Example of the Autodesk BIM 360 Glube mobile app, image from designreform.
2012 brought several new mobile apps to the AEC marketplace (Gehry Technologies’ GTeam, Autodesk 360 Mobile/ BIM 360 Glue/Constructware Field, and Newforma Punch List) as well as further development of many existing mobile apps, adding new features and improving user experience. The availability of tablet devices and cloud computing has driven this application boom, enabling AEC professionals to operate, perform and get access to their information from the construction job site.
Early on we saw mobile devices being used for taking notes during meetings, quick emails; basically just as another larger PDA type device. Now we’re seeing the architects and design teams marking up the document sets with revision cloud notes or viewing building models on the tablets, performing virtual walkthroughs.
More and more the architects are working remotely and need access to their data while in the field. They’re not carrying roles of drawings around as they did in the past, they’re carrying a tablet. They’re not just viewing information but interacting with that information or feeding redlines and comments back into the drawings, collaborating with the information.
We’ve also seen some acquisitions like Autodesk acquiring Vela Systems, now branded as BIM 360 Field, for creating and updating issues from the job site with camera enabled devices. Cloud based applications like Autodesk 360 Mobile allows AEC workers to carry drawing files and building models into the field for review on-site, synchronizing files from your Autodesk 360 cloud space it and allows workers to share information easily. Autodesk BIM 360 Glue expands on viewing and sharing of BIM models, allowing walkthroughs, linking of multi-discipline models and works with models of across different file formats. Autodesk and others companies continue to make investments into these mobile-cloud applications demonstrating their belief in the technology.
Architects are finding their information quicker, responding to requests for information faster through the assistance of the mobile cloud-enabled technologies. I’m excited to see what 2013 brings for future development in the cloud mobile applications and the tablets devices that access the building information.