In my previous post, BIM 360 Glue On The Go, I mentioned that I assumed product management responsibilities for the BIM 360 Glue mobile app around 10 months ago - that takes us back to Autodesk University 2011. Whilst there I was able to share with a group of construction customers (under a non-disclosure agreement, of course) an early research prototype created by our development team. That prototype was looking to see whether the core Navisworks technology could be leveraged on iOS, and we found that we were able to handle BIM models at least 10-times larger than we had seen before on a mobile device. "This looks promising", said some of those customers. "When can we have it?" asked many others in the room.
Initially we hoped it would be much sooner than 10 months, however in that same week another twist of fate took place - Autodesk acquired Horizontal Systems (with their solution Horizontal Glue being rebranded as Autodesk BIM 360 Glue earlier this year).
If ever there were two technology stacks and engineering teams that were meant to be together, this is them - Navisworks has been well established in the AEC space for over a decade, and fundamentally addresses a key problem of being able to bring together the (often large) design data of BIM projects for coordination on PC's. BIM 360 Glue addresses a similar need, however starting out with a foundation of collaboration, which greatly simplifies the process of gathering models from your design partners, and delivering instant access and simultaneous review capabilities - I'm thrilled that our teams have united over the past 10 months - and what I hope you see in the BIM 360 Glue mobile app is the evolution of Navisworks technology (which maximizes the limited memory and computing power available on mobile devices), unified with the collaborative power of Glue (which makes it easier to access your models and stay current) - if only the branding team would let me get away with calling it SuperGlue... J
If you're still asking what the cloud can do for you, well I think one of the best things the cloud offers is, facilitating a connected experience – connecting people to their data; and connecting people to people, thereby improving collaboration. The first release of the BIM 360 Glue app provides a means of connecting the mobile user to their latest-version models in Glue, which may be individual design models from Revit, etc. or merged models aggregated within Glue, or models aggregated in Navisworks and uploaded to Glue. From a collaboration perspective, if you're using the BIM 360 Glue web client, then as part of your review process you can send notifications to other users of let's say, a specific area of interest in the model. Upon receiving this notification, it will include a unique URL, and if you follow this link from your iPad mail client it will take you directly to the mobile app, automatically open the relevant model and take you to the exact area of interest. "One-click to BIM" (or technically with a touch interface, one-tap to BIM, but that doesn't sound so snappy).
This is what should be the start of many collaborative workflows we'll deliver across Autodesk and the BIM 360 solution. These will not only better link the design teams into pre-construction workflows, but also extends into the construction phase through BIM 360 Field, for Field Management, Commissioning and Handover (delivered through another recent acquisition of Vela Systems). It's clear that mobile capabilities will be an important means of project participants capturing data anytime and anywhere, and making that available to the rest of the team. This will help to reduce a lot of the wasted time (and resource) seen in construction today, through delays in getting information to the right people, and getting the right people together (when often not co-located) so that they can make informed decisions.