How to Beat the Competition to Market for Your BIM Software

Wed Apr 24, 2019


(Source: Pixabay)

The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries are increasingly relying on building information modeling (BIM).

BIM adoption in AEC is being driven by a combination of government regulations, industry-set best practices, and a realization that BIM supports and streamlines collaboration.

Without a doubt, BIM adoption in AEC is a significant -- and still expanding -- opportunity for independent software vendors (ISV). However, it’s important not to underestimate the reality either: AEC needs are complex, and without help, ISVs will have trouble entering the space.

What do AEC Users Want in BIM Software?

In terms of BIM, the needs of AEC users cut across two major areas:

File Interoperability

First, a major driving force behind BIM is the AEC space’s need to strengthen collaboration between different project stakeholders.

In a single construction project, you have suppliers, architects, civil engineers, MEP engineers, and inspectors, to name a few. To complete the construction project on time and within budget, the collaboration between these different stakeholders is essential.

However, though they may each be using BIM, because of different workflows and capabilities, they might have different BIM suites. As a result, they still have a gap between them, despite the fact that they are all using BIM.

It’s unrealistic to expect every AEC company to invest in every major BIM suite, they might have one or two already, but having all of them is generally infeasible. Thus, BIM file interoperability is key, i.e., the ability for one BIM suite (e.g., Revit) to read files from another (e.g., DGN).

More on BIM:

3D Visualization


Source: Klein Felder

The second capability is 3D visualization.

With 3D visualization, AEC users can not only see the design in 3D, but they can use the model to analyze various parts of the building.

For example, HVAC engineers can examine the building model for clash detection (e.g., to see if the ductwork does not interfere with the plumbing).

Other analytical tools include simulation and fluid dynamics, thus enabling building designers to examine energy efficiency, ventilation, and a range of other areas before construction work.

However, to build these capabilities you need to integrate 3D modeling kernels such as CGM Core Modeler and 3D ACIS Modeler.

Why is Time to Market Important in AEC?

The most obvious answer to this question is the need to release your applications before your competitors. However, there are other aspects of maintaining a short time to market as well.

First, let’s say you do have an application out in the market. However, what happens when its data libraries need to be updated? Or when a new feature enters the conversation?

Unless you are equipped to update your application and add new capabilities in a relatively short or compressed time period, you will fall behind your competitors. Time to market is more than just releasing the product, but releasing new features and builds as well.

Second, it’s a question of resources as well. If you are dedicating programmers and time to fixing the underlying components (e.g., 3D modeler data libraries), you are not freeing your resources for improving user experience and other differentiating factors.

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How to Improve Time to Market

Developing Alone is a Bad Idea

ISVs should avoid turnkey BIM application development.

Not only does it put you at risk of falling behind your competitors in terms of time to market, but since BIM development has a steep learning curve, you could also be at risk of technical issues as well. You may end up passing these issues onto your end-users, which could damage your application’s reputation in the market.

However, by partnering with an outside software vendor with proven expertise in developing key BIM components, such as 3D visualization and 3D modelers, you could bypass those problems.

In fact, even as new features and capabilities enter the market, your software partner will take lead in developing those capabilities. This enables you to update your applications faster than the competition and beat them to the market with new features.

Getting the Right Software Partner is Key

You need a software partner that not only enables you to provide the capabilities AEC users are looking for, but help you maintain a short time to market.

This means that the partner covers your component needs through software development kits (SDK) and support for every major 3D modeling kernel.

Not every software partner will be able to offer all of those capabilities. In this case, you could end up with multiple partners and, in turn, juggle between different technologies, and technical challenges. You should aim to have one software partner.

Finally, many in the AEC industry use Dassault Systèmes’ technologies, and as such, there’s an incentive (e.g., to simplify training) to maintain tight integration across all of their software. Thus, your end-users may prefer software from ISVs that can work with Dassault Systèmes’ programs.

Spatial’s InterOp 3D, BIM InterOp, 3D Visualization, and 3D Modeler technologies are available to ISVs as SDKs. You can integrate Spatial’s SDKs to accelerate your time-to-market and lower development costs all the while delivering fully-fledged BIM suites. Start today.

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