Posts

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.

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!