No, not that kind of cloud!
BIM and cloud computing have traditionally not been very close friends. What is interesting, is that there are companies out there innovating. There are model servers, data exchange formats, cumbersome and expensive hardware solutions that don’t really address all the issues.
Graphisoft has done what no other BIM software vendor has been able to do: reduce the time and space gap to project collaboration. But, what does it all mean? ArchiCAD 13 Makes Ground-Breaking Leap in BIM File Sharing | Cadalyst.
Does this mean that the competition is moving ahead. Maybe, but technology leaps come in shifts, not incremental change, and the development of the BIM sharing in ArchiCAD 13 is simply a redo of a tool they already had. If you managed to click through and watch the video on Teamwork, it is less impressive than the article makes it out to be. Revit can add color to worksets as well with filtering, and while doesn’t have chat, there are already many standalone technologies for this. All of this seems really distracting to getting work done. There has to be better ways to manage a project and improve communication. It may not be the right path.
Is that a pie in the sky, or SAAS?
One possible alternate future in Autodesk Labs may be just what we all need: Project Twitch. Sure this is being touted as a way to try before you buy AutoCAD, Inventor, Maya and Revit without the ability (yet) to save and print. There is a real potential for this to become something beyond play. This is true Software as a Service (SAAS), which seems to hold the possibility of reducing many obstacles to adoption. What obstacles? Well, collaboration, as in the solution above, would be a hurdle not requiring a lot of hardware or convoluted rights management to access parts of the building, it would just work. It would remove the barriers of geographically dispersed teams, and allow better and more reactive collaboration the way Revit currently works.
SAAS when done well, can help reduce hardware and operating system upkeep and could potentially become much less of a burden on IT departments and cost-concious design firms who could use a bit of a break after the last 18 months. This would open up your favorite design tools, like Revit to any platform you wish to use such as; Windows, Mac OSx, Linux, PS3, or whatever… OK maybe not a Commodore 64, but most anything.
Again, this is just a possibility. Two things need to happen; there needs to be an increase in trust from the industry that hosted data and applications are secure and highly available, and secondly there needs to be an improvement in performance. While just a technology preview, Project Twitch is not yet ready for replacing a locally installed application that works even when the power goes out. Someday… just maybe it will. OK, stop daydreaming and get back to work.