? While this may seem premature as many people are new to BIM and IPD and their implications we can see parallels in the computer industry itself. And we look at the computer industry what we are really looking at is the storage/management and use of data since the computer is only a tool and if we are not using it really its just a paperweight.
The computer originally was used to compute data, numbers, and one of its first big hits for mass consumption was Visi-Calc, an electronic spreadsheet that did the math for you, which took the place of paper. That was good. The spread sheets got more robust in power and features. New entrants came in, remember Lotus 1-2-3. It started getting really popular and more entrants came in, Microsoft brought out Excel, and now Microsoft Office, which Excel is a part of is the main revenue generator for the company. Companies were created to add functionality to these programs, in templates and automated worksheets, bolt ons and the like. It became such a big industry that a consortium lead by Sun created Open Office, free for the taking. Google then created its own spreadsheet program on the Web utilizing cloud computing. And google, if anything, is about the data, and cloud computing with its data available to all allows firms and individuals to add value with products and services and bid on projects immediately accessible to them.
BIM is the format for data that will allow this same revolution take hold in the A/E/C Community. And its already starting to happen. The building in 3D allows all sorts of data to be embedded or available in the project. Revit, Microstation, ArchiCAD all allow you to build on a 3D platform. Navisworks for collision detection, Ecotect or IES for performance analysis, etc. Now with the adoption and creation a new data portability standards IFCxml, AGCxml, etc. it starts to become easier to work cross platform. Companies like Onuma are working on BIM servers that will host the models so everyone can start to work together. Once the BIM gets up in the cloud it afford more firms to add value through products and services.
Andersen comes up with an app that can pick out the windows and provide bids for replacement windows, with ROI and energy savings calculators built in, Trane same thing for retrofitting. Contractors can bid on the digital projects, anyone who fabricates or installs building products can so digitally. Rendering firms, etc. The building becomes the operating system that people build on. This type of platform breaks up the hegemony that is Autodesk, but that acquire companies to fortify it, like the purchase of Naviswork and Ecotoect so you can program a building from design to destruction within their family but their business model will also have to shift. IBM made the transition to a powerful services vendor. But you need to get energy analysis on a building, get bids on a new roof, find a new commercial cleaner, yea there will be an app for that.
So I had been ruminating in a post awhile back about using Revit and or BIM authoring tools as a service, Saas , or computing in the cloud. If you have been to any business or venture conference in the last 18 months+ inevitably someone will ask you what your SaaS model is, or you’ll hear the word cloud more than it’s repeated on the weather channel. Well sometimes you can tire of this chatter and discount it but this makes sense, rather than devoting your time and resources managing hardware boxes and upgrading software, etc. it makes more sense to just go to work. Wit regards to the BIM world, you want to have the BIM centrally stored and distributable, I mean this model makes more sense to me for BIM than most. So in comes Project Twitch from Autodesk, which is the “remote delivery of (Autodesk) application over the internet..” and included in the test is Revit Architecture 2010. For latency reason they say you should be within 1000 miles of the test lab in San Fran…really? slackers. This is a very good thing.
The idea of BIM and IPD is a fantastic one but the biggest goal that remains is getting all disciplines working within the same BIM. Today there are multiple products that perform a wide variety of tasks from BIM authoring tools, like Revit, to energy analysis packages like Ecotect and IES, and integration tools like Navisworks. To facilitate cross communication file formats and schemas have been introduced like IFCxml, GBxml, AGCxml, etc. How is one to understand let alone implement best practices? While the options makes ones head spin there are corollaries in the software world and well established ones at that can help guide us. For simplicity sake I will use the one I am using today to publish this blog. The software or authoring tool I am using resides on the internet, or in the ‘cloud.’ It is saved in bytes and I continuously misspell words it helps me correct them. This blog also automatically publishes to twitter because of a plug-in I installed and if you are reading this it is because it was picked up by an RSS feed, or keyword alert, or through a google search, etc. The data can then be diced up and delivered in a variety of ways that serves the most value to you. This example holds true across all data. Facebook, Salesforce, etc. are all platforms that allow you to distribute and interact with data that resides in the cloud because people smarter than me have written programs designed specifically to do a particular task. Imagine interacting with a BIM in the same way. Imagine ripping of data that is important to you without having 5 different programs installed and each needs to be translated into the next. This is why the idea of cloud computing and SaaS are so powerful and prevalent in the marketplace today. There are firms working on this today and when they become widespread and put into use we will see the promise of BIM become a reality.
A couple of examples are linked below.
A model server example and open architecture
Don’t we want to see as many programmers as we can working on the problems effecting us as possible? The more plug ins and apps we have working in an open environment, the better.