How Do You Define SUCCESS?

Success is a relative term.  Broadly speaking, it means that a goal has been achieved or a milestone has been met. But, when you get down to the details – the definition is really specific to the individual, or in UNIFI’s case, unique to the goals and workflows of the organizations & end users of our content management software and creation services.  Architects design structures, manufacturers build products – but how each individual approaches their craft is unique.  The same applies to how our varied group of customers define success by using UNIFI.

Sure, a few common themes emerge across many of our customer success stories – including a single source of content that can be accessed from anywhere, streamlined workflow of searching and inserting content into Revit models, scalable & secure content administration, & high quality BIM content built to end user needs.  But, when you work with firms as diverse as Stantec, SSOE, KTGY, Interior Architects, Legrand, Harvey’s Plumbing – you really get a sense of how success is defined by each firm, its BIM leaders and all of its users.  For example:

  • Stantec made content security and access its #1 priority.
  • Harvey’s Plumbing, a small contracting firm with a huge content library, needed a speedy & scalable solution with anywhere access.
  • Interior Architects relied on UNIFI’s content on demand services to meet its clients’ demands.
  • KTGY wanted to have a single source of content to present a unified face across all of its offices.
  • SSOE applied its value-based culture on getting the biggest bank for its click.
  • Legrand wanted to “WOW” its customers with its manufacturer content.

One of our favorite moments of working with customers is sitting down with them after their initial rollout of UNIFI is complete, or after they’ve completed a content project and walking through the challenges each firm faced and then overcame to ultimately achieve success in their own unique way.  As you think about your own content management challenges, we encourage you to read through these case studies in our Success Story area – we bet you’ll see a bit of your own firm in them, as well as some differences.  We look forward to starting a conversation about your content needs and how UNIFI can help you achieve the same levels of success – on your terms.  

Release Notes

V2.1 Release Notes

A post-script – at the front of this release note…2.1 is now generally available as of 1/6/2017.

We are excited to announce the availability of new features in UNIFI through our 2.1 release!  The new release is being rolled out in phases, with customers who deploy manually receiving it first.  Within the next week or two, we’ll then deploy 2.1 to all users who have used the ‘Per User’ installer.

New Features/Enhancements:

  • Schedules – UNIFI now supports Quantity and Key schedules.  This capability compliments an existing support for system family types, drafting views, and of course families.  All of these are stored as individual elements – allowing rapid retrieval of specific things you need without having to open and wade through old Revit projects.  UNIFI also offers a preview of the schedule itself without having to use Revit!  Go here for more info
  • New Sort Types – Date Created and Date Modified have been added to the UNIFI Filter Menu and in the online Batch Tag Manager
  • Cloud Parsing Status – The details page for any element will now display a variety of ‘cloud parsing status’ messages – Instead of a generic ‘Pending’ label, you will now see where the file is at in the process, particularly if the file has stalled due to an issue with the file itself.
  • Fulfill Content Requests with Project Content – You can now fulfill content requests with Revit project elements (schedules, groups, etc.). This is done by having the request open in UNIFI, then using the Export option from the Revit Add-in.

*We fixed 11 minor bugs.  Other underlining improvements were made to improve performance and accuracy of your searches.

Known Issues:

  • US-780, US-794, US-767, US-599 – Several other add-ins have known issues when installed together with UNIFI.   These add ins include: Dyno, Enscape, Archicad Add-In.  We are attempting to work with the developers of these tools to correct areas of add-in conflict.
  • US-662 – One user has reported that a type catalog is appearing empty, despite it working properly without UNIFI
  • US-962 – We are investigating an issue where a user was unable to insert Curtain Wall Types whose panels utilize nested families.
  • US-566 – A user has reported that when returning to a search result, some of the entered search terms are not present any longer, particularly when using explicit tags and other terms.

We continue to work hard on yet more features that will add further value to your company!  Take a peek at our announcement of upcoming availability of Manufacturer content – directly within UNIFI.  Whether these libraries appear to your users, will of course depend on how you configure user permissions! Click here for more info!

Making the Design Process Collaborative!

By Boaz Moar, UNIFI Customer Success

A little over a week ago, Autodesk University was held at The Venetian in Las Vegas and thousands of people gathered to listen to Autodesk executive management provide their perspectives on the forces shaping the world of design and design technology and how Autodesk plans to address them.

One statement that caught my attention was made during the keynote address by Carl Bass, Autodesk CEO (@carlbass).  He stated that Autodesk is making a radical shift in their mindset about design software: “We are changing from building tools for people to building tools for teams,” he says.

That’s quite a tectonic shift for Autodesk! Autodesk is now moving from desktop to cloud-based solutions to address the needs of both individuals and teams.  Unleashing the power of the cloud to foster collaboration holds huge potential for improved productivity and enhanced quality.

This is exactly what UNIFI Labs set out to do from day one when we released our cloud-based Content Management Solution. Cloud-based content management is the cornerstone to enable effective collaboration among people and teams.

Quality content is very hard to generate and even harder to maintain. In the past, these challenges forced designers to only trust their internally generated content and save it carefully (i.e., tuck it away in file folders) on hard drives or servers. This process allowed individual designers to “secure” the quality of the content on a single machine, which created ever increasing barriers to sharing content among teams, offices and across the building lifecycle.

We’ve seen firsthand that freeing content from the shackles of file folder opens up a wealth of opportunities.  First, the cloud enables a company to set and enforce content quality standards without slowing down individual designer’s work. Second, teams can now share content with one another without fearing of losing control over its quality.  And, they are able to access the content whether they be in the office, or the field, from anywhere.

Lastly, the cloud provides users with the freedom and security to share content beyond the boundaries of their own company. Many of our customers utilize library sharing capabilities to share content with partners when the project spans designers from multiple firms as well as with their partners across the building lifecycle. This level of inter-company collaboration is very exciting and holds huge potential for benefits to the industry as a whole!

Pushing the envelope further, UNIFI announced at AU that customers will soon be able to subscribe to manufacturer libraries that have been vetted by a robust quality control system.  This offering, combined with existing features of the UNIFI platform – structured content request form and workflow, content ratings, and sophisticated usage analytics – fosters unprecedented collaboration between designers and manufacturers.

You can read more about this exciting initiative here: http://unifilabs.com/news/unifi-manufacturer-content-portal-ensures-access-quality-bim-content/

We are excited that Autodesk is embracing the power of the cloud just as we have been doing to accelerate BIM advancement and enhance collaboration across the building lifecycle.

UNIFI Accelerates BIM Advancement To Drive Business Benefit

UNIFI Strategy Library Audit Increases Value of BIM Content

While there is no panacea for building industry BIM content and libraries, UNIFI continues to lead the evolution by building out the tools and analytics that enable AECs to optimize their BIM investment.  The release of UNIFI’s new Strategic Library Audit accompanied by a robust set of usage analytics is the next step in the BIM maturity journey.  The Audit reviews your current BIM content standards & library strategy to provide a strategic roadmap for improving the overall quality & productivity of your content library.  The analytics provide unique insights into what content is used, how often, by user and by project.

AEC firms have made substantial investments in BIM and the industry still struggles with BIM process challenges and strategies for extensive, quality-controlled content libraries.  The cost of “bad” BIM content adds up quickly – whether it’s difficult to find, near impossible to place; does not document or schedule, fails to coordinate correctly or even causes project models to crash – bad content impairs project productivity and adversely impacts the bottom line.  UNIFI’s Audit accelerates BIM advancement by assessing the current state of your BIM content, identifying potential problem areas, and providing an actionable plan for improvement.  Advanced BIM organizations enjoy a wide range of benefits through consistent documentation and standards, including enhanced project efficiency and streamlined coordination with partners, and project risk mitigation.  By leveraging the power of UNIFI’s cloud, AECs gain an essential understanding of their BIM content’s quality level and are also able to access that information on-demand as libraries evolve.  AEC’s are driving their business forward by converting quality content into Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality renderings for clients, thus transforming themselves into data providers so owners & operators can better construct and manage their buildings,

“UNIFI is committed to providing our customers with tools and resources to ensure that their investments in BIM are fully realized” says Ben Fox, CTO of UNIFI Create. “Ensuring that BIM content libraries are consistent and aligned with firm-based standards not only increases the productivity of a firm, but of the industry as a whole.”

National BIM Manager for Jasmax, Melanie Tristram says “Having access to a service that interrogates significant volumes of content and generates reports identifying areas for improvement is a highly valuable prospect”.

Take the next step in the BIM evolution in partnership with the proven expertise and leadership of UNIFI. To assist AECs in optimizing for BIM maturity, UNIFI is offering a free one hour consultation to assess the quality of your BIM content library. And, as an additional incentive, any content services identified during that Audit will be given a 30% discount if you engage with our content creation team before November 30, 2016.  Contact us at info@unifilabs.com or call us at 702.527.6460.

About UNIFI

UNIFI is the essential cloud platform to create and manage Revit and digital building content. The UNIFI content creation team utilizes a unique blend of industry knowledge and proven expertise to create the highest quality BIM assets along with maximizing the investments in existing assets.  The UNIFI content management platform ensures data consistency and anywhere access to BIM content –across teams and global offices. Learn why leading architectural, engineering, construction and manufacturing organizations trust UNIFI as the complete solution for their building content management needs at www.unifilabs.com or contact us at 702.527.6460.

 

 

UNIFI Connect Ensures Access to Quality BIM Content

UNIFI Connect Bridges the Gap to Bring AECs and BPMs Closer Together

UNIFI, the world’s foremost cloud-based platform for creating and managing BIM content, has partnered with leading global Building Product Manufacturers (BPMs) to establish the building industry’s premier publicly available, quality controlled BPM content library – UNIFI Connect. Leveraging UNIFI’s industry-leading search and expert content creation capabilities, all content hosted on UNIFI Connect meets our stringent, industry-leading content quality benchmarks.  Users enjoy seamless integration of content into Autodesk Revit project models via the UNIFI content management platform.

Up to this point, the prevalence of public content libraries hosting content of varying standards and minimal quality control has presented AEC BIM leaders with a serious challenge in ensuring only high quality content reaches their firm-based content libraries, and in turn, project models. This lack of quality BPM content has inhibited BIM maturity for AECs of all sizes, slowing their project delivery timeline and driving additional costs to their clients.

UNIFI Connect eliminates uncertainty surrounding external content by establishing a trusted source for BPM content, ensuring all content hosted meets UNIFI’s stringent quality standards by passing it through our proprietary content auditing tools. AECs gain access to high quality BPM content is easily accessible and inserted into models through UNIFI’s content management platform. BIM leaders can now be assured the BPM content their designers are inserting into projects is high quality and easy to find, as well as receiving analytics on which products are being used across projects. Additionally, enabled by their industry leading content management system, UNIFI Connect provides AECs with the ability to make BPM libraries private to their designers, so that the BPM content is searchable within their firm-specific naming conventions.

“UNIFI Connect is the missing link between building product manufacturers and AECs, ensuring that high quality BIM content is readily accessible and is safe to be utilized in models, ” says Mark Eslinger, CTO of UNIFI.  “This is a big step in advancing UNIFI’s solutions that bring the building industry together and further the advancement of BIM.”

Drawing on their experience creating content for both AECs and BPMs, UNIFI’s Content Creation team has populated UNIFI Connect with the highest quality and most in-demand manufacturer product categories, based on feedback from BIM specialists at leading AEC firms. As UNIFI continues to grow the selection of BPM content available through its new portal, manufacturers who are interested in making their products directly available to many of the world’s largest and most prominent AECs can contact UNIFI’s Content Creation experts about creating BIM content for their product lines or having their existing BIM content certified at info@unifilabs.com or call us at 702.527.6460.

About UNIFI

UNIFI is the essential cloud platform to create and manage Revit and digital building content. The UNIFI content creation team utilizes a unique blend of industry knowledge and proven expertise to create the highest quality BIM assets along with maximizing the investments in existing assets.  The UNIFI content management platform ensures data consistency and anywhere access to BIM content – across teams and global offices. Learn why leading architectural, engineering, construction and manufacturing organizations trust UNIFI as the complete solution for their building content management needs at www.unifilabs.com or contact us at 702.527.6460.

Seamlessly Create, Find & Share Schedules in the Cloud with UNIFI

How much time have you spent trying to recreate or build schedules?  What about trying to find or share a schedule?  With UNIFI’s newly released support of Revit Quantity Schedules, you can easily set up or retrieve a schedule in seconds and you don’t even need to open Revit to view it. Learn how this time saving, headache-free solution that will enable you to focus on what you do best designing and building structures. And, attend our webinar on October 26 at 10amPT to see Schedules in action.

The Value of Schedule Support Inside UNIFI

Schedules are data-centric views of a BIM model and are critical to a firm’s documentation workflow.  The manner in which firms create and deploy schedules is similar to how content is managed, since schedules are the tool for the reporting of quantities and attributes of content.

UNIFI built our Schedules feature based upon input from our user community and we focused on what mattered most to our users – ease of use, efficiency and business value:

  • Hassle-free set up – While other folks still debate how to best organize, maintain and distribute schedules inside of Revit project files (optimal balance of quantity, organization, etc.), UNIFI allows you to free your schedules from these painful workflows! Set up is extremely easy and matches the familiar upload process, versioning and revision process used for other elements, saving considerable time.
  • Easy access – Individual schedules are immediately indexed and accessible through our powerful search system without any extra effort to manually meta-tag or parse data out. Our analytics show us that 80% of inserts made by customers were displayed in the top 10 search results.
  • Fast – Don’t bother anymore with the time consuming task of opening a container Revit project file every time you have to access a schedule! With UNIFI, schedules are stored as small, individual, versionable elements – fast to preview and fast to add to your project.
  • Instant Previews – In UNIFI, you can immediately preview the schedule.  Our platform does the heavy lifting for you by analyzing the schedule structure, then rendering the schedule header for you.  You can even cycle through previews for each base file.

Customers will now enjoy storing all of their schedules in the cloud, ensuring they have access to them anywhere, anytime, on any machine.  One customer we recently spoke with has over 400 schedules already planned to utilize this new feature and give their users access.

Schedules support is a great addition to UNIFI’s already supported Revit element types of Families, System Families, Drafting Views and Groups.

How Does this Feature Work

Uploading: 

Schedules can be added to UNIFI by opening a project and then opening the ‘Batch Export’ dialog. Schedules will appear there as a parent type and expanding this will reveal all of the available schedules.  Choose the schedules you want to store in UNIFI and click “Export”.  This will queue them up in UNIFI for upload – just like any other element, you can choose your tags and libraries before uploading and following upload they follow the same approval process that you’re familiar with already.

Accessing:  

In Browse mode, schedules will appear as their own folder after choosing a library.  Schedules will also appear in your search results if your search term matches against tags, the category of the schedule and of course, the name.  You may also apply a filter for ‘Schedules’.  Inserting schedules works like other elements; simply click ‘Insert’ to load into your project.  To assist you in making a selection, a view of the column headers is even conveniently located on the Details page.

Managing:  

Schedules are managed like every other element type.  Tagging, renaming, library management, custom preview images, revisions, etc. are all handled the same way.

UNIFI’s new Schedules capabilities provide even greater value to leading architectural, engineering, construction firms who use UNIFI to create and manage their building content.

Stay tuned for additional value added features in upcoming announcements.

And, be sure to attend the webinar on October 26th to see Schedules in action.

V2.0.4 Release Notes

It’s release time again at UNIFI!  We are excited to showcase the newest features to the platform that make it even easier to manage your BIM content!  Please take a minute to review what’s new in UNIFI 2.0.4 below.  But first, we’ll take this opportunity to mention a few other important updates:

Webinar: Gain Control Over Your BIM Content

Please join us Wednesday, September 7th at 10amPT / 1pmET) to hear from directly from the UNIFI team how these new features in Version 2.0.4 allow greater control of your growing BIM content library.  *Spoiler alert: we will also be unveiling some of our recent work in the Web Portal! Register for the webinar HERE – an on-demand recording will be available for those unable to attend the live webinar, but you need to register.

Twitter Support Handle:

UNIFI now has a support Twitter handle @UNIFIsupport.  We will use this account to post links to webinars, helpful tips and tricks, announce service maintenance and respond to product or support questions.  We invite you to follow us there as well as our main @UNIFILabs account for service updates and announcements.

Ideas Portal:

We want to thank all of you who geek out with us on the Idea Portal!  We love the feedback and are listening to every vote, comment and idea.  We evaluate every bit of it in our decision making process.  The 2.0.4 release feature additions fulfills 7 submitted ideas and 73 total votes!

New Features/Enhancements:

  • *Support for Revit 2017 files.  Don’t worry, we already upgraded all your content for you so you don’t have to wait for content upgrades when you insert files! Our Cloud generated over a million upgrades in less than 3 days!
  • *Added the ability to rename elements. Here’s a snapshot:
Feature-Rename1   Feature-Rename2
  • *[UC-86, UC-172] 2.0.4 now shows the full filenames as element titles, rather than scrubbed text (2.0.3 showed titles without special characters). Also, search results and File Details pages now indicate Revit ‘Family’ as a separate field where it was previously included in element titles. Other field names have been renamed to be more consistent throughout the UI.
  • *[UC-207] The search results and File Details pages now include the following fields: Family, Rating, Last Modified, Date Modified.
  • *[UC-163] The User Management page now includes columns for ‘Company Administrator’ and ‘Date Created’. The Library Management page now includes a ‘Date Created’ column.
  • *[UC-74] Library reports now include more fields and are consistently named with other fields.
  • *[UC-58] Email addresses throughout UNIFI appear as clickable links.
  • [UC-165] UNIFI updates now occur more seamlessly. The new .MSI updater completely removes old versions and reports the current version in the Add/Remove Programs dialog.

*Indicates idea submitted via Ideas Portal.

Bugs Fixed:

  • •[ULA-54] Some user accounts assigned to a new identity provider were not remaining assigned to that identity provider.
  • [ULA-50] The ‘Is Default Provider’ setting for OneLogin was not setting new users to use OneLogin by default.
  • [US-413] Elements that were a part of a batch upload, when approved individually, were being separated from the original batch and still ‘Pending’.
  • [US-289] While fulfilling a content request, applying a custom preview image caused a library communication error.
  • [UC-243] Content Request Due Dates were not being properly converted to UTC causing the dates to not show properly for some users.
  • [UC-456] Toggling ‘Favorites Only’ from within a Saved Search results page, causes ‘Favorites Only’ to be toggled when navigating to the search page.
  • [US-392] Inserting a system family type with a long name caused a crash of the UNIFI client.
  • [US-473] Clicking on the ‘Run Diagnostics’ option from support menu returned an error’.
  • [US-108] The Administrative Help Document was not accessible from the support menu.
  • [US-301] The Status column in the notifications page wasn’t accurately showing the filtered status in some cases.
  • [US-344] Some URL parameters were not being shown as clickable links on the file details page.
  • [US-302] ‘Completed’ content requests still allowed different libraries to be selected after marked as completed.
  • [UC-247] Improvements were made to the overwrite prompts when inserting elements.
  • [US-271] We fixed a couple issues associated with inserting families that utilize Type Catalogs.
  • [US-328] Clicking ‘Send Activation Email’ when creating a new user failed to actually send an email.
  • [UC-30, UC-38] Two or more users logged into the same machine can now simultaneously have UNIFI open.

Remaining Known Issues:

  • [US-585] Some files continue to show as ‘Pending’ on the file details page, despite already having been parsed.
  • [US-566] Search criteria from the search page is not remembered in some cases when entering the file details page and returning to the search results.
  • [US-557] Elements that have pending revisions are displaying the uploaded date of the pending file instead of the last approved revision.
Create Screen

Library Best Practices Webinar Recording

With your organization’s ever-expanding BIM content, it is critical to find the right library strategy to effectively organize your firm’s content to support efficiency and usability. Listen to this webinar which was recorded on Wednesday, July 27th, and learn how BIM thought leaders have designed and implemented library strategies that enable their teams to spend more time designing and less time searching for files.

The roundtable discussion will be moderated by Steve Germano, UNIFI’s Director of Strategic Intelligence, and include Nancy McClure, Digital Design Application Specialist at Interior Architects and Brian D. Nickel – Mechanical Designer at Harvey’s Heating and Plumbing, who authors the popular blog, The Revit Saver.

They explore what library management best practices these organizations are employing, focusing on the following discussion topics:

• How did you identify which library management strategy was right for your organization? What unique requirements were most influential in creating that strategy?
• How did you implement and test the library management strategy and what approaches did you follow to successfully introduce it to users?
• How do you maintain and (continuously) optimize your library management strategy to ensure your are delivering maximum value to your users?
• What was a strategy that didn’t work? How long did it take to find out?
• How do you ensure that all content gets into your library? Are their creative ways to make sure people don’t secret away content on their desktop?

3 Quick Tips to Get Started with UNIFI!

Thanks for giving UNIFI a try. To help you start more efficiently organizing, accessing and managing your BIM content, we’ve put together a quick start guide to help you get you, well, get started!

  1. Upload content
  2. Add users
  3. Search & insert content

 

1. UPLOAD CONTENT

UNIFI comes with two empty libraries already set up and just waiting for you to upload your content. Feel free to upload your existing content to these pre-made libraries or create your own on the LIBRARY MANAGEMENT screen.

  • Company Library – Your main content library
  • Detail Library – This library can be used to store all of your company details (drafting views)

Below, we show you how to navigate to the Upload screen and then drag & drop a folder of content/.rfas directly into UNIFI:

UNIFI_FolderUpload

 

Looking to upload your system families and details as well? No problem! UNIFI is compatible with multiple Revit element types:

  • Families (.rfa)
  • System Families (Walls, Floors, Ductwork, Piping, Cable Tray etc)
  • Details (Drafting Views)

2. ADD USERS

UNIFI has three user “Roles” for various security and workflow purposes. Company Administrator, Library Administrator, and User.

Role Suggested Users
User Used for majority of design staff to supply access to specific libraries of content
Library Administrator Ideal for regional BIM managers or office BIM managers who are responsible for managing content within specific libraries, but do not need full firm wide library access rights
Company Administrator We recommend that a small group of users are in this role

Here’s how to add users:

  • Navigate to the USER MANAGEMENT screen within UNIFI by clicking on the People icon on the left-hand tool bar.
  • Then click the Manage Users button under the Active Users section
  • Insert the user’s first name, last name, email address and password, and hit save user
  • The user has now been successfully created and will receive an email inviting them to reset their password

UNIFI_CreateUser

3. SEARCH & INSERT CONTENT

Now that your content has been uploaded and your users are all set up, it’s time to start designing with your team! You can search for content, browse content within libraries, and insert directly into your Revit design.

Navigate to the SEARCH screen within UNIFI to quickly find content and insert into Revit.

UNIFI_Design2

We also have a video that shows how much more quickly UNIFI is than traditional methods.  Here’s a link to a video.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • When you drag and drop a folder structure of Revit content into UNIFI, the names of the folders will automatically be added as tags to the content. This quickly and effortlessly allows you to batch upload thousands of pieces of content and make them instantly
  • When you drag in a Revit family (.rfa) UNIFI will automatically look for an associated Type Catalog file. No need to worry about forgetting to upload the Type Catalog!

Now, you are well on your way to becoming a UNIFI power user!