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Monday, April 4, 2011

BIM & The Clouds

In my last post about Autodesk's Project Neon, it talks about rendering in the cloud.
Remember, every cloud has a silver lining, 20MB/Second connectivity speeds, 5G, 12 core multithreaded processors and 2 trillion terabytes of storage (no, none of these are real specs of anything, but they sound great). 

There's cloud storage, cloud computing, cloud processing, cloud file sharing, cloud collaboration and cloud remote hardware (particularly my favorite is VIrtual-Q.com who is one of my many partners). 

I use a service called SugarSync.com, where all my files get backed up to automatically and I can not only share individual files easily, but also share any folder and have you have that folder synced live in your computer.  No more need for FTP or email.  It's the ultimate in cloud based file coordination. 

So, why does the cloud get such a bad rap?  I'm thinking it's because so many architects have revision clouds all over their blueprints.  That's mainly an issue with CAD, lack of coordination and having to make changes later in the design process.  We don't have nearly that sort of problem with BIM and I think using the same name causes some confusion.

Can we say that many don't have their head in the clouds when thinking about converting to Revit and BIM, but they're in a fog and can't see a foot in front of them?

I got my pilot's license in 1992.  There are two types of pilot licenses.  VFR and IFR.  VFR stands for Visual Flight Rules and it means you can't fly in the clouds because clouds are spatially disorienting and you could find yourself upside down or crashing into another plane.  IFR stands for Instrument Flight Rules.  It means that you have gotten a lot of experience flying by instruments only and not needing to look outside the plane. You're using instruments and technology to get you where you need to go.  With IFR, you're always being watched on radar by Air Traffic Control (ATC) and they're working with you to coordinate your movements against other airplanes.

Wow, that sounds a lot like BIM.  Our ATC is called Autodesk Training Center and we're there to help you coordinate your work so you don't crash into other disciplines.  We're always there to watch you, support you and help you land that big project.

I must say, I didn't start this post out even thinking of the flying analogy, but this is my brain at 7am before I've had my espresso.  VFR is fine when you're alone, it's a sunny day and you're not going very far.  IFR is required for every commercial flight and for flying at certain altitudes and locations. 

Whenever someone complains to me about the weather when it's raining, I always say "It's always sunny above the clouds."  That's called VFR on top.  It happens when you're flying, and clouds form below you.  You're literally stuck above the clouds because you're not allowed to fly into the clouds.  You could actually run out of fuel when you can't find a clearing in the clouds.  VFR on top sounds lovely, but is actually quite dangerous.  It means you always have to be paying attention to what's going on around you.  What is your location?  How does the weather look outside?  How much fuel do you have left?  What altitude are you at?  Where are you going?  Are there radio reports of weather conditions that become a problem for you?  It is easy enough to hop into an airplane, choose a destination and start flying there, but many things can go wrong before you get there.

Yes, flying is much like architecture.  You have to watch out for the clouds and always worry about what's going on around you with coordination so you don't crash.  Keep your head out of the clouds and above the clouds.  Use the BIM cloud as you'll be able to get where you're going (100% complete and accurate construction documents). 

I hope none of this clouds your judgement and is the gold lining in your clouds. 


David Butts April 4, 2011 at 9:16 AM  

Being a baby boomer, I'm all about analogies...brilliantly said. Kind of the same with marriage, kids, fishing...if you fail once and never try again, how do you learn and succeed?

Nicely done...

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