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!

Library Sharing: A new way to think about your content workflows with design partners!

Recently, we announced a brand new way to think about how you collaborate with outside design partners on content – Library Sharing.  Library Sharing is now officially supported for all UNIFI customers!  It’s been thrilling to see how UNIFI continues to add value to bridge information gaps and foster collaboration across the building lifecycle – first through improving how content is consumed, and now offering new ways that it can be distributed.  

Here are a few ways UNIFI’s Library Sharing is already being utilized:

Joint Venture Workflows – UNIFI has two customers engaged in a multi-billion dollar joint venture that requires a significant amount of collaboration including the sharing of BIM Execution Documents, standards and templates. Sharing content is a natural evolution in that process and UNIFI’s Library Sharing enables this to seamlessly occur.  Staff from both companies particularly enjoy being able to request content for libraries, regardless of who owns the library.

Owner ↔ Consultant – One of UNIFI’s customers is a real estate management firm that literally builds cities.  UNIFI is effectively allowing this firm to create content once, store it in the cloud and provide a single source of objects to any of their preferred design consultants.  This single source of information provides essential consistency to their entire building ecosystem, which is particularly helpful as the firm is constantly rotating through different consultants.  UNIFI is also a win for each consultant because it removes the burden of creating content.

AEC Firm ↔ UNIFI Create Services – Many design firms are increasingly turning to UNIFI to create their BIM content.  This allows firms to specialize in their core competencies – designing buildings – while efficiently meeting the cyclical demand of content creation.  A firm shares its libraries with the UNIFI Create Team, a group of seasoned experts in content creation.  Requests from the firm are easily sent through the Content Request form, providing a complete spec of the content and the content is then completed by the UNIFI team within a day or two and returned to the firm’s libraries.

“UNIFI is the bridge, allowing all of our staff, offices, consultants and clients access to critical content.”   Guy Messick – Interior Architects

These are just a few stories of how customers are currently using Library Sharing.  How will you use Library Sharing?  We’d love to hear your story!

Here’s how it works:

A company administrator can initiate sharing of a library by navigating to app.discoverunifi.com and logging in with their UNIFI credentials.   The user then should navigate to ‘Libraries’.

2016-04-25_8-23-36

(Note, other areas of the portal are still in beta and may not be entirely functional.)

Then click on the link of the library to open up its page:

2016-04-25_8-25-33

The library can then be shared by clicking on the ‘Share’ link:

2016-04-25_8-27-53

The pop up dialog will step you through the process. You will be prompted to select the permissions level (currently, only collaborative is available), designate a recipient email address, enter a custom message and agree to the term of service.

Following this, the recipient will receive an invitation email.  If the recipient is a company admin of another company, they will be able to follow the included link, sign into the portal and accept the invitation. Note, once an invitation has been sent, any company administrator for that company may log in to the portal and accept the invitation, regardless if the invitation was sent to them.  If an invitation is sent to a non UNIFI customer, they will be given the option to try UNIFI.

Once an invitation is accepted, administrators for the company that initiated the sharing will see the shared relationship under ‘Shared History’ and any pending invitations that have been sent will appear under ‘Pending Outgoing Invites’.  Pending invitations and current sharing relationships can be canceled and revoked here on the ‘Sharing’ tab.

2016-04-25_8-36-53

And that is it!  Libraries that are shared with you in UNIFI will appear like this:

2016-04-28_8-37-33

Libraries that are shared with another company appear normal.

Here are some considerations:

  • Library Sharing is part of the core product, there is no additional cost to use it.
  • Only company administrators may set up a shared library with another company.
  • Libraries can be shared with entire companies, not single individuals.  However, that company may choose to allow access with only select individuals.
  • When shared with another company, that company must also be a UNIFI customer to access the library.
  • When that company receives and accepts the sharing invite, the library is available to them in the same way that their own libraries are. Users and groups can be granted access to the shared library and saved searches can be created that reference that library.  In short, the consumption of content in a shared library works identically to ‘owned’ libraries.
  • Content in a shared library (whether you belong to the company that owns the library or subscribing company) can be tagged, rated and favorited like any other content.
  • The owner of a library may share it with an unlimited number of other companies.
  • If another company has shared a library with your company, you are not able to share the library with others.
  • If another company has shared a library with your company, content within that library cannot be added across to your own libraries… but only to other libraries that the same company may have already shared with your company and that you have administrator access to.

If you have any questions about Library Sharing, please contact us.  And, stay tuned for more exciting features from UNIFI.

Release Notes

V2.0.3 Release Notes

We are pleased to announce that our 2.0.3 release is live!  This morning, 2.0.3 was pushed to production in a quick, 15 minutes process that required no downtime for our users.  We are excited to see another monthly release that makes several improvements to our platform and bug fixes. Check out what’s new below:

Collaborative Library Sharing

This release includes the exciting capability, previously only available in beta, to share libraries between companies! UNIFI is the only content solution to enable collaborative workflows for not just individual companies, but between those companies and their consultants.  Libraries may be shared through our web portal here. Look for a news posting soon with additional information.

Enhancements / Features:

  • [UD-642, UD-640, UD-615, UD-542] The Manage Users page improvements are: (See image)
    • The page loads much faster, particularly when working with many users.
    • A new search filter is available, allowing quick filtering down to specific users.  The filter works across all visible fields.
    • Improved look and feel
  • [UD-512, UD-496] The Notifications page improvements are:
    • The page loads much faster, particularly when many requests and uploads exist.
    • The default column filters are only applied at log in and when clicking refresh. Changes to the filters are maintained when browsing away and returning to the page.
  • [UD-718] The User Menu has been improved to include more profile and library permissions information. (See image)
  • [UD-633] UNIFI branding changes.  Several subtle changes to the log in page, logo and the general color theme have been made. (See image)
  • [UD-590] The User Management page now displays a default selected time period and the magnitude is indicated by hovering the cursor over the graph.
  • [UD-588] Applied tags are now displayed in sequential order.  Thank you A Manning for the suggestion.

Bugs:

  • [UD-706] Removing tags from elements shown in search results will now display UI feedback.
  • [UD-74] Navigating away from browse results and returning again will maintain the displayed position of results.
  • [UD-704] Libraries selected during a search are now preselected when creating a new Saved Search.
  • [UD-671] In some cases, the review page for batch uploads wasn’t correctly showing the libraries selected during upload.
  • [UD-648] In some cases, library administrators were able to ‘complete’ requests of other libraries they were not administrators of.
  • [UD-645] When browsing, empty categories will no longer appear.  This was happening when the connected Revit version filtered out elements available only in later Revit versions.
  • [UD-626] In some rare cases, UNIFI was unresponsive after periods of inactivity greater than 30 minutes.
  • [UD-613] On the Notifications Page, Approve / Reject buttons did not appear in some cases for individually selected uploads.
  • [UD-587] Duplicate group names were allowed when renaming existing groups.
  • [UD-510] New files in a batch upload did not recieve applied provided notes.
  • [UD-460] When adding new revisions to existing elements, different filenames were allowed.
  • [UD-436] Tags that were applied to ‘In Progress’ content requests were not being saved if UNIFI was restarted.
  • [UD-432] When logging in with an identity provider, UNIFI will open up the login page for the provider.  If this page is closed in the browser, UNIFI will no longer display an infinite loading bar but will return to an active log in screen.
  • [UD-329] Some improvements were made to searching with multiple word industry synonyms.
  • [UD-328] Revisions to existing elements made by library admins were not automatically approved.
  • [UD-296] Some issues with deleting elements have been resolved.
  • [UD-114] In some cases, library permissions showed user accounts that had been previously deleted.
  • [UD-62] When groups were renamed, the new names were not reflected elsewhere in the application.

Known Issues:

  • [UD-717] Reverting to existing revisions of an existing element overwrites upload notes.
  • [UD-509] Admin comments to content approvals overwrite upload notes .
  • [UD-493] Search filters clear and are not remembered when navigating away and returning.
  • [US-108] In some cases, users were unable to view the help doc.
  • [US-69] Some rare cases of other add-in conflicts exist
  • UNIFI has some issues with inserting drafting views when Autodesk Collaboration for Revit is installed and utilized on the active project.
  • Autodesk Revit 2014 has some API limitations related to inserting objects that are face-based or work-plane-based.
Release Notes

V2.0.2 Release Notes

We are pleased to report of another successful update to UNIFI! Version 2.0.2 represents another minor release and is comprised mostly of bug fixes and improvements to the installer and automatic update system.  We expect this release to result in a more streamlined automatic update experience going forward.

Bugs:

  • [UD-490] Uploads and exports couldn’t be completed for some users due to a missing Temp folder.
  • [UD-554] Resolved an issue that caused usernames to occasionally appear in both the ‘Included’ and ‘To Add’ columns in group settings.
  • [UD-530] Searching and Saved Searches: Tags specified in brackets will return results with only those tags applied.
  • [UD-525] When browsing categories, preview images were appearing for files not yet approved. This has been resolved.
  • [UD-557] When fulfilling requests, changes made to the selected library by Company Admins were not applied.  The content will now appear in these libraries rather than the original selection.
  • [UD-570] Attaching large files to content requests caused uploads to timeout. This resulted in duplicate requests in some cases. Also, some file formats caused Unifi to crash.
  • [UD-445] Resolved a “Library communication error” that appeared when deleting a library and choosing to move the content to another library.
  • [UD-441, UD-401] When deleting, some files were not being deleted.  This caused the elements to appear in search after being deleted.  This issue is fixed.
  • [UD-507] Some users who didn’t have a default browser defined were having issues logging in to their SSO identity provider.
  • [UD-414] Inserting a type catalog family into a project a second time unnecessarily prompted an overwrite dialog.
  • [UD-308] Load times have been improved for the Users and notifications pages.
  • [UD-359] Resolved an issue that caused a type catalog family type to not load properly into Revit.  Thanks Elizabeth M for reporting!

We are working hard to provide regular and frequent updates to UNIFI and are excited about the improvements and features we have planned for the platform in the next few months!  We appreciate your feedback!