Expect building information modeling (BIM) to proliferate in the coming year as more companies embrace the technology, according to the business and technology consulting firm Microdesk. Proliferation of BIM is one of the top five trends for 2012 that architecture, engineering, construction, and operations (AECO) companies should prepare for now, according to the firm.
Microdesk emphasized that the following list of predictions reflects the current technological innovations taking place in the AECO industry, highlighting trends that firms can stay ahead of to succeed in an increasingly competitive and tech-savvy market:
Proliferation of BIM -- BIM is here to stay. Expect more companies to embrace this technology, which is transforming an entire industry. As expected, we’ve seen growing adoption of BIM throughout the design and construction sectors. In 2012, BIM will continue to transform the industry, with more architectural firms and building owners recognizing the same opportunities, benefits, and values.
Let's Go Virtual -- Firms will look to pushing the envelope of what's possible in the cloud. Cloud computing and the utilization of virtualization technologies are allowing AECO firms to engage in new ways. This trend will continue to unfold in 2012, further pushing the boundaries of communication and collaboration among remote teams and virtual work environments.
Beyond the Desktop -- Mobile will take AECO whenever and wherever, moving past desktop limitations. Mobile adoption throughout the AECO industry will rise as work traditionally limited to the desktop migrates to a mobile environment. More devices will be used to streamline workflows, share ideas, and access data from anywhere.
Stronger Reliance on New Technologies -- Firms will speed up to keep pace with innovation. The AECO industry will adopt technology faster in order to streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve return on investment. This will enable a more sustainable, manageable approach to the planning, design, building, and operation of buildings and infrastructure.
A Holistic Approach -- It’s time for a collaboration that the industry has never seen before.
As the industry continues to educate itself on advanced technologies such as BIM, firms will see the need to increase collaboration among all project participants. More companies will focus on forging new relationships in order to operate under a holistic approach that serves the bottom line.
Microdesk’s team includes architects, engineers, surveyors, GIS analysts, facilities and asset managers, IT experts, and software developers.
“As we reflect on our predictions for continued technological innovation and adoption, AECO firms must also resolve to increase cross-company communication in order to interact and collaborate with each other in ways never before thought to be possible,” Microdesk President Michael DeLacey said.
Microdesk President Provides CPC/BIM Additional Details
In an email interview with Construction Project Controls and BIM Report (CPC/BIM), DeLacey provided the following additional information:
CPC/BIM: In supporting the predictions your company has made, especially the one about BIM proliferation, what statistics can you provide regarding the use of these technologies both in 2011 and the comparable numbers that the firm expects for next year?
DeLacey: A recent McGraw Hill Smart Report found that there was a 49 percent adoption rate of BIM as of 2010. That marks a 75 percent increase over BIM use as measured in 2007. The same study also found that use of BIM by contractors had surged to a whopping 50 percent. It has become very clear that BIM is being adopted by the AECO industry -- and quickly. Many universities, departments of transportation, and owner/operators are also driving the adoption of BIM. For example, [the California Department of Transportation], Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), NYC SCA [New York City School Construction Authority], Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Indiana University, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and many others are already, or are in the process of, introducing BIM deliverables into their basic workflows.
CPC/BIM: How accurate were Microdesk’s predictions about the use of AECO technologies in previous years?
DeLacey: We have always known that the use of AECO technologies would only continue to grow across the industry, especially because of the heightened focus on keeping costs low and collaboration high. We’re also in a situation where much of our nation’s basic infrastructure needs to be retrofitted or rebuilt, causing AECO professionals to look to the most efficient way to do so. AECO technologies will undoubtedly play a role in that, which is why we continue to predict the proliferation of technologies like BIM year to year. Last year, as a company we felt strongly that more firms would be getting ‘BIM-ready,’ and we’ve definitely seen that across the construction industry, with many firms even starting their own ‘BIM war rooms.’ Due to the need for collaboration, we predict the trend will continue to proliferate throughout the architecture and engineering industries as well as begin to gain momentum with facilities owners and operators.
CPC/BIM: What was the methodology that was used for arriving at the conclusions mentioned in the recent press release? Were the predictions made based solely on anecdotal information from clients and others?
DeLacey: At Microdesk, we pride ourselves as being the only consultancy in the industry where all of our technical experts have real-world experience working in the industry. Our top executives and solution specialists all also work closely day-to-day with some of our largest clients, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Albert A. Webb Associates, Suffolk Construction, SAIC, HOK, and NYC SCA. They have an intimate understanding and insight into what industry firms and organizations are planning for 2012, which is why we polled them for their 2012 predictions anecdotally.
CPC/BIM: What, if any, detailed predictions can you make regarding which specific software programs/models of equipment will experience the greatest proliferation next year? Which vendors will be the biggest winners?
DeLacey: Overall, we think BIM software is going to continue to experience the most proliferation. Citrix also will continue to enable the expansion of multi-company collaboration. Collaboration technologies like Autodesk Vault and Citrix will also enable designers to work virtually anywhere. BIM software is also being mandated by major owners. For example, many departments of transportation are requiring AutoCAD Civil 3D, and major universities and other large government owners like the U.S. General Services Administration and NYC School Construction Authority [are] mandating Autodesk Revit and Navisworks.
CPC/BIM: Which types of structures will be the center for the most significant growth regarding the top five trends that your company released? Mostly high-rise office buildings?
DeLacey: It would be inappropriate to identify just one. Our focus needs to be on a sustainable and manageable approach to addressing the decline of our infrastructure. This could include roads, bridges, and utilities as well as buildings. This approach is going to be based on awareness, creative funding mechanisms, and an innovative application of technology to the design and construction process.
CPC/BIM: What recommendations, if any, is Microdesk making with the release of these predictions and to whom? Are recommendations being made to policymakers?
DeLacey: Our recommendations are first and foremost for the stakeholders in the AECO industry. With so much advanced technology at our fingertips, it’s easy to get ahead of the game now and make sure your firm is prepped for 2012. However, as a company we’re always keeping tabs on industry trends and speak frequently to influencers and policy makers at the local level about technological standards. For example, we’ve worked closely with MassDOT to implement their new CAD standards.
CPC/BIM: What reports or other types of documents relating to AECO technology will Microdesk be issuing anytime soon? When may these documents be released?