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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!

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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!

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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!

New Feature: Collections!

…actually, it’s been there the whole time! Read more below:

This is shaping up to be a big week for us at INVIEW labs! I am currently in-flight to DC to attend the first inaugural Building Content Summit (BCS) AND RTC. As co-chair of the BCS, it has been AWESOME to see the amount of interest in the event from all segments of our industry! I look forward to participating in this first meeting of the many content-minds out there. At RTC, The team at INVIEW labs will also be showing off our latest work on Unifi – plan on stopping by our booth so we can meet you!

As a product designer for Unifi, I take deep pleasure in seeing Unifi being used in so many ways by our amazing customers. Simple, yet flexible tools are the best tools. We measure each proposed feature against this core principle and we are proud of the positive feedback we receive from our customers that confirms the value of this.

We developed our simple meta-tag feature to fulfil many different needs. In Unifi, tags can be applied automatically upon upload, or manually anywhere an element appears. Consider the following uses of tags:

  • Improving search results – Search results are heavily influenced when a search term matches tags.
  • Searching – Many of our users enjoy searching by tags. By typing a bracket “[“ in the search form, users are given a drop down list of all tags. This is filtered down as you type.
  • Collections – “What? Collections? There’s no collections feature in Unifi..” you say. Let me explain below..

..but first, a bit about the Saved Search feature. Search criteria can be saved for perpetual use later. For example: a normal search for “Double Glass” will probably return many results. But if you add a Category filter of ‘Doors’, then your results will be greatly reduced. If you want to perform this search often, you can save the combined search term “Double Glass” AND the Category filter of ‘Doors’ together as a Saved Search. This is very powerful because any new content added later that fits this criteria will automatically appear when you open that saved search. It’s like an automatically updated folder!

When Saved Searches include certain tags in the criteria, they basically become collections. For example: want to organize a collection of ‘Living Room Furniture’? EASY! Just apply a tag that describes the collection (“LR Furniture” perhaps?), then create a Saved Search that only looks for that tag. From that point on, all living room furniture will be displayed by opening that saved search (provided the elements have the tag applied). Want to make the saved search available to everybody? Simply make it a Company Saved Search. So, YES, Unifi has a collections feature and these CAN be shared with your whole company! Unifi has a collection feature!

Again, these are simple tools that can be used in many different ways. Let us know how YOU use these features. I’d love to know!

Stay tuned throughout this week as we’ll be blogging about RTC!

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