The end of the year always invites reflection, and despite this year’s uncertainty, 2020 is no exception! What a riveting year it has been. Amidst unprecedented times and a global pandemic, we were more grateful than ever to be the only cloud-based BIM content management and project health platform, empowering our users to seamlessly transition to remote work and access their content anytime, anywhere – without VPN or IT assistance.
In addition, we were hard at work developing several features based on feedback from our customers and Executive Advisory Board, all of which served to help our users save more time, money, and gain increased efficiency. Here are the UNIFI platform developments released this year that we’re the proudest of:
•Automatically Generated Preview ImagesThe first feature we’re most proud of in 2021 is one our customers and Executive Advisory Board were particularly excited about, Automatically Generated Preview Images. Prior to this release, to get nice looking preview images, admins would have to spend hours setting up specific views and/or capturing images manually for each Revit family. With UNIFI‘s Automatically Generated Preview images, admins can simply configure settings in the UNIFI Web Portal, and preview images will be created automatically. We’re proud to save admins lots of time and greatly improve our end-users experience.
•Saved Search Updates
To improve user experience, we rolled out updates to our Saved Search feature in early 2021. In addition to a more streamlined and simplified UI, this update added all the robust options present in our standard search to saved searches, including selecting search fields and filtering by Revit Parameters. This rollout has enhanced users’ workflows around saved searches, a feature that is extensively used by UNIFI customers to help their users find the right content more quickly.
•Autodesk 2021 Support
Within 8 weeks of Autodesk’s 2021 release, we rolled out UNIFI support for Revit 2021 and AutoCAD 2021. With this update, users utilizing AutoCAD and Revit versions 2016 and later were able to take full advantage of UNIFI. On top of rapid support for Autodesk’s releases, UNIFI is proud to be the exclusive platform to offer versioning that automatically upgrades and aligns your BIM content to the latest version of Revit.
•Project Analytics Data CollectionIn both our first and final product releases of 2020, we improved Project Analytics data collection speed and overall user experience. Admins now have complete control over the data collection process at both the company and project level. This includes complete transparency into the average collection times, down to each individual data type. We also implemented a progress bar that displays while data is being collected during the sync process. The display of this progress bar is also configurable by admins.
We made several performance enhancements that resulted in a better user experience across the platform. Most notably, we improved search speed by more than 70%. We also updated our Shared Parameter Management feature to handle large shared parameter files (up to 4MB). In addition to enhancing these features and other aspects of our platform, we solved various bugs throughout the year. To see the full list of bug fixes, please check out our release notes.
As we enter 2021, our product roadmap is more exciting than ever and filled with some game changing features. You have a lot to look forward to, including:
As we add more and more data to search, we want to make sure we are providing the best possible user experience. We have several enhancements planned that will improve the overall technical performance of search, optimize the relevance of search results, as well as simplify the user interface.
We’re adding SSO SCIM features for automatic provisioning of users and user groups, enhancing our current SSO functionality and reducing the amount of manual user management required.
•Type Catalog Updates
As of Revit 2021, type catalogs may no longer be compatible with previous versions of Revit, as Autodesk has updated several database identifiers for units of measurement in Revit 2021. For type catalogs that contain units of measurement that have been changed, a separate type catalog must be maintained (one for Revit 2021 and one for Revit 2020 and previous). We’re in the process of updating the UNIFI platform to support this change.
We’re adding the ability for admins to create isolated libraries that can house content independent of other libraries. In other words, files added to an isolated library will not override files with the same name in other libraries. Examples of use cases for this feature are sandbox libraries for vetting content, as well as project-specific libraries.
…And much more!
To conclude, we want to send you our sincerest thanks for helping make 2020 a year of growth at UNIFI. During a year of such uncertainty, we were humbled to play a key role in facilitating our customers’ transition to remote work and to work with so many new firms who found themselves in need of a cloud-based source of truth for their BIM content.
UNIFI was founded by engineers in the industry who understand the struggles our customers face, firsthand. As such, our foremost objective is to journey with our users in their BIM content management and project health strategies, helping you accelerate project velocity. If there’s anything else you’d like to see in the future of UNIFI, please don’t hesitate to let us know, as we use your feedback to inform and prioritize our product roadmap.
Before you go, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What was your favorite feature of 2020 and what are you most excited to see come in 2021?
While we’ll miss seeing you in person, we’re excited to announce we’re exhibiting at Autodesk University virtually this year.
Please visit our booth or join one of our 4 live demos to see why we’re the platform of choice for over 40,000 users across the globe at organizations including HDR, Kimley Horn, Stantec, and Chick-fil-A.
We’re excited to announce that our next software update is now live! In a nutshell, our Pro 3.7 and Portal 2.14 release includes:
•Automatically generated preview images
•Project Analytics data collection settings
•Several bug fixes and much more!
Want the full scoop? Please keep reading and note that in order to access these enhancements, you will need to update UNIFI.
Please also note that as of our 3.7 release, we no longer support versions 3.4 and earlier.
•Automatically Generated Preview Images
The days of spending hours on end configuring specific views and/or capturing images manually to obtain beautiful Revit family preview images are in the past! We’re pleased to introduce automatically generated preview images.
Company Admins can now configure what data types are collected when users sync models associated with Project Analytics. We’ve also provided a setting that allows Company Admins to control whether a progress bar is displayed during the data collection process.
These options can be found on the “Settings” tab at both the Company and Project levels within Project Analytics.
We have made some updates to our search capabilities, including:
•Updating the “Details” search result display
•Adding the “Request Update” option to the right-click menu in search results
•The default selection of all search sources upon logging in (unless connected to a model with pinned sources selected)
•The ability to leave the search input field blank when performing a search for all files within selected search sources.
These enhancements are just the tip of the iceberg for the many exciting search developments we have in the works and will be available to you in a future release!
•Performance and stability enhancements across the board
•Mixed alphanumeric search terms are now treated as a single search term rather than broken into separate search terms
•The desktop app no longer crashes when deleting an object in “Details” view mode
•Content within Autodesk subscription channels now properly load Family Types
•Fixed an issue where some RVT files with worksharing enabled were unable to open from UNIFI
•Libraries can now be deleted even if users, admins, and/or groups are associated with it
•Fixed an issue where CAD Links and Revit Links were unintentionally appearing in Harvest Project Elements
•Fixed an issue where files could not be downloaded from the Notifications page in the UNIFI Web Portal
•Fixed an issue with adding tags using the Batch Editor in the UNIFI Web Portal
•Revit materials inserted from UNIFI now populate the Asset folder properly upon launch of a Revit model
•Fixed an issue where the UNIFI identity provider would disappear from the list when navigating to the user import screen for the second time
•Fixed an issue where UNIFI would always be selected as the default identity provider when navigating to the import user screen, even when another identity provider was set as the default
•Fixed an issue when assigning library permissions where the add/remove buttons didn’t work the first time they were clicked after filtering the list of users
•CTRL + A can now be used in “Details” search result display mode
•Fixed an issue where the preview image hover zoom for Revit sheets and drafting views would appear blank in “Grid” search result display mode
•Fixed an issue where some health indicator and warning data was not displaying properly in the Project Analytics dashboards
•Revision schedules are no longer listed as Schedules in Project Analytics
•Revit Version Check now sorts properly by model name
•Fixed an issue where filtering content requests by due day did not provide matching results
•Fixed an issue where tags added as part of a content request would display multiple times after navigating to/from the content request page
•Fixed an issue where only the first tag would apply when completing a content request
•Fixed an issue where files attached to content requests could not be downloaded
•Fixed an issue when editing libraries within content requests in the UNIFI Web Portal
•Fixed an issue with the Search API endpoint where users were receiving 502 or 504 errors for large responses instead of receiving a link to download the results
Thank you for being a valued UNIFI customer and taking the time to get the details on our 3.7 Pro and 3.14 Portal release. We hope you find the updates and fixes in this release useful.
While we have you, we want to remind you that you have dozens of step-by-step videos and articles that walk you through every detail of our platform, including how to take advantage of our latest released features in our Knowledge Center.
This is the perfect place to touch up your UNIFI skills, learn a new feature, or add a new user from your team to UNIFI. If we can help your team adopt UNIFI or implement these recently released enhancements, please don’t hesitate to reach out here for additional training.
As always, if there’s a feature or update you’re hoping for in a future release please don’t hesitate to let us know.
To combat the time consuming process of right-clicking or holding Ctrl + other key to see an outcome in Revit, Brian has developed several tips and tricks as well as keyboard shortcuts that will make every Revit user more productive.
Join our webinar to get the scoop on these time saving tricks that will make you more Revit savvy.
UNIFI Spotlight: Karen Pierce, SR. BIM Specialist, CM-BIM
Karen Pierce, CM-BIM is a Senior BIM specialist, dedicated to helping customers get the most out of UNIFI. She received her A.S. in engineering from Georgia Perimeter College in 2012 and has had an exciting, versatile career in the building industry since. Before UNIFI, Karen worked as an electrical designer, a BIM manager, and as a consultant. In her different roles, she experienced every facet of BIM Management, from building Revit content, to converting CAD standards to Revit standards, to leading Revit software training for AECs.
Her diverse experience gives her a unique perspective to be able to provide unique solutions to customers across the building lifecycle, due to her intimate experience across the project lifecycle. She is a published CSE author and has contributed several cutting-edge articles to the publication. Most recently, Karen obtained her CM-BIM (Construction Management – Building Information Modeling) certification to further expand her industry expertise.
Why the Building Industry?
When asked why she’d chosen a career in the building industry, Karen said that she’d played with Legos and Erector sets when she was a child, while her father worked various construction jobs before eventually becoming a superintendent. She spent many summers on job sites with her father, which helped inspire her to go into the field.
Her favorite aspect of her job at UNIFI is that she gets to coach prospects and customers on the UNIFI product and finding creative workflows to solve issues around content management.
The CM-BIM certification Karen recently earned is an assessment-based certificate credential that denotes knowledge and understanding of concepts related to BIM adoption, practice, and process transformation as outlined in the AGC BIM Education Program. After finishing the course, Karen felt she was able to build on her real world experience and add what she was missing from being self-taught in the industry, including increased expertise into process and best practices. It provides a critical resource to share with the UNIFI team and enhances her ability to journey with UNIFI customers.
To obtain her certificate, Karen attended AGC BIM Education Program courses, which culminated in an exam requiring candidates to receive at least a 94 out of a possible 125 points.
From the CM-BIM courses, Karen learned, “As a prior designer and BIM Manager, I’ve worked with many of the multiple toolsets required to accomplish BIM. However, walking through the multiple tools needed across multiple disciplines and throughout each project, phase was illuminating. When you compound the multiple tools required, identifying and maximizing ROI becomes especially critical. By analyzing multiple case studies and tracking our own company’s lessons learned, we can start to see how BIM ROI can be not only measurable but practical.”
Technology’s Influence on the Building Industry
Technology is rapidly transforming all aspects of the world around us. Communication and collaboration technology has been at the forefront of this evolution for the building industry and with the recent pandemic, AECOMs rely on new technologies to discuss and share projects, as well as data, amongst one another more than ever. According to Karen, “In order to stay relevant in this current climate, companies need to cut the red tape and embrace innovative technologies as often as they can.”
Between her role at UNIFI and recent CM-BIM certification, Karen is poised to grow her reputation as a trailblazer in the building industry’s technology evolution. Karen acknowledges that while many AECOs utilize traditional folder systems for digital assets, she’s committed to helping them implement UNIFI to search, find, distribute, and manage their content more efficiently given that project quality starts with the content
In conclusion, UNIFI is a platform Karen truly believes in, “UNIFI solves real problems for the building industry that I’ve endured firsthand. Features such as automatic upgrades, easy version control saved searches, and a built-in content request platform empower users to have a single source of distribution.” Karen is extremely excited and passionate about transforming the way the building industry works with UNIFI, and we’re equally as enthusiastic to have her on our team.
Rhino to Revit
If you’re not familiar, Rhino 3D is a free-form surface modeler which uses the NURBS mathematical model to generate geometry. This makes Rhino one of the leading CAD tools for conceptual design in the AEC space as it provides an intuitive interface for creating geometry quickly and easily.
Rhino also includes a visual scripting application, Grasshopper, which is similar to Dynamo for Revit. Grasshopper grants Rhino users the ability to leverage automation techniques without software development experience.
Although Rhino is popular amongst architectural designers for conceptual design, the leading authoring tool for construction documents is still Autodesk Revit.
In this post we will cover how to bridge these two tools to help you get your models from Rhino to Revit.
Interoperability: Rhino to Revit
Many design firms juggle multiple design authoring tools as part of their daily workflows, but the question always remains, “how do I get these different tools to talk to each other?” In other words, what is the best way to get a model from Rhino to Revit?
The good news is, these applications are compatible to some extent and there are two main ways to port your models from Rhino to Revit.
Method 1: Import the Rhino Model to a Revit Family
The most common technique to import Rhino to Revit is to import the .SAT Rhino file directly into a Revit family of the “Mass” model category. Once imported into the family, the family can then be loaded into a Revit project as usual.
Conversely, you also go from Revit to Rhino with a similar export/import process.
This process is fairly straightforward, but if you are looking for a solid step-by-step guide is available from BIMtopia, Transferring Models – Rhino to Revit to Rhino.
Method 2: From Rhino to Revit Using Rhino.Inside.Revit
One of the latest work in progress (WIP) projects for Rhino is the Rhino.Inside initiative which allows users to run Rhino and Grasshopper “within” other applications. This means unprecedented free-form modeling tools are now available in Autodesk’s leading CAD and BIM applications. In addition to the new tools exposed to Revit, this new approach to interoperability also means a more simplified Rhino to Revit workflow.
For more information about this progressive initiative and a full how-to guide on how to implement, check out Rhino.Inside.Revit.
Rhino to Revit or Rhino.Inside.Revit?
Either of the two methods above will help with getting 3D models from Rhino to Revit, but which path should you take?
Put simply, if you need a quick way of getting geometry from Rhino to Revit or perhaps you only just need to do this once, simply import it into a family (method #1). If you are looking for true interoperability between the multiple authoring tools, you most definitely want to go with Rhino.Inside.Revit (method #2).
Although it is a bit more upfront setup, Rhino.Inside.Revit enables entirely new possibilities for Rhino to Revit workflows. So if Rhino and Revit are integral pieces in your tech stack, try out this new way of connecting Rhino to Revit.
Revit Add-Ins Are Where It’s At
Like Rhino to Revit, UNIFI also helps users save hundreds of hours annually by maximizing efficiency in Revit. Visit us here to learn more.