Archivo etiqueta OS
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!”
If you free it, they will come. Hasn’t that been proven many times over in the software world? Not always the most viable business model, but sure to gain traction and then we can figure out the revenue streams, or the revenue streams will figure themselves out as we get volume. If the majority of what you do on the web is surfing and e-mailing, the software you use is free. If you are composing spreadsheets and documents using google docs and/or Open Office it is free. It’s really the value you imbue these documents with that have value and people are starting pay for. Your the NYTimes and your content is important to people, you sell ads. Your facebook, well it will be ads again, or maybe facebook gets a cut from all the digital nothingness people buy in the form of cyber poker chips and farm tools from Zynga but I’m getting off point.
Think of the building, or the digital manifestation of the building as the operating system, the OS. Now I want to run an energy analysis on the building, heating and cooling loads, solar analysis, or I want to do a cost analysis on sustainable retrofits, or even new construction. It can all start with generic structure or masses, that is I have generic mass of blocks and objects, it’s when it has to be put into context that it needs to be defined. From this is a wall, and this is a window, to this is a steel stud wall with 3/8″ gyp on each side, and this is a window with triple pane low-e glass, etc. It depends on what you need it for that it needs to be defined, energy analysis you want the R values, cost analysis for construction, types, and even then you may not want to populate that whole model with those defined types because it gets huge and you might not need it.
For all the different people who interface with the building the idea of a centralized model is an awesome thing, and it has been the idea of BIM that has brought this forward. However, think of having the BIM in the cloud, and now it becomes the OS and I want to build applications for it. Energy Analysis, Cost Analysis, Maintenance Contracts, Build Outs, etc. etc. it opens the building to the market. And if it can start as generic components and then people pick and choose what type of data and services they want to use to add value well it starts to sound like the iphone and the app store, or android and the app store, or facebook with Zynga, etc. that is free at first but customers willing to pay for the things that give them value. We can all argue the benefits of why having a BIM of your building allows you to manage what may be your biggest asset more efficiently and save money, energy, etc. however, combine those things with free, well that’s where SketchUp is bringing us, the free building OS, and we’re all going to be playing in the app store.