Welcome to AECWeekly! Happy New Year! This issue will feature some of the top topics, announcements and trends AECWeekly touched upon over the past year.
AECWeekly is a news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.
AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Top News of the Week, Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances, Announcements, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Top Ten AEC Topics and Trends of 2007
by Susan Smith
The following AEC topics, trends and announcements made our 2007 Top Ten list, many of them chosen by our readers.
1) The growth of building information modeling (BIM). As a result of that growth, other trends are emerging (according to Autodesk): a) the growth of analysis, b) contractors driving model-based processes, c) MEP users driving BIM adoption, d) the proliferation of third party BIM products.
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Autodesk customers are now building a lot more models, and analysis is becoming a very important component. Autodesk’s purchase of Robobat speaks to this trend, and you’ll hear more discussion of Inventor, Autodesk’s 3D mechanical modeling software, being pushed as an important tool for engineers and contractors.
Phil Bernstein, vice president Industry Strategy and Relations, for AEC Solutions, attests to the fact that contractors are using Revit more. “If they don’t get it from designers, they model it themselves or outsource,” Bernstein explained. “We bought NavisWorks and the most enthusiastic endorsers are contractors. They are looking at fundamental problems. They want to conceptualize in 3D so they can see what 2D drawings mean, making stuff not bump into other things and qualify. Contractors are driving model based processes. They won’t do projects unless they model them first. Counting things and measuring things is a key business problem for people who construct buildings.”
Beau Turner, solutions consulting manager of Building Solutions for Avatech Solutions, an Autodesk reseller and solutions provider, said that the Revit platform with the MEP tool on top of it, has grown the services side of their business to 75% of their total business.
Third party BIM products are also on the rise. Turner noted that “the complete solution isn’t just the one product right now.” Many third party products such as Green Building Studio allow them to take intelligent building models and get downside returns, to see how well a building will perform. In other countries, automated code checking, brought about by third parties, is required, and now in the U.S. GSA projects are requiring it.”
In October, 640 users responded to a blind survey of BIM users conducted by Dr. Lachmi Khemlani working with Bentley Systems as an independent expert. The results of the survey showed that 58 percent of respondents preferred the approach and features of Bentley BIM solutions while 38 percent of all respondents prefer AutoCAD Revit and of the remainder, “strongly preferred” responses, 69 percent chose Bentley BIM solutions and 31 percent chose Revit. The same survey has been placed online so that other BIM users can take the survey themselves and compare their thoughts to what others have concluded.
Of the 640 respondents, Autodesk respondents were 67% and Bentley were 15%.
2) Deltek Announced Pricing of IPO
“it was a point in time for us to do this. Because of the growth in the company, this will help us look at future acquisitions. We've done five acquisitions in the past two years, so this enables to continue doing that, as well as paying down some debt.
It helps our investment firm, New Mountain Capital, recoup their investment in the company. The product lines will remain the same, it's business as usual.
The prospectus indicates we will use all $42.6M in net proceeds to pay down debt. The vast majority of the debt was incurred during the recapitalization transaction in April of 2005 when New Mountain Capital purchased about 75% of Deltek.
For the metro DC area, it's one of the biggest software IPOs that has happened in recent times, as a result of our growth and our success over the years. We're very specialized in our market and no one does what we do.”
3) Meridian Offers Role Based Interfaces
Customers have come to Meridian Systems with three top needs:
1. They need to differentiate themselves from their peers. Technology has become a need-to-have rather than a luxury item. Prolog continues to be successful in small to medium sized companies.
Proliance is targeted to the enterprise market. Their priorities are improving their project cost control. Best practices have been implemented and many companies are standardizing on one technology so the entire organization can apply their business processes.
2. Improving visibility across their business using business analytics and business intelligence functionality. With project data in a centralized data, the company is in a position to look at performance across a whole company.
3. Customers are interested in how they will be successful with their implementation. The Starter Pack that Meridian released this summer is a series of technical components bundled together to help accelerate implementations for customers. Sue Watkins, director of marketing for Meridian said the Starter Pack was created in response to helping the construction project management business get a head start, using their experience in that field.
A new technology trend Meridian sees is called composite or role based applications, a development strategy being endorsed by Microsoft, designed to help customers be more successful with their implementations. “Getting your end users to adopt is part of that success,” said Watkins. “The composite application strategy enables companies like Meridian to roll out role based interfaces for different types of users.”
4) Newforma Project Center Fourth Edition Released
The commercial availability of Newforma Project Center Fourth Edition, a project information management software for the AEC market, was announced.
The product is used for mechanical design firms, civil design firms as well as design build and A/E firms.