Posts Tagged Autodesk

Reality Capture #2 on Autodesk Labs Hit List : Project Galileo to join other tools. BIM

As reported by Matt Ball, Brian Mathews, the Autodesk VP in charge of Autodesk Labs,  gave a media briefing updating ‘his Seven Technology Trends lecture with example projects.’  Reality capture or as otherwise stated, turning analog into digital, being #2 on the hit list.  So capturing the Built Environment is starting to get serious traction, and while I hesitate to use the word traction, well, that’s what its getting.

Previously in the conversation  people would talk about all the wonderful things software can do for buildings, then you realize the majority of construction is in the built environment and it becomes, well just give me the building, or at lest the digital equivalent of the building and look at the wonderful things software can do, however, most presupposed the digital equivalent of the building.  Not anymore, more and more companies are releasing software and tools to capture the built environment, or call it reality capture if you like, but soon there are going to be a lot more tools on your shelf.

Autodesk has released, Project Photofly . and will soon release Project Galileo which according to its splash page, “is an easy-to-use planning tool for creating 3D city models from civil, geospatial and building data, and 3D models.”  Plus Autodesk has release shape extraction tools from PointClouds directly inside of AutoCAD.  Rand Technology/Avatech/Imaginit hybrid has released PointCloud manipulation tools inside of Revit and we are in the final beta of PKNail, a PPLT (Point to Point Laser Technology) system that allows a user to drive Revit commands and enter dimensional data directly from a range finder allowing a user to build a Revit model in the field.  Plus we recently saw the beautiful kinect hack allowing a user to capture and even measure 3D video.  I can’t say which technology or mixture of technologies will work best for you, but your job is going to get easier.


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Greening the Built Environment : Autodesk joins IBM’s Green Sigma Coalition : IBM Flexing its Market Power Muscle : BIM

Quick jumble from IBM to BIM and it seems a lot of threads are coming together between IBM and the AECOM community. Smart Buildings and Smart Cities, IBM and Dassault, IBM Maximo, etc.  How this comes to grind with LEED, and EnergyStar initiatives , etc remains to be seen but there is quite a roster to this invite only list.   Charter members include:  Johnson Controls, Honeywell Building Solutions, ABB, Eaton, ESS, Cisco, Siemens Building Technologies Division, Schneider Electric and SAP but nothing like owning the  process and selling services, hardware,  software, product to achieve Green Sigma.  The process itself :

“Combines real-time metering and monitoring with advanced analytics and dashboards that allow clients to make better decisions that improve efficiency, lower costs and reduce environmental impact.”

IBM goes on to outline the validation process which is, you guessed it, validated by IBM. How this differs from LEED which:

… is an internationally recognized green building certification system,  providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Now I am a capitalist so increasing shareholder value is something I take to heart, sure there’s a lot more in the mix than that and who am I to take IBM to task for flexing its market power muscle but aren’t we talking the same side of the coin only IBM wants to own the coin too.  One could argue that Green Sigma is the practical application of LEED principles.  That should keep respective communication departments off my back.  Regardless of who owns the process the end goal for each is laudable, and now proven that ‘green’ is good business.

As reported by Lauren Browne at Connect Press IBM brought Autodesk in for its expertise in modeling and the built environment.

“It occurred to IBM, that it would make sense, given that the built environment requires multiple layers of solution sets including hardware, software, services, financing, etc. that no one company could do this (tackle greening the built environment) in isolation. And if they did, they would be handicapping themselves.”                                – Emma Stewart, Senior Program Lead, Sustainability, Autodesk.

This could help explain the Photofly and PointCloud tools expected in the most recent release of Autocad but if you start doing the math,  +$400 billion in sustainable retrofits, +75% of construction done in the built environment you understand why the big guns are out.


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Autodesk taking as builts seriously : Photo Modeling and PointClouds in next release?

With all the stuff flying out of Autodesk Labs recently one maybe blinded by the technology slant rather than the strategy.  Looking specifically at Photofly and their new PointCloud tools with shape  extraction Autodesk is putting together a strong effort in capturing the built environment within their CAD platform.  Looking at the ribbon from an AutoCAD beta you can see that Photo Modeling and PointCloud are options available directly within the menu.

You can see these option on the far right, somewhat obscured by one of my feeds.  Yes, my blog formatting skills still need fine tuning.   Last time we researched this over 80% of construction in Boston was done within existing buildings. This new technology push with our own research dove tails nicely with the sustainable retrofit anecdotes.

I think it becomes more important that applications work within familiar platforms to not not only increase their adoption but also to incorporate into an existing workflow.  Asking anyone to learn a new platform is always a tougher hill to climb and most shops are standardizing their drafting/modeling on to one or two applications.

From a technology stand point, the more tools the more better because this has been a soft spot in the whole CAD/BIM world, that is I am working in an existing building, I use Revit, I used AutoCAD, okay, now where do I start.  Defining this will help everyone.


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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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BIM Pricing : Graphisoft fires 1st Shot of 2010

So there are always been a lot of water cooler discussions about the price of software, and in here at frombulator it would be the pricing of BIM software.  With visual communication of clients still being the number 1 reason for people using the stuff, and not necessarily the right reason, it seems a less robust BIM, miniBIM piece of software might do the trick.  ‘Hey, that’s Sketch Up’  True Sketch Up does a fine job of communicating visually with clients, however, I don’t know anyone putting construction documents together with it, although by saying that I’m sure someone out there will correct me.  However, needing a first step with BIM without laying down $5K and 20% annually seems like there might be a sweet spot for an entry product.  So Graphisoft issues a press release Feb 18, about the new ArchiCAD STAR(T) Edition with a suggested retail price of $1995.   Is this big enough to warrant a response from the gorilla in Waltham, yeah I know corporate HQ i in California but Revit still lives closer to its ancestral home.  I will be watching this because I usually ask somewhere in my presentations, ‘When I say BIM how many of you are thinking Revit?’  Sounds like the start of good poll, not sure who wants to know the answer.


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Autodesk: User Upgrades : How many people actually do it : #BIM

I do not claim to be an analyst or play one on TV, however, I am interested in what is happening in this space from a business perspective and when I try to get clean answers on the question I am asking I find it is not always  easy.   So my most recent query was to find out how many people or percentage of users  actually upgrade?  Or start using the new stuff when it comes out.  As a software developer you want the needle pinned at 100%, as a user, I admit that I still fire up programs that have the ’05’ in the title.  Yeah that’s a long winded intro, but this is what pulled from Autodesk and my interpretation of it.

Using Autodesk FY 2010 as a guideline.

Combined q1 and q2

Total Revenue – $841 Million

License and Other Revenue – $477

Maintenance – $ 366

Upgrade – $70 Million

On a percentage basis Maintenance Revenue is at 44%, Upgrade Revenue is roughly 8%.

So at any one time at least 50% of Autodesk’s installed base is either using or has the opportunity to use the latest software.  I say the opportunity to use because if you are on a maintenance program that includes the latest releases it is highly unlikely that every organization would upgrade the software every year.  Rather they made a decision that it costs less to be on the maintenance program and have the upgrade option even if they only do it every other year, etc.  So sell it once and turn 1/2 your user base into an annuity.

I also know Autodesk has a lot of interest in creating the software sales model into subscription only, making that figure 100%.  However, that sounds a lot like putting a lot of bees in a jar and shaking it.  Better make sure that lid stays put.


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BIM Usage Increases 75% : Autodesk Stock Up over 100% in 6 Months : The Business of #BIM

Hey we can all bend statistics in our favor but the one that jumps off the page in the most recent McGraw Hill Smart Market report is that one-half, 50% of the industry is using BIM, or a 75% increase in usage in the last 2 years.  That’s a ridiculous adoption rate.   McGraw Hill’s method of analysis is through internet surveys and while you can question the sample population the broader market may have picked up on this as well as Autodesk, the defacto 800 lb gorilla with Revit and Navisworks, etc. , is off its 5 year low posted on March 9, 2009 of $11.79  to trading at $23.58, that’s 100% gain folks in a little over 6 months.  If you are new to this world you think everyone has drank the cool aid but if principal, CM, PM, etc is making the decision on what/when/where to invest in BIM is becoming a too obvious choice even if its just to be on the bandwagon.  Anyone who has pulled CAD lines until they cramped up and laments changes and design options knows the beauty of working in 3D.

So not surprisingly one of the most repeated benefits is “reducing rework” and “avoiding rework”, you see the trend and this jibes well with all the other reports we have seen and also noted here, including the estimated $16 billion to $34 Billion wasted on such things.  But while that becomes the most apparent most immediately the effects of everything else downstream cannot be discounted, integrated disciplines, collision detection, scheduling, the “zero-defect” building.  However, can’t get there until you start with BIM.  Existing Conditions, Renovations, New Construction, it does not matter as there are technologies that will help get you there.

Report is Available Here through McGraw Hill


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