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Friday, November 2, 2012

My take on the VICO purchase and future of Trimble for Construction

I just texted a friend of mine at Autodesk about the the Vico purchase by Trimble.  After doing a little more research which you can peruse below, I believe that Trimble really snuck in under the radar and will own the subcontractor, fabrication and construction markets. My friend at Autodesk surmises that Trimble will have difficulty figuring out how to integrate these new technologies, but they have been in the construction industry for a very long time, so I think they'll get there a lot faster than other companies.  They have their tentacles with every contractor and subcontractor, so I think they have a much shorter path to get to 270, uh, I mean 360.

Why?  Because their tools are speeding up the construction process and making it more efficient to track building components and will be use for logistics, jobsite layouts, where to store construction materials, tie into scheduling programs and they have the tools for laser scanning before, during and after a project and they can link in the fabricated components with the point cloud and a 3D model for facility management.  It all makes sense now why they bought SketchUp, and I already figured out the Tekla angle tying fabrication to Total Station as soon as that happened.

All the money is in construction.  Sure, Navisworks may do clash detection, but now with Vico, who knows where they will take all of this.  Construction management, scheduling, field BIM, logistics, point clouds, 3D modeling, fabrication.

You model the steel in Tekla, view it in Tekla BIMsite, tie it into Total Station, manage the construction schedule with Vico, capture it all with their  point cloud scanners and view it on an iPad for facility management.  Brilliant!

Next week, Trimble is having their annual conference.

I found all of the classes with BIM in the description and I wish I knew about this sooner so I could attend these sessions.  The last section is a list of all of Trimble's acquisitions over the past few years and some brief descriptions.  I had no idea how many companies they've acquired.

Yup.  Trimble really did a great job and I can't wait to see where their strategy takes them.


AD-20102 - Extending SketchUp: Exploring the SketchUp Plugin Universe
SketchUp’s plugin ecosystem is expansive and powerful. In this session, we’ll explore some of the most powerful SketchUp plugins for site planning, building information modeling (BIM), energy analysis, reporting and analysis, and more. You’ll also learn how firms are taking control of SketchUp’s powerful API to customize their own plugins and modeling solutions.

BCGC-20112 - Having All The Technology In The World Doesn’t Solve Your Facilities Model Management Needs.
Trimble Navigation has traditionally leased the office space it occupies. With the decision to build a new 125,000 SF office building for its Westminster, Colorado campus, Trimble’s Building Construction Division and Trimble’s internal facilities team suddenly found themselves in the role of “Owner.” In this new role, Trimble quickly realized the need to define the facilities management scope of their new property. As with all of Trimble’s endeavors, technology would be a key player. As a BIM technology provider, Trimble certainly knew what was possible – and how to leverage their technology to make it happen. However, Trimble did not fully understand what specific facilities data was needed from the model to manage the building. What model deliverables should be provided by the design and construction team? What database should be used? Should standards such as COBie be implemented? With all the technology one could imagine to facilitate data gathering, sharing and coordination, supported by a competent project team that consisted of OZ Architects, JE Dunn, Structural Consultants Inc., and many others, it would seem that Trimble “stacked the deck” in favor of making the process easy. After all, one would think that having the technology and a team to push any aspect of the building data into the model would make the process of deciding what data would be needed easier. Trimble quickly found they were mired in too many options (knowing too much) and had to take a step back. As an owner, not a technology provider, Trimble’s path of understanding facilities management is the crux of the presentation. It is a path that was influenced by a vast universe of possibilities unencumbered by traditional technology roadblocks. Taking in to consideration the long-term building management “must-haves” all the way down to the “nice-to-haves”, the Trimble facilities team was able to agree upon a set of deliverables and model inclusions to support their needs. By articulating these desires early in the process, the design and construction team was able to create the proper data workflows, actions, and technology inflections that would facilitate Trimble’s needs when it came time to project handover. The unique use of technology to drive data into the model and the workflow to support the proper exchanges from subcontractor to general contractor (and back) are just as much a part of the story as the facilities management process. It is the delicate balance of technology and practical use cases that are part of the lessons learned bestowed to the audience as part of the presentation.

BCGC-20305 - Improving Project Results with BIM Tools--Whether It Is A BIM Project Or Not
With the growth of BIM and Virtual Design workflows in the construction industry, many contractors are feeling the pressure to make the leap to BIM. This session will provide guidance on ways that contractors with little or no BIM experience can use Tekla Structures and Tekla BIMsight in a non-BIM project to improve profitability, productivity, and predictability while gaining valuable knowledge that will smooth the transition to a full BIM workflow. Attendees will also learn how to use Tekla Structures to produce more accurate quantity takeoffs, schedules, and field layout.

BCMP-20104 - Ask the Expert : Trimble Field Link for MEP
Since introducing the first layout solution designed specifically for building construction, Trimble has been setting the standard for other to try and follow. In recent years, the construction layout solutions from Trimble have offered numerous advancements including the release of Trimble Field Link: a tablet PC based software with improved worklows and increased capabilities for performing construction layout and as-builts as well as the RTS773 robotic total station which allows contractors the ability to view and document the job site from the instrument’s position. These releases are only the first in a long line of improvements designed to help contractors take BIM to the Field. Many of these changes are driven by technology advancements while others are driven by changes in the construction landscape. Attendees of this session will be the first so learn about and see a live demonstration of how Trimble is expanding the ways in which a construction organization can understand their productivity and progress on a job

BCE-20102 - BIM + Build Case Study – New Trimble Building
Technology is a major contributing factor in driving a contractor’s competitive edge. See how Trimble leveraged its technology solutions with the construction team for their new building that is underway in Westminster, Colorado. • Design - CAD/BIM * Trimble Design Link * Quickpen PipeDesigner 3D • Estimating * Quickpen AutoBid * Accubid Estimating * Accubid LiveCount Pro • 3D BIM coordination * Tekla BIMsight • Fabrication * Vulcan • Field Point location * Trimble Filed Link for MEP * Trimble RTS Series Robotic Total Stations • Laser Scanning * Trimble CX 3D Laser Scanner

BCGC-20201-P - BIM and the Robotic Total Station
Building Information Modeling is both a tool and a process for developing highly accurate digital prototypes of construction projects. Using Autodesk Revit or Tekla Structures, this digital building prototype can be used to feed 3D location information into the the Trimble Robotic Total Station to enable accurate, efficient layout. Some specific points that will be covered are: - Developing the workflow to enable this information flow - The role of the BIM execution plan for ensuring success - Common pitfalls - Case studies


Trimble acquired XYZ Solutions, Inc., of Alpharetta, Georgia in October of 2006. XYZ Solutions provides real-time, interactive 3D intelligence software to manage the spatial aspects of a construction project. The software transforms data from various sources into actionable information that can be used in the decision making process to reduce rework and improve productivity for engineering and construction professionals. XYZ Solutions' unique 3D software package allows users to model spatial information combined with positioning technologies to virtually "see" a construction site or asset, from anywhere, at any time, in a collaborative Internet-based environment. Within its interactive environment, decision support guidelines or business rules can be integrated into the solution set to virtually model "what-if" scenarios on a project in real-time increasing customer awareness and profitability. The acquisition of XYZ Solutions adds a 3D visualization component to Trimble's Connected Construction Site strategy.

Trimble and Caterpillar announced a second joint venture in October 2008. The new company, VirtualSite Solutions, will integrate the deep expertise of both parent companies in the areas of product design and software development to transform the way contractors manage their businesses. The joint venture will create information rich worksites allowing customers to more efficiently and safely manage their equipment fleets, reduce operating costs and improve productivity in the area of fuel consumption, maintenance, worksite productivity and fleet logistics. Additionally, a new distribution channel will be established to bring these technologies to customers and other users. The new dealer distribution channel will be branded SITECH, and it will be the outlet for products and services for the aftermarket. Trimble will have primary responsibility for managing the SITECH dealer relationship.

Also in October of 2010, Trimble acquired the business of ThingMagic, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts. ThingMagic is a leading developer of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology and offers advanced development services to facilitate the integration of RFID into a wide range of applications. The acquisition expands Trimble's technology portfolio and will enable the company to provide additional productivity solutions in its served industries.

In July of 2011, Trimble completed the tender offer for all of the issued and outstanding shares in Tekla Corporation (NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd: TLA1V) ("Tekla") through its subsidiary Trimble Finland Oy. Tekla is a leading provider of Building Information Modeling ("BIM") software, with more than 5,000 customers worldwide in the construction industry. Tekla also offers model driven solutions for customers in the infrastructure and energy industries (in particular energy distribution, public administration and civil engineering and utilities). Headquartered in Espoo, Finland, with a U.S. office in Atlanta, Georgia, Tekla has approximately 500 employees and operations in 15 countries worldwide. The integration of Tekla's BIM software solutions with Trimble's building construction estimating, project management and BIM-to-field solutions will enable a compelling set of productivity solutions for contractors around the world. Additionally, Tekla's infrastructure and energy solutions will complement Trimble's growing portfolio of utilities and municipalities solutions. Clients around the world will benefit from dedicated workflows and productivity solutions that are unmatched in the construction industry today. Additionally, Trimble's significant global customer base will immediately extend Tekla's customer reach, while Tekla's global presence in the building and construction market will bolster Trimble's own customer reach.

In January of 2012, Trimble acquired the StruCad and StruEngineer business from AceCad Software to expand its construction solutions. The addition of the software products is expected to extend Tekla's industry leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) solutions for structural steel contractors to automate project estimating and management, modeling and detailing.



YearCompany AcquiredAcquired Technology/Impacted Industry
1989Navigation Systems Division of TAU CorporationFleet Management
1990Datacom Software Research Ltd.Survey and Mapping Software
2000Spectra Precision GroupPositioning solutions for construction, surveying and agricultural markets
2000Tripod Data Systems (TDS)Data collection software and hardware for the land survey, construction and GIS markets
2003Applanix CorporationSystems that integrate Inertial Navigation System (INS) and GPS technologies
2003MENSI S.A.Terrestrial 3D scanning technology
2004TracerNet CorporationWireless fleet management solutions
2004GeoNav GmbHField data collection solutions for the cadastral survey market
2005Pacific CrestWireless communication technologies
2005Apache Technologies, Inc.Laser products for construction leveling and alignment
2005MobileTech SolutionsField workforce automation
2006Advanced Public Safety, Inc. (APS)Mobile and handheld software products used by law enforcement, fire-rescue and other public safety agencies
2006The XYZs of GPS, Inc (Acquired intellectual property assets)Real-time GNSS reference station, integrity monitoring and dynamic positioning software
2006Quantm International, Inc. and its subsidiary Quantm LtdTransportation route optimization software
2006Eleven Technology, Inc.Mobile application software
2006BitWyse Solutions, Inc2D and 3D software applications for engineering and construction plant design
2006Visual Statement IncSoftware tools for crime and collision incident investigation, analysis and reconstruction
2006XYZ Solutions, IncReal-time, interactive 3D intelligence software
2006Meridian Systems, Inc.Construction project management technologies
2006Spacient TechnologiesEnterprise field service management and mobile mapping solutions for municipalities and utilities
2007@Road,Inc.Mobile technologies
2007INPHO GmbHPhotogrammetry and digital surface modeling
2007Ingenieurbüro BreiningField data collection and office survey software solutions (German market)
2007UtilityCenter® assets from privately-held UAI, IncAutomated workflow solutions for utilities market
2008Crain Enterprises, IncAccessories for the geomatics, surveying, mapping, and construction industries
2008HHK Datentechnik GmbHOffice and field software solutions for the cadastral survey market in Germany
2008Géo-3D Inc.Roadside infrastructure asset inventory solutions
2008SECO Manufacturing CompanyEngineering and construction accessories
2008Acquired the assets of RolleiMetric from Rollei GmbHMetric Camera Systems
2008Acquired assets of Tru Count, Inc.Air and electric clutches for agriculture
2008TopoSys GmbHAerial data collection systems
2008Rawson Control SystemsHydraulic and electronic controls for the agriculture equipment industry
2008FastMap and GeoSite software assets from KORECOptimized software for Mapping and GIS
2009Assets of Callidus Precision Systems GmbH3D laser scanning for industrial market
2009QuickPen InternationalBuilding Information Modeling (BIM) for HVAC, mechanical construction and plumbing industries
2009NTech IndustriesCrop sensing technology
2009Acutest Engineering Solutions, Ltd.Vehicle diagnostics and telematics technologies
2009Assets of CTN Data Service, LLCIntegrated office and mobile software solutions for agriculture professionals and farmers
2010Pondera Engineers LLCSoftware tools for siting, designing, optimizing, and maintaining high-voltage power transmission and distribution lines
2010LET SystemsIncident and outage management system (OMS) solutions for utilities
2010Definiens' Earth Sciences business assetseCognition® software, an image analysis software suite for geospatial applications
2010Accubid SystemsProject management and service management software and services for electrical and mechanical contractors
2010Cengea Solutions IncSpatially-enabled business operations and supply chain management software for the forestry, agriculture and natural resource industries
2010Terralite assets from NovariantXPS technology
2010ThingMagic, Inc.RFID Technology
2010Tata AutoComp Mobility Telematics LimitedTelematics solutions and Mobile Resource Management services in India
2010Punch Telematix NV (rebranded as Trimble Transport & Logistics)Telematics and transport management solutions for the transport and logistics sector
2011Suite of software solutions from Mesta Entreprenør ASSoftware suite for Nordic construction market
2011Assets related to the OmniSTAR™ from Fugro N.V.Land-based correction services
2011GEDO CE Trolley System and software were acquired from Sinning Vermessungsbedarf GmbHGEDO CE Trolley System and Software for Railway
2011Ashtech S.A.SSurvey solutions
2011Dynamic Survey Solutions, Inc.Survey solutions for seismic surveying
2011MyTopoPrint and digital maps for outdoor enthusiasts
2011Yamei Electronics Technology, Co. LtdAutomotive electronics products
2011Tekla CorporationBIM Software
2011PeopleNetOnboard computing and mobile communications systems for fleet management
2012StruCad and StruEngineer business from AceCad SoftwareSoftware to extend BIM solutions[5]
2012Plancal of Horgen3D CAD/CAE and ERP software provider
2012GatewingUAVs, aerial surveying solutions
2012SketchUp3D Modeling Tool
2012Refraction Technology, Inc.Seismic sensors and high-frequency data logging systems


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