Recently Gehry Technologies (GT), an AEC software technology company founded by award-winning American architect Frank Gehry, spoke to Architosh about its new GTeam online BIM collaboration tool. Architosh had previously broke the story about the upcoming GTeam SaaS (software as a service) offering and covered its official press release, but in this feature article we sit down and hear directly from Andrew Witt, Director of Research, and Matt Reid, Senior Vice President of Marketing, at Gehry Technologies, about what is happening with GTeam and how Frank Gehry feels about this new tool.
Some History of Gehry Technologies
Before we start we should begin by reviewing the corporate history of this software and services company. Gehry Technologies was founded in 2002 as a spin-off of the technology of Gehry Partners, the world-famous architecture firm. Frank Gehry’s architecture firm was already a technology company itself, having developed special tools and processes in order to help realize the commissions of its clients. The primary technology at that time at GT was its customized use of Dassault Systemes’ CATIA software, an industrial strength mechanical computer-aided design system used by aerospace companies like Boeing.
In 2005 Gehry Technologies formerly launched Digital Project, its customized CATIA platform and called it its BIM offering. This added to the industry’s existent four first-class BIM offerings from companies in the US and Europe. However, the modified CATIA-based Digital Project is quite complex to master and its take-up within the industry has primarily been to both large-scale and elite architectural firms and their commissions. It is fair to say that GT’s Digital Project has been utilized over the past decade on the largest, most complex and tallest structures in the world.
From 2005 to the present GT continued to grow but adapted and became a services company, offering its many AEC clients a range of services helping them tackle extremely large and complex buildings. GT now has more than 100 consultants in 10 offices around the world with five offices alone in Asia. In 2012 the company raised $10 million dollars in a Series B financing led by CAD giants Autodesk and Dassault Systemes.
Learning from Services and the Frank’s Legacy
Today GT (Gehry Technologies) is truly a services company. In fact, its primary revenues are coming from the services groups deployed around the globe. “After ten years of being on the services side of the business, we’ve learned a lot about collaborating on data and on what is necessary for projects to be completed,” said Matt Reid, Senior Vice President of Marketing at GT.
What actually happened over time is that GT started creating a tool for itself to help gain a competitive advantage but also–and more importantly–to provide the BIM data to those who may not have access to it. “Essentially one of the goals of GTeam is to commercialize a platform we have used here at GT for many years,” said Reid.
“Collaboration is really difficult,” said Reid, “we get a lot of feedback from people we are working with…about people using the wrong version of files, not being able to access the 3D data due to format incompatibility…” In today’s AEC industry, firms are largely still using FTP sites, emailing files, and turning things into Adobe PDFs. But GT thinks there is a better way. “We know there are tools out there for collaboration but we make an easy-to-use file sharing and collaboration solution that is purpose built for BIM data and our industry,” said Reid.
“And this is also Frank Gehry’s vision,” added Reid. “Gehry Partners is using it on many of their projects. So this is a big part of his legacy to the field and we’re excited to work with customers on building a better collaboration platform that’s readily accessible and available to the industry.” (see image 01)
Next Page: Origins of GTeam and Who Has Used It