2018 – The Year of BIM 360 Connectivity

2018 – The Year of BIM 360 Connectivity

Practical Steps for Connected Success in Your BIM/VDC Operation

From the onset of the Building Information Modeling/Management era that took a foothold in the late 1990s, the vision has been to connect people, process, and technology throughout the project lifecycle. This begins with the concept to design, engineering, construction, and lifecycle management. We’ve all seen the venerable “Wheel of BIM” many times over. All the while, progress has been moving forward. 2018 will bring about massive advancements in this vision.

initial.aec, as a leading BIM/VDC technology services provider since 2001, has learned a great deal about creating successful BIM/VDC technology implementations. This post offers some of the lessons we have learned about the people, process, technology change aspects of successful, and not so successful implementations. We will also share some insights into important technologies that will help form this Year of BIM Connectivity.

The first point initial.aec stresses in technology implementation, and the associated changes in the desired outcome will be to develop a strategy. This includes having a firm understanding of your people, their views, and how to positively align their views with the plan. Also included is understanding the current process in conjunction with the desired outcome, so that positive disruption takes place and negative disruption is eliminated or kept to a minimum. At that point, the technology is explored, vetted, and introduced into the plan.  The illustration below demonstrates the likelihood of success based on these methods:

The key to developing good strategy centers in good change management practice. Use these six steps as a template that can be used time and again:

  1. Define the problem(s) you are solving and the business value in solving it.
  2. Get executive commitment and support while also understanding team viewpoints and requirements.
  3. Develop a pilot program with clear objectives and benchmarks to measure and evaluate the process.
  4. Stay flexible as the process proceeds. Remember this is a pilot program. Learn from deviations, failures, and successes along the way.
  5. Evaluate the pilot then develop a complete implementation based on the findings. Remember that the full implementation may roll out in phases as well.
  6. Finally, remember that many projects achieve somewhere between 45% and 65% overall success rates initially. That is still an improvement and the initial success rate can be built upon from there.


When it comes to “defined problems” in today’s BIM project environment, most project stakeholders will list duplication of data or lack of data continuity as key problems.

“Traditional” Design, Engineering, Construction, and Lifecycle Management have always been subject to kind of a sawtooth stair-step process as shown by the red line in the graph below. The green BIM curve has not truly been reached because of the lack of true connectivity. A well-managed BIM process has brought about many improvements to be sure.

In any building project – vertical or horizontal – there is a vast array of data to manage. Until now, there have been a lot of good solutions, but for the most part, they have solved singular issues in the process. This has kept things fairly “tribal” with different project teams and even teams within teams able to work only on their project task subset.

At Autodesk University 2017, Autodesk announced the most thorough release of the comprehensive Autodesk BIM 360 platform to date. BIM 360 can be thought of as a truly disruptive technology within the cloud to transform the entire building lifecycle. After a couple years of kinks around some components of Autodesk’s BIM 360 platform, the audience at AU was a bit guarded about their expectations. However, the presentation went way beyond expectations to a truly impressive platform. Yes, there is a greatly improved suite of core BIM 360 tools that do connect better than ever. The real connective power lies in:

  • Good Autodesk BIM 360 Core Tool integration for more comprehensive data connection across project stakeholders. BIM 360 Core Tools:
    • BIM 360 TeamThe Connectivity Base for Complete BIM 360 Collaboration.
    • BIM 360 DocsThe Core Technology for Project Data Management and Distribution.
    • BIM 360 FieldThe Well-Proven Backbone for Construction Project Management.
    • BIM 360 GlueThe Light-weight Project Model Coordination Tool for the Job Site.
    • BIM 360 LayoutCoordinated Model to Site Point Layout and Data Management.
    • BIM 360 PlanCloud Enabled Lean Construction Sequencing.
    • BIM 360 OpsMobile Building Operations Management.
    • Collaboration for RevitCross-discipline Design Management and Coordination.
  • Strong connection to key authoring tools such as Revit, Navisworks, Infraworks, ReCap, and coming up quickly – Civil 3D, Plant 3D, and others.

We might expect the Autodesk products to work well together.  What the audience was most impressed by in our estimation was the connectivity outside of the Autodesk technology arena via:

  • The Autodesk Forge tools which allow amazing access to the Autodesk APIs and the connection to at the time, over 50 outside solutions and growing quickly.
  • The growing array of independent developers and services providers, such as initial.aec, that are bringing to the industry an array of connected technologies.
  • initial.aec is working on comprehensive conceptual design and energy analysis tools (more details soon), to reality capture solutions in partnership with 3DR and their SiteScan technologies, to tools on the horizon for FM and lifecycle management.

There is a great deal of industry excitement developing around the possibilities of BIM 360 to open the doors into the areas of project data management and continuity. If your team is tackling connected BIM environments in 2018, initial.aec would like to discuss the strategy to help your firm step into 2018 – The year of BIM 360 Connectivity.

initial.aec will feature a variety additional blog posts on 2018 – The Year of BIM 360 Connectivity in the coming months.  Look for us on our website, in our e-News and via social media – Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter.