Archive for category Open Standard

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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The Building IS the operating system : BIM – SketchUp – Revit Free?

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.


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Open Standards Across Product Lines : SPie Cookbook : BIM

Even though the initial embrace with BIM was to visually communicate with clients and initially for me was coordinated and updated documentation the real carrot is the 4D and 5D aspects of the software, and real cost estimation demands components and products that are their real world digital equivalents, not generic components.  This calls for an open standard that manufactures can write and specifiers can utilize.  Thankfully there are people who know this and working to make it a reality.  A recent meeting sponsored by NIBS / Building Smart Alliance was held this past December to discuss and come up with a road map to reality.  The Specifiers Properties Information Exchange (SPie) Meeting came up with a cookbook to address it. The fact they hope to have standards in place for all major building products by December 2010 is a great and ambitious goal.  The home page to the session is available here and has other links to good information.


What is driving this project?

Many project stakeholders have been asking (some demanding) that building designs contain explicit properties about the objects in the building. To ensure that individual software vendors, large owners, or large manufactures do not begin to include proprietary requirements in open standard information exchanges, the SPie project was formed.

What are the next steps?

Now that the recipe for SPie has been created, NIBS is conducting an outreach effort that will result in a spring 2010 meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to allow a wide range of trade associations to engage with the project as quickly as possible. Our goal will be to have complete templates and product property data sets be available across the majority of building products by Dec 2010.


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