What has been in the making for many years now has finally been unveiled by the founders of M-SIX, a team of veteran CAD industry folks behind what is shaping up to be a very promising and ambitious new BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology for the AEC industry.
VEO™ by M-SIX shipped quietly for the market two weeks ago but the company sent out a big announcement only this week and pointed press and those interested to its fully updated website where videos demonstrate how VEO works on both the desktop and Apple’s iOS-based iPad device.
What is VEO
VEO could be described several ways. Categorically VEO is a BIM software tool. But functionally VEO is a project collaboration and document management (PCDM) tool and system for the AEC and FM (facilities management) industry segments. It consist of desktop, server software and software for the iPad. Users can deploy it hosted in the M-SIX VEO™ Cloud, use it on their own cloud, or serve it internally behind their own firewall.
The introduction page on the VEO website contains nine distinct areas of explanation for VEO (see image 01 above). As a BIM tool it can handle super-sized projects (something not every BIM tool is good at). With it you can create a complete facilities management archive. It enables contextual collaboration. Importantly, it tracks all model changes and provides a linear time-based history. Users have flexibility in options for deployment. There is complete mobile access via Apple’s iPad but we’ll touch more on that in a second. It provides role-specific views of the BIM model. It provides accelerated communication without the latency of file-based model aggregation. And lastly it works with real-time sensor data. (see image 02-04)
What does VEO Look Like
VEO’s user-interface, from what we can see in the videos on its website, is well organized, clean and modern. It resembles, at quick glance, the interfaces of well-regarded 3D tools like Luxology’s modo and MAXON’s CINEMA 4D, with a scheme of dark and blueish grays with clear accent colors for “mouse-over” and toggle functions of various buttons.
The iPad app for the VEO tool is more recognizable as a typical iOS application with the classic Apple iOS UI elements. It is not quite clear to us all of the functionality of the iPad VEO app, but one thing we believe is that it does not replicate all the technology of VEO on the desktop. In fact, the iPad VEO app seems more geared towards mobility functions as they would relate to what VEO does as a BIM platform.
[Editor's note: It is not fruitful to search the iTunes store for the VEO iPad app. We did that and did not find anything yet. In fact TD Ameritrade has an app called Veo.]
VEO utilizes its own 3D engine and file format. The program today is setup to export out model data from popular BIM tool Autodesk Revit. It should be stated that M-SIX has been partially funded by Autodesk and that some of its key members are ex-early Revit Corporation employees. That being said we have heard this directly from them on a few occasions that they understand the world of BIM to be more than just about Autodesk Revit and have ambitious plans to support other tools and platforms.
Today VEO communicated to Architosh an informal list of other BIM authoring packages which they plan to provide VEO exporters for. “Plans are already underway” was the exact message. There are “also plans for an Apple OS X version of VEO” but the statement clearly said plans and not “underway” plans. Also, last year Nemetschek Vectorworks announced a partnership with M-SIX on a VEO connector plugin development, which you can read here. (see our Analysis section below for more).
next page: Some Highlights of VEO