AEC Customers will Gain Greater Flexibility Throughout the BIM Project Lifecycle
Autodesk and Trimble have entered into an interoperability agreement aimed at saving customers time and reducing project costs typically associated with workflow inefficiency across different suppliers’ technologies. This will benefit architects, engineers and contractors, and importantly, project owners by enabling more freedom to optimise technology workflows needed to meet the complex requirements of today’s construction projects.
Autodesk and Trimble have a shared goal of meeting the evolving needs of the building and infrastructure industries. Reliable, fluent exchange of information among multiple stakeholders and platforms is essential to this end. The Trimble and Autodesk collaboration demonstrates their ongoing commitment to support open industry standards such as Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie), and can enable current and prospective Autodesk and Trimble customers working on the same projects to work together seamlessly through optimised file compatibility across applications.
Under the terms of agreement, Autodesk and Trimble will take steps to accelerate interoperability by exchanging Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and developer tools to build and market interoperable products. This allows the two companies to improve upon existing data exchanges, as well as open up new workflows between their products. Tighter product-to-product integration can enable design and construction professionals to share models, project files and other data between select Autodesk and Trimble solutions both in the office and the field, and allow for the reuse of information during design and construction throughout all phases of the project.
“The strength of a company is best measured by its willingness to do what is right for its customers and the industry at large. This interoperability agreement, like others we’ve signed, speaks to Autodesk’s commitment to openness,” said Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, Autodesk. “This collaboration with Trimble speaks to our shared dedication to making the building process more efficient and productive for all involved.”
“This collaboration demonstrates our mutual commitment to provide design and construction professionals with a seamless experience from both Autodesk and Trimble design-build-operate solutions,” said Bryn Fosburgh, vice president at Trimble. “As a result all stakeholders across the construction lifecycle can optimise their workflow efficiency.”
Since my blog post about Vico last week, the software and it’s assests have been sold to Trimble. The recent acquisition is another very interesting move for the ever expanding company. Over the past 6 months or so, Trimble seems to be buying out many different companies providing software particularly focusing on construction and BIM. Why?
When Trimble bought Sketchup from Google earlier this year in April most people would have thought of it as a strange acquisition, bearing in mind Sketchup is fundamentally a 3D modeling tool with little other purpose. It is now clear that Trimble plan to upgrade and extend the capabilities of Sketchup – Trimbles Field Link has recently integrated the ability to support the Sketchup file format.
“5D is a progressive step of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) process that provides a richer data context to 3D BIM. 5D intelligently links individual 3D model components with time and cost-related information, enabling project owners and Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) service providers to visualize the progression of construction activities and the related costs over time. This BIM-centric project management methodology connects cost, scope and schedule within a visual environment to provide contractors with the ability to proactively resolve issues and streamline project delivery.
Vico’s 5D Virtual Construction solutions pioneered the category of BIM for construction, and these solutions remain the industry’s most integrated approach to coordination, quantity takeoff, cost estimation, project scheduling and production control. The new Vico Office product suite continues this tradition making it possible to leverage many important BIM file formats such as ArchiCAD, Revit, Tekla, CAD-Duct, IFC, 3D DWG and SketchUp.”
All of this got me thinking about what the future for SketchUp and particularly Trimble may bring. With the fight for an all round Open BIM solution still wide open, with the main contenders being Autodesk Vs Graphisoft both pushing, and at the same time resisting certain changes which could potentially be stopping them from reaching this goal. There is certainly room for another big player in this market as it stands.
Trimble will come into this field with the knowledge that a truly open lifecycle platform is needed – and fast. With all the tools that they have acquired, you can almost see the coming together and integration of these into an all round ‘suite package’ which could not only compete with the current major players; Revit vs ArchiCAD but also create a totally new solution, including tools which are not currently native in our ‘BIM suites’. It seems like the foundations are there, of course a lot of work is to be done if SketchUp is to be the main design platform, but it could be possible. We will have to sit tight and wait, probably for a year or two to see any possible fruition.
I look forward to hearing more about what the future holds for Trimble, I expect more big surprises in the not so distant future!