A user forum for the Adoddle community, this exclusive bi- annual event promises to deliver an enriching and thought-leading experience.
A user forum for the Adoddle community, this exclusive bi- annual event promises to deliver an enriching and thought-leading experience.
Since joining Asite I have been blown away by the talent of the people who build this business - they are truly exceptional and they make my world a joy.
Before the Internet, when we needed to find something out, we asked our parents, and if they didn't know they would not say so, they would tell you to look up the encyclopaedia (if your family was lucky enough to have a set). If that failed you were off to the local library to thrall through countless tombs of information - and hopefully many hours if not days later you had your reward - the ANSWER!
.....or Cocialising as we call it at Asite is growing among our community. It is the ability to create corporate strength Clouds and services for corporate communication, regardless of device or process - throughout the supply chain. This could be discussion around a BIM process, it could be communicating an invoice or simply discussing the next marketing plan with your colleagues around the globe. Whatever your business process - you need to collaborate it and you need to do this in a secure corporate/social arena - Cocialising.
I first coined the phrase in a meeting many years back to a room full of raised eyebrows, as you can imagine. I then mentioned it on a call with Gartner, where it was quickly met with the response "we can't see that catching on" - and maybe they're right. However, thats not the point, I still think it describes very well what we do in the corporate SaaS arena.
There are a plethora of SaaS providers out there who mainly deal in the social arena - Facebook, Waze, Twitter to name a few, but there are more and more of us who only provide corporate strength SaaS solutions and services.
I believe that Cocial Networking will take the place of Social Networking as more and more of us want to control our own data. Having a dropdata facility in the cloud will no longer suffice - you need a corporate Cloud Service, IT's Adoddle.
I read an article recently on North American Value Added Resellers (VAR's) which stated that there were circa 100,000 IT Service providers in North America of which 15,000 - 20,000 were managed service providers. I was shocked to discover that very few of these were providing Cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions.
This is a huge missed opportunity and one that needs to be addressed quickly if they are not to be left behind by the emergence of the VAR Cloud Service providers.
Here at Asite we have been building custom Apps that are housed in our Cloud (Adoddle) for our customers for many years. We have now handed this capability to our clients, who are beginning to build their own Apps for their very individual needs. We see huge revenue opportunities for the savvy VAR's who understand this lucrative market.
If you would like to know more, email email@example.com
This is a great article for any Hardware/Software VAR's out there looking for an excuse to jump into the cloud - http://www.crn.com/blogs-op-ed/channel-voices/240150416/the-massive-saas-opportunities-for-vars.htm
Hi. I'm Adoddle. I'm the newest member of the Asite team and I'm really pleased to meet you. You may have noticed that I'm not from around here, but I'm here to stay.
Major global organisations are recognising the fact that the Cloud is here and that it is here to stay. We are involved in the next wave of technology, through the evolution of SaaS and Cloud based solutions. Users now wish to interact with their data through their chosen device from anywhere they happen to find themselves at any time, night or day. They do not want to be tied to their corporate information by cables and a desktop, with various time constraints, hampering innovation. Corporations find it difficult to keep up with the plethora of apps and devices that just keep coming and will continue to do so - as it's not their core business. It's easier and safer to put this in the experienced and secure hands of the SaaS/Cloud provider - as IT IS core to their business.
We hosted a Webinar last week in partnership with Building Magazine - 'BIMing Up' Practicalities Integrating BIM. This was the second in a series of four and if you didn’t manage to attend then be sure to look out for the next two early next year. Watch this space for further details on that. The first two sessions are also saved online as recordings you can watch anytime -
I was blown away by the attendance levels (more than 2,000 registered), clearly showing that BIM is a very hot topic in our industry. There were some really great questions from the audience, sadly we did not have the chance to answer them all, so I decided to answer some of them here. Hopefully this will further the discussion on this very important evolution of how we design, build and operate our assets in this new BIM world (or not so NEW, some of us have been doing it for years ;)
So, here we go:
Q. Practitioners have always used different software (CAD, project management tools, etc.). How realistic is it that full (level 3) integration of information will be achieved between all members of the construction team across the industry? How long might it take to achieve this?
A. There are a plethora of different products, systems and tools out there that need to talk to one another to achieve Level 3 - it really depends on how far you want/need to take it. Your organisation’s business model, its processes and its capabilities will define this. At Asite we have been integrating with both internal (inside the firewall) and external systems (outside the firewall) (CAD, ERP, SCM etc..) for the past 10 years in 2D and 3D environments and most recently in the 4th and 5th Dimensions. We do this with our collaborative Building Information Model cloud - cBIM. Through our relationships with the likes of Autodesk, Microsoft, SAP, and OpSource to name a few, we have been enabling our users throughout the supply chain to interact with this data from our Cloud - no matter what systems they use. We work closely with BuildingSmart and the IFC schema to enable this interoperability. This is all happening today, you just need to become a part of it.
Q. What is the prospect of subscription based software licensing making more complex BIM software available to smaller consultancies?
A. This is a great question and one I hear all too often as a statement - "This is too expensive for smaller consultancies" or "my project is too small to warrant BIM", a perfectly logical train of thought in both cases. The reality is that it is not too expensive to get started and it should be used on projects of all sizes, sooner rather than later. First of all you need to choose the applications that suit your business model, methodologies, processes and capabilities - then you can decide how to get involved and at what price level. With cBIM you can take data in from any other CAD packages that support IFC and interact with that data for your business needs. As cBIM is subscription based you don’t need every user in your organisation or supply chain to require CAD licenses. They may just need to view the model on-line for Comments, Red-Lining and collaboration purposes or they may need to extract data for other uses such as cost estimating or procurement purposes. For all of these actions and many, many more, they just require a low level subscription to our cBIM service, with the requirement for BIM Authoring/CAD, ERP, CRM and many other unnecessary licenses being taken out of the budget/cost. Of course as you grow as a BIM shop – depending on your discipline, you may require more BIM Authoring licenses for instance - at which point your innovation in BIM will be paying dividends.
Q. What are the benefits to building product suppliers?
A. If building product suppliers can get on board early enough in the BIM design process, they can get clear visibility of what products the design teams are using at spec phase and get their product families built straight into the construction design. This is clearly advantageous from a planning perspective and stock control as an example. From a procurement perspective, you can buy product straight out of the model file. You bring this all the way through to FM and you have the holy grail - FM operations now have all of the building supplies as part of the model file to maintain, operate and procure, for the future of that asset. Imagine being able to fly through the model, click on an air-con unit - then see who specified it, supplied it, fitted it and oh by the way click the basket to procure a new one? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Q. How does BIM record who changed what and when in the model? (Legal issues, Management, contract)?
A. It is not BIM that records the audit trail across a design team – it is the collaborative BIM platform. In Asite cBIM each and every action is fully audited, who did what, why, where etc. We as an industry have been doing this for years in the 2D space with basic project extranet solutions - the 3D world is no different - we just need to get more co-ordinated on the technical capabilities, through interoperability. The full audit trail doesn’t change – that is why collaboration matters.
Q. We speak about collaboration. Is the current Master BIM version a live platform? or is it just various model that is updated by a BIM manager?
A. This is very clear in my mind - without collaboration you are simply dealing with what we call the Selfish BIM. That is various BIM's (usually with each stakeholder on a project keeping their own autonomous BIM) not being kept up to date by other versions of that BIM and certainly no audit being kept in place. Through the use of cBIM you have one central secure Master BIM (as you call it). As participants begin to interact with it and use it to update in their own environments, new revisions and versions will be added to the Master. The Master will always hold the most up to date information, together with a very powerful audit trail. So without collaboration (just like we have been doing for ever in the 2D world) you are not realising the full potential of BIM. At Asite we have an intelligent robot called Adoddle that co-ordinates and synchronises your model files for this purpose.
I said in my closing remark at the Webinar - that it is important to get started, however size of bite you want to start off with. It will make your firm an innovator and differentiate you from your competitors. Remember BIM is a number of practices, methodologies and technologies that you must integrate into your business - so you can get started with very little or no cost. The fact of the matter is: if you want to make BIM a reality for your firm - you need to get started somewhere.
Paul Wilkinson's recent blog post about disruptive ideas in the construction collaboration space prompted some contemplation for me – as I respect Paul’s knowledge of our space and we often share perspectives on where we see software (and particularly Software as a Service) supporting the AEC industry now and into the future. I was surprised to see Paul’s description of the ‘BIM-as-a-Service’ idea without mention of Asite cBIM – although I was heartened to see his subsequent post about the ‘BIM Battle’ recognising Asite’s long-time activity in this space since our announcement and demonstration of cBIM in London and in Washington D.C. in 2006 and our “seeing-is-believing” demonstration with Bentley Systems in 2007.
‘BIM-as-a-Service’ is what Asite does via cBIM – albeit we are not open source as is the BIMserver project that Léon van Berlo is putting together in Holland – we deliver the service along with the software and the globally accredited platform. cBIM is not about being a BIM design platform such as Revit, Bentley, Archicad, Tekla, Digital Project, Nemetschek, etc. We call those platforms ‘processors’ because they are about processing data and allowing end-users to create or change the model.
cBIM is about being the library for the model information; indeed, for all project-related information. In real-life projects stakeholders use a wide variety of processors. What they generally don’t have is a central library which allows them to check data in and out and keeps track of it all. Within Asite we talk about the four ‘C’s of cBIM – collaboration, coordination, commercial, and cloud. You give project teams a central database in the cloud to maintain and coordinate the model – built on a proven collaboration platform integrated tightly with their commercial data. (There are at least three more Cs under commercial – i.e. cost, contracts, and construction management – but that just starts to get silly.)
I am a fan of the BIMserver project and I believe the intent of the model server they have begun building is to become an open-source offering similar to Asite cBIM – i.e. to host the actual BIM database centrally (allowing for versioning, model merging, etc.). This is very clearly differentiated from the belated steps toward BIM that some of our construction collaboration vendor brethren are now taking – which are very much management of model “files” – basically doing the same thing we in the construction collaboration community have been doing for the last 15 years with electronic file management – except with BIM model files. This has a clear value of course – but is by no means disruptive in 2011.
There are other players out there in this same disruptive space – in America there is Horizontal Systems with their Glue platform who have achieved mindshare with several US General Contractors that I’ve visited. They have started up straight into this space as opposed to developing from a “traditional” SaaS collaboration vendor position. There is also Tekla who have made a lot of noise with their BIMSight offering during 2011 – and the Norwegian company Jotne EPM Technology whose on-premise EDMServer system has been in development for at least ten years.
Whilst the Asite platform is not open source – it is open data, by which I mean that we allow our users full freedom to bring data into the platform and export data out of the platform in open-standards-based data formats on-demand. In 2008 and again in 2009 we organised the virtual design competitions Build London Live which showed how upwards of 85 different software packages could successfully exchange model-related data using open standards (and across globally distributed teams)!
There are a number of examples of industries where a strong open-source offering (for those who want to run their own server and tinker) sits alongside a commercial SaaS offering (for those who just want to work with their data and leave the systems management, infrastructure, support, compliance and accreditation to others) – and the two coexist quite happily with plenty of demand for both. The disruptiveness of the open-source model itself is – I think – a disruption that has already done its disrupting in the enterprise software world.
I was asked to speak at the ICT 4 Construction "Document & Knowledge Management Technology" Conference in London a couple of weeks ago. These conferences are an interesting opportunity to meet prospective clients, meet users of other systems and catch up with our competitors. Unfortunately, and much to most of the speaker's dismay, in this instance the first two groups were a bit thin on the ground! That being said the day was a useful opportunity to spark some debate amongst the AEC Collaboration providers on the future of the industry, and there was certainly a lively Q&A session after my talk. The initial feedback from those that I spoke to were (generally) in agreement with my sentiments - as well as glad that they didn't have to sit through another sales pitch!
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