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Flaherty] I don't see us moving into civil. The calculation
requirements are so different than are normal customers' requirements.
To get into full highway design enters into a whole other
realm of requirements and it would be a big move for us. GIS
is something we'd move into before civil. It's more closely
related to our current products. In
some parts of the world you have to geo-reference all your
information and put it into a regional master plan electronically.
sure you must have heard the news from the recent E3 gaming
show about the new console machines.
I think the writing is clearly on the wall that the gaming
world now leads the computer industry in pure 3D calculation
performance requirements and, obviously, in the R&D that is
going into this market. How do you see this technology shift
affecting the CAD industry?
I agree with you. I think it's exciting because these games
are trying to do virtual environments with lit fog and full
shadow casting. And in real time.
a sense a product like SketchUp is an architectural game reapplied
to the AEC market and Nemetschek is moving in that direction.
Video cards are doing far more now and there is a sliding
scale of what can be done on a card. Apple's Quartz Extreme
in Mac OS X is largely card hosted. We will be putting more
code on the card aggressively over time.
talk about Apple for a second. So, what do you think about
Apple's new Tiger OS?
great. Tiger has across-the-board speed improvements for us.
Even older QuickDraw calls are faster. And the selection is
Mac CAD companies like Graphisoft and Ashlar Vellum have come
out with announcements on Tiger Spotlight compatibility. Do
you see Spotlight on the horizon?
are taking a look at it. We've actually needed a cross-platform
search engine for both platforms. So we don't know about Spotlight
made dramatic announcements at last year's WWDC (worldwide
developers conference) which didn't get much press at the
time because it was at the development level. They announced
a set of "deprecated" systems which included a lot of very
commonly used Carbon calls. For us it was a gigantic announcement
because of the impact on our future development.
does deprecated systems mean exactly?
a list of calls that Apple says...they will no longer guarantee
they will work with future versions of Mac OS X. This was
a huge moment for us because we have a lot of legacy code.
It clarified for us what we needed to fix, what we needed
to focus on -- and where we could spend our energy. As we've
talked about before, you know that VectorWorks has a core
and a shell. Our C++ core is most important to us. PowerPlant
is deprecated now. Apple won't break it purposely but they
may not fix it either.
your Macintosh shell based on the PowerPlant framework?
of the shell is PowerPlant based. Dialogs are now cross-platform.
We realized a while back that we need to have a C++ framework
for writing our dialogs...so we wrote our own so it would
be easy to update the program across platforms.
do you think Apple is doing in helping developers? Do you
guys attend WWDC every year?
does a great job with all of its shows. And we make it a part
to send at least two programmers to WWDC every year.
this has been an interesting talk and I really appreciate
you taking the time. I know you have a plane to catch as you
head out to AIA but again I just want to say congratulations
on your new CEO post and I wish you the best.
you...I always enjoy these discussions.
Sean and I conducted this phone interview the day before the
AIA National Convention in Las Vegas, I was wondering if the
announcement timing with that conference had anything special
built into it. I thought perhaps there was a new product on
the horizon for the architecture market. No, actually, as
Sean explained it the timing was purely a coincidence. Richard
Diehl's contract with Nemetschek AG was ending the same day
as the AIA convention. While Nemetschek North America was
at the convention there was no "new" news.
our conversation Sean discussed several things that surprised
me and a few of them warrant more indepth reporting. I was
particularly interested in his view of the BIM market situation
and his sharp observations about SketchUp's popularity. As
most of you know I practice in a fairly good size architecture
firm daily and his comments about the world of US architectural
CAD seem dead on with my day-to-day realities.
and Emphasis -
predominance of 2D (Autocad) CAD is still squarely in areas
which many of us would not be surprised to hear about. Namely,
the 2D CAD market is often centered further downstream from
the architect to where the shop drawings are getting produced.
But not always. I am currently working on a project where
a national timber-frame manufacturer is doing everything in
3D models using a Swiss CAD product that talks directly to
their CNC milling equipment. When I asked this company why
they left 2D CAD they said it had everything to do with the
production efficiency of manufacturing timber frames. In short,
they can cut wood faster!
you contrast that reality with the reality that architects
love a product like SketchUp which essentially makes 'planes
in space' you highlight one of the fundamental challenges
about BIM. That being that not every player involved cares
about the same stuff. What's going to make the perfect BIM
product very tough to ever produce is the fact that the efficiencies
lie in very different places for different participants in
the AEC process. This is an age old problem. Many architects
are simply not tuned in to the goals of the builder and the
builder is just as guilty about not being tuned in to the
goals of the architect.
suggestion that there are really two types of BIM mirrors
this reality that construction and manufacturing professionals
have very different views and motivations within the AEC enterprise
as compared to design-based colleagues. Architects and interior
designers in particular derive much of their market value
via their creativity, innovation and design judgment.
in the Market -
that long ago there were raging debates about what architects
in particular should be valued for in society. If you ask
someone in the construction industry they often give a self-serving
answer. If you ask an AEC product manufacturer they too will
often give a self-serving answer. They don't mean anything
by it per se, it's just their vision being shaped by
their business' view on the market.
clients and the public at large are seeing the world a bit
differently now. They see design professionals with a capital
'D' -- and they are placing more and more value in that. We
live in the Martha
Steward era. The era of the Bilboa
Museum and the iPod.
And perhaps more importantly, the era of BMW's
being built in America. At this time design matters more
then ever and consumers of design are willing to downgrade
even substance issues such as nationality and origin of manufacture.
comments that there is Design-BIM and Construction-BIM fits
nicely into this changing view of the world. In an age when
machines are fashion accessories...and when even good
design can turn Apple stores into places to 'hang out'
then -- yes, I think Sean is right. The good news for software
developers is, it just means more differentiation and more
products for the market. ---- ANTHONY FRAUSTO-ROBLEDO,
EIC, - 5 June 2005
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