Autodesk 360: Get your head in the clouds


Several Tocci employees touring the Autodesk facilities

The other day Tocci sent a delegation from its VDC department to a BRUG meeting held at Autodesk AEC headquarters.

There, Autodesk demonstrated some new software to enable mobile workflows and field implementation. Our team has these thoughts:

Under the umbrella of BIM 360, Autodesk has released a series of tools to help solve a number of needs in delivering information within the AEC industry. The pricing model is based on a subscription, where a free login gives you access to basic services and additional services/space in the cloud.

For Designers

A 2 arm approach is used: cloud power, and cloud storage. This allows the design team to have more rigorous investigations of designs. The services are split as follows:

  • Visualization – Using a cloud-based render farm to produce renderings without taking up desktop processing power.

Jeremy Garczynski had this initial reaction, “While I love the idea of a cloud-based render farm, and think it will help level the playing field, I was surprised that one isn’t able to see drafts of renderings before paying for the image.”

  • Simulation – This is geared more toward engineering teams with tools for structural, HVAC, energy, and heat-loss analysis and reporting.

HVAC analysis contains a cool feature for airflow especially helpful in the healthcare industry. The energy analysis tool seems rather rudimentary though.

For Contractors

The product called Glue is a model-checking tool that is very similar to Navisworks. It includes a variety of features centered on clash detection and coordination. One upload part or all of a model by selecting the geometry by clicking Glue It! which sends it and all parameters to the cloud. Comments and redlines of an issue can be saved to views that are similar to markups within Bentley Navigator and sent to users via an html link. The pricing is $150pp/mo.

The clashing tool is pretty robust, some features on that window are:

  • Matrix – These groups elements by clashes associated with it, putting your most problematic areas at the top of your report.
  • Report –  this has the ability to notify users via a link or in Revit via “glue pinpoint”
  • The mobile app has a viewer and dimension tool.

Ashwin Ramesh believes that Glue accomplishes a similar result to collaborative model workflows (colo). He also found key plan navigation within the mobile app helpful.

Val Tzvetkov found it had an interesting workflow to manage construction projects through a free version would be a good sharing solution for team members not immersed in BIM yet.

For Field Staff

Field 360 is what spawned from the Vela acquisition. It is mobile-geared, more management-based, and less BIMey. It has project-based and enterprise-based pricing. The menu includes:

  • Issues – creates a list of issues, links to drawings
  • Checklists – you can list by trade, per task, or by the team and attach images
  • Equipment – commissioning parameters, this is most like Vela
  • Tasks – manage individual issues, link to drawings
  • Library – where models/drawings are held, you can synch parts of models to take tasks offline (think your Spotify playlist).
  • Models – where one can edit and enter data (such as install date, and status). This can be sent back to the model via 360 field.

All of these features used together can really provide clarity to the field staff and subsequently owners on the status of their building and what’s inside it after construction. With the right workflow and front-end work, this application could be used for a good field QAQC and FM validation program.

Ashwin Ramesh thinks the model navigation assist in the field visualization of the final product.

Ultimately the market will determine which of these new tools are embraced by the industry but their release shows how BIM has become engrained into the entire AECO lifecycle.