Design Cloud

Unleash your design teams with Single Sign-on

In the rapidly growing world of cloud powered applications and web apps, IT teams are finding new ways to manage the ever growing list of tools their users need access to. With this growing user demand for cloud based tools and utilities several of the worlds top AEC firms are moving toward SAML based Single Sign-on (SSO) user identity tools.

What is Single Sign-on? “a property of access control of multiple related, but independent software systems. With this property a user logs in once and gains access to all systems without being prompted to log in again at each of them.” – Wikipedia

The chart above shows a typical top 20 list of apps for an organization. https://www.onelogin.com/blog/legacy-iam-cloud-fail

The chart above shows a typical top 20 list of apps for an organization. https://www.onelogin.com/blog/legacy-iam-cloud-fail

When it comes to configuring and customizing apps used by every employee it makes sense for IT teams to spend weeks doing deployments. When you start moving down the list to the apps that only a certain department needs access to it may not make sense to make large investments in on-premise software and deployments. This is the point where IT personnel in AEC firms across the globe are trying to find a middle ground between security, providing their users the tools they need when they need them, and speed of deploying these tools. No IT team wants to be a barrier to their colleagues, but they are the gatekeepers of a firm. They must keep data security and employee access to this data a top priority.

Single Sign-on identity providers such as OneLogin, LoginRadius, OKTA, and PingIdentity are leaders in providing a single source of truth for users access to various cloud applications across an entire design firm.

Cloud identity providers are built in the cloud for the cloud, making deploying cloud software a breeze. Most SSO providers have app stores where you can search for thousands of existing cloud software and connect the two quickly and easily.

What are the top 5 reasons for looking into a SSO solution for your design firm?

  1. Lowered IT costs
  2. Improved security
  3. Increased workforce productivity
  4. More utilization of mobile
  5. Improved user experience

Design technology is moving rapidly and how AEC IT personnel adapt to it will be critical over the next few years. Security, ease of use, and scalability will be key factors of which technologies we choose for our design firms. This is why you will find the Unifi app in each of the four providers app stores listed above with more to come upon request! We have listened to our customers and made Unifi compliant with the SAML 2.0 protocol which will allow you to integrate Unifi with any compatible Single Sign-on provider.

I would bet we end up seeing more AEC software leaders move down this path eventually with SSO. SSO integration is just the beginning, its a fully connected world and API’s can turn a great product into a powerful platform. We fully plan to continue to expand our platform integration options further with various API’s and integrations into some of the most popular platforms such as Slack and Trello! More to come on that front in a future post.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment or question below.

Release Notes

V1.7 RELEASE NOTES

Updated: 1.7.0.2 released 10/7/15 (bug fixes below)

We are very happy to announce the release of Unifi v1.7. Highlighted in this release is the rollout of new cloud infrastructure across the Amazon AWS backbone including a completely new search engine! This new search engine project (codenamed Dewey) is all about enhancing the user experience with faster browse and searching speeds on a global scale. The Unifi team has invested heavily into a new search engine technology which is extremely scalable and reliable, two major factors we take very seriously for the Unifi product. Our ultimate goal is to provide you with an enjoyable experience when finding content for use in Revit projects!

Library Browsing v1.7

Library Browsing v1.7 now shows total amount of categories available

What does this mean for your designers?

  • Our internal metrics show that current Unifi search times average 2 – 8 seconds globally depending on the size and complexity of the search. The new search engine testing metrics show global search times that average .5 seconds regardless of the size or complexity of the search.
  • A new “Search information bar” has been added to the top of the search and browse screens which displays how many results are being returned. This bar will also tell the user if any content is being hidden due to a incompatible Revit year among several other informative notes. You will notice the information bar also appears while browsing letting you know how many libraries or family categories are being displayed in the UI.
  • The new enhanced search engine now shows reduced results the more words you add to the search bar making it easier than ever to quickly refine your search to exactly the type of content you are searching for.
    This is something the majority of our users have been asking for so you got it! Your searching will be even more intuitive then ever with the intent on getting you to the right piece of content faster than ever.
Screw Chillers search example v1.7

Screw Chillers search example v1.7

New Features:

  • New Amazon cloud servers added to global cluster making international search times quicker (More improvements in this area are coming soon!)
  • New Elastic search engine added (More improvements in this area are coming soon!…can you say integrated parameter searching!)
  • Hidden results will now be displayed in the Search Information bar, users can click a link to see all incompatible Revit families
  • URLs in Family parameters will now be hyperlinks within the Unifi File Details page. (thanks Ji-Yong)
  • Library Admins can no longer delete libraries (thanks Fergus)
  • Changed the way the Favorite icon works. The favorite (heart) icon will now toggle your favorites filter to quickly see only the items you have favorited in the current results screen.
  • Any incompatible (future Revit version) families are now displayed greyed out and are unable to be inserted by the user.
  • Added several stability enhancements

Exterminated Bugs:

  • Resolved a bug where certain files could not be uploaded do to inaccurate file header data within the RFA file
  • Fixed some wonky text that would display in some system family names
  • Fixed a bug in the content request screen where when the ‘Specific Standards’ option is selected, but no text is entered into the textbox Unifi would get angry (thanks Fergus)
  • Resolved a bug where in some cases opening a PDF from a content request would crash Unifi
  • Resolved a bug where certain formatted type catalogs would not insert correctly (thanks Blake)
  • Fixed some labels in the Content request screen that were confusing
  • Fixed a bug where some file details would appear blank if not parsed yet in the Unifi cloud. If a family is still being parsed on the cloud you will now see a “In Progress” message indicating that the cloud is still busy herding the kittens (thanks Jason)
  • Fixed a bug with rolling back a file to a previous revision
  • Fixed a bug where when a pending file was deleted, it would still show in the Batch Upload Review screen
  • Resolved a timeout issue when if a User does not use Unifi for 30 minutes Unifi would release the licenses and the app would not log the user out. (thanks Blake)
  • Resolved a bug where certain fill pattern parameters values where not being displayed correctly in the file details page

Known Bugs: We will be working quickly to resolve these known issues in v1.7. 

  • Queuing large batches of files for upload (2500+) is taking several minutes as the files are checked on the servers to see if they already exist first. We fully intend to make this wicked fast, but right now its not.
  • Sorting by Star Rating is not working properly in the filter dialog. Fixed v1.7.0.1
  • The “TC” icon shown overtop of the preview image, when in the file details page, is not aligned properly. Fixed v8
  • The “TC” icon is not shown in the search results view, both in Grid mode or Row mode Fixed v1.7.0.1
  • New user activation emails may take up to 24 hours for the recipient to receive it. We are working with our 3rd party mail system to get this back to instantly send upon user creation. Fixed v8
  • If an Admin rolls back to a previous revision of a file, the parameter values do not update in the File Details page to show the current versions parameter data values.
  • On very large searches, while results are still loading and the user opens up a file details page, the information can take up to 10-15 seconds to populate. This is not acceptable to the instant gratification generation and will be fixed. Fixed v1.7.0.1 instant gratification achieved!
  • The “delete” button on a new saved search has been changed to “Cancel”, you can’t delete something that doesn’t exist. Fixed v1.7.0.2
  • Newly uploaded content may be shown as a revision to previously deleted content with the same name. This is a case of content identity theft, and has been resolved. Fixed v1.7.0.2
  • Automatically adding users to user groups was not working in some cases. Fixed v1.7.0.2
  • File underscores are not being removed from the content display name causing problems with finding the content while searching. (Thanks Ryan!) Fixed v1.7.0.2
  • Uploaded and approved content was sometimes not available in the search engine. Fixed v1.7.0.2

We truly hope you enjoy this release. Thank you to all our great customers who share our vision of organizing, analyzing, and distributing the worlds BIM data!!

The Unifi team is already working on the next 1.8 release which will include new highly requested workflow features! Stay tuned for more update news soon!

Cheers

SG

Didn’t attend BCS? 3 Things you Missed

For those who didn’t attend the Building Content Summit a few weeks ago, here’s what you missed out on!  (And why you should become involved next year in Phoenix!) INVIEW labs had 3 directors present; Bryan Novotny, Steve Germano, and Myself.  It was a pleasure to see this event transition from a concept to such a positive outcome that it was.

1. You can’t beat the NETWORKING

AEC firms were there.. CHECK!  Manufacturers were there.. CHECK!!  Service Providers and Software vendors were there.. CHECK!!!  The BCS offered many different formats that allowed for discussions between these groups.  We had over 100 in attendance!  Pretty good for year one.  In a way, the collective group represented the best and the brightest in the BIM content world.  Whether you were talking with your competition (gasp!  how dare you!), or talking with others from a different group, you gained a different perspective.  Prior to BCS, some folks expressed fear to me of discussing their own solutions in front of competition.

“Perhaps the fear of losing competitive advantage may be overridden by pain of loss of efficiency due to recreation/duplication.  It’s not the interface stopping us, it’s fear of loss of differentiation stopping us.” Nancy McClure, Interior Architects

The truth is, aren’t we all passionate about the same thing?  The challenges we face are far larger than any single one of us can solve.  We each have many other areas where we can and should differentiate ourselves but content elements itself should not be one of them.  Come out next year and be sure to open up!

2015-08-10_8-20-05

2. PROBLEMS were defined

How refreshing it was to have a day focused on CONTENT!  This was unlike other great events where content challenges are only one of many items discussed. At INVIEW, we believe content is THE foundation for all else.  It was great to see BIG problems being exposed and hear some of what was proposed as solutions.

It was particularly interesting for me to hear folks express more frustration centered around DATA in BIM content than GEOMETRY. Though, maybe I have selective hearing since DATA is so much of what we talk about in UNIFI development discussions.  It does seem that folks ARE more accepting of manufacturer models than in the past, but those models are difficult to use because they lack compliance to firm-wide parameter standards.  My favorite quote of the day:

“One-size-fits-all is great for socks, but bad for BIM” Marcus Fich, Grundfos

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the day:

“Maybe we need to upload all of our content for all to use. Open source it!” Jason Bailly, HDR Architecture

“The better you understand a problem, the closer you are to the solution”, Chris Needham, AECOM

“The conflict of content creation for BIM: Detail depends on context which depends on creator and consumer”, Phil Read, Read | Thomas

I also enjoyed hearing about the HUGE effort from Bentley to consolidate around a single content authoring and distribution tool.  I know most everybody attending BCS works in Revit, but you gotta hand it to them.. THAT’S cool, and something we haven’t seen from Autodesk.

My hat goes off to Jose Fandos who is doing some impressive things with the CIBSE and ASHRAE standards.  This and his concept of Product Data Templates (PDT’s) is the first standards (dare I say it??) effort that seems legit.  How can we help, Jose?

You’ve got to visit the #RTCBCS twitter action here to get a feel for the fun we had defining problems with BIM content.

Oh, and did you see that awesome graphic at the top? There’s more graphics on the twitter feed you can look at..  These are a great summary of discussions we had.

3. MANUFACTURES showed up

Problems were defined in front of the right group.  This was and will be a disruptive event.  The more manufacturers can understand the needs of their customers, the better everybody will be. The fact is though, the sales process of BIM content to a manufacturer is often devoid of the realities of content.  Now, through the BCS, manufacturers get a raw exposure to how widely used it is, what the value is, how to do it right, etc. I anticipate many interesting partnerships forming between these groups as a direct result of this summit.

I had some manufacturers come up and state their surprise at some of what was discussed.  Some were surprised that at one table, only ~30% of design firms desire manufacturer content. Others were excited about being able to meet the actual users of the content.  One thing is certain, all manufacturers surely took one thing away:  if there is one group you need to impress with your BIM geeky-ness… it is BCS!

IMG_1551 (1)

It was also great to hear so many mentions of Unifi in the table discussions .  We’re thrilled to see those individuals who have helped us develop features enjoying the benefits. This event embodies so many of the same goals of Unifi.  We look forward to supporting it through the years to come!

Release Notes

V1.6.1 RELEASE NOTES

Hot on the tails of our V1.6 release comes this smaller release.  If you haven’t noticed, we like releasing smaller features and fixes on the tails of larger releases.  Sometimes we just can’t help but sneak in some features in that have been highly requested. Some of these shouldn’t be held up by the rigamarole of larger releases. Here’s what’s new:

New Added Features/Enhancements:

  • Search Results in ‘Row’ mode now show more results due to a more condensed layout.
  • Tags can now be applied to multiple selected items in a single operation. Right click on your selection, choose ‘Add a tag’.

Exterminated Bugs:

  • Attaching a folder to a content request no longer crashes the Unifi client.
  • Inconsistent behavior with the tag auto-complete menu has been resolved.
  • ‘Capture Image’ from the details page of an element wasn’t showing the updated capture until the page was refreshed.  This has been fixed.
  • Batch Export Dialogue (Revit Add-In):  Inconsistent behavior with the quick filter form was reported. This now works as expected.

We thank you for your continued support and feedback.  More exciting things coming up!

Building Content Summit: Why we care

We’re getting excited for the Building Content Summit!  Here’s a little background on Inview’s involvement in the event:

Over a year ago, a few of us at Inview started bouncing the idea around of a conference where manufacturers and designers could openly collaborate.  Inview has always had strong relationships with manufacturers and we often work to provide them with a strategy around BIM.  One thing has become clear to us as we’ve done this: for the building process to improve, manufacturers and designers must be willing to share much more information than they currently do.

Apparently, we were not alone in this sentiment.  Others at the same time were thinking the same thing.  Randall Stevens, CEO from ArchVision, approached us last year after mulling on the idea for some time.  Randall also had discovered that RTC Events had been contemplating it.  From there, we formed our committee and got planning!

We are proud to have a solid representation in the event. We will have Steve Germano (Chief Development Officer), Bryan Novotny (Director of BIM Development) and myself (Director of Technical Solutions and co-chair of BCS) in attendance.

We’re excited to now see over 40 different companies coming from 8 different countries represented in the registration so far!  Many have commented “This has been needed for a LONG time!”  We feel the same way.

There are serious challenges related to BIM content and we look forward to the chance to work with others that not only feel the same way but can help effect a real difference.

For more information on the event: http://bit.ly/1CpvIgC

Follow the BCS blog: http://bit.ly/1KOQRUa

(It’s not too late to register!!)

Unifi Wins a Race!

I needed to see for myself how much faster I can work with Unifi vs. without.  Some of you ROI hunters out there need to know also, so pay attention!

So I put my lab coat on, got scientific and put together an experiment.  (We are after all a LAB!) A fair experiment.  An honest to goodness, fair experiment.  Remember, I needed to know for myself too.

I built a sample environment.  Then I created a script of components to use in a mock design.  First, 2 walls, then, an opening, then the doors, and on down till the last item. This script was on my other monitor so I could replicate the sequence for each video.  I then placed these components into a large Unifi library.  I also placed them into their respective folders in the generic content library in Windows Explorer.

I wanted to test the time difference to complete the design.

  • Method #1: Use the ‘Load Family’ button to load the families, then use the project browser or component drop down to place instances.
  • Method#2: Use Unifi to load and place instances.

Here is the recorded result:

Unifi WINS!!  By a lot, actually. (2.1 times faster to be exact – There’s that ROI!!)

In both tests I was honestly trying to complete the design as fast as possible.  I found that the traditional load/insert method is plain clunky to use.  There’s a lot of mouse movement required and there are multiple points of access for load and insert commands.  With Unifi, there’s only one place you need to go.  This is especially easy when Unifi is pinned to the top and auto collapsed.

We’re looking into ways of making it even faster, so keep paying attention!

AEC Magazine

UNIFI for Revit

Screenshot of create window

Introducing the Unifi blog

Welcome!

Thanks for visiting our Unifi blog! This blog will be a fun place where several Unifi team members will share release notes, tips and tricks, insights into development, tutorials, and other happenings from the Unifi factory. We will do our best to keep this blog up to date and we welcome comments and feedback from our customers!