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Learning from FaceBook
Another key feature of GTeam is the ability to do side-by-side comparisons with the data, watching how the project has evolved over time. Witt continues, “GTeam has a Facebook like timeline flow, so people can see what other people have done, what files they have uploaded, etcetera.” “You can also filter the timeline flow for particular actions.” Witt explained how powerful the search capabilities are and said that over time they will add in more granulated search abilities based on what users say they need.
When we asked about the importance of calendars and schedules Andrew Witt said that GTeam is not a project calendaring application. At least not yet. “It’s not for calendaring,” said Andrew Witt. “What our calendar does allow is for us to look back at a particular “state” of the project, at any point in time. That solves a lot of ‘he-said, she-said’ problems.” Witt also told us another point of using the built-in calendar is for doing “releases.” You can actually setup calendar events for when things are due or for specific releases.
As for that other activity common to the new social web? Yes, commenting! Well, GTeam has support for that too. You can comment on files, actions and specific people. Commenting is structured around the whole of GTeam’s focus, which is largely file-centric.
Platforms and Messaging
And speaking of comments. One primary activity and use of GTeam is commenting and messaging information about the BIM data. This is achieved directly in the Web-based user interface of GTeam. When we checked into GTeam upon its discovery, the advanced 3D viewing features were mostly limited to a 3D viewing web plugin application that was only for Windows at that time. This will change very soon I’m told to continuously improve the user experience.
“The plugin allows for you to drill into the specifics of the BIM data. It is super powerful and allows things like sectioning,” said Andrew Witt. (see image 06) “We definitely have plans to roll out the plugin to the Mac platform and will be doing that shortly.” This is important to fulfill their marketing philosophy on GTeam because the plugin provides 3D capabilities like 3D measuring, 3D clash detection, 3D annotation and the already mentioned 3D sectioning which is quite powerful. (see image 07 below)
The company also knows just how popular the iPad is in the AEC world and plans to implement more of the advanced functionality carried out on the desktop eventually on the mobile platforms like iOS. Before we wrap this article up we want to mention another key item which we asked about. And that is keeping files synchronized on servers. We already know from the GTeam website that file synchronization is one of its key abilities, but servers are commonly used even in smaller practices. The short answer is yes you can synch to servers in addition to directly to your workstation or laptop. Many companies are using this functionality to enhance their data backup procedures.
We think Gehry Technologies’ GTeam is very promising. It’s key killer feature may in the end be its ability to work with so many different BIM and CAD file types, truly offering a neutralized, open, common platform available to every participant in the AECO industry regardless of their internal or industry-favored information technology preferences. Given the large transformation going on throughout the technology industry, with new mobile platforms and the resurgence of Apple’s Mac, this is more important then ever.
The fact that they see tech evolutions like Facebook and its “timeline” or “wall” view so clearly for what it is is also extremely noteworthy, in much the same way as Finnish-based CadFaster and Hungary-based Graphisoft sees the importance of “texting” and IM to the process of team collaboration. What we see is Gehry Technologies clearly having its eye on the emergent trends taking shape in culture and technology. Like a good surfer who can spot a great wave shaping up out in the distance, GT is spotting vital trends and acting on them in their product strategy.
Finally, we can’t help but be enthused about any product that gets the importance of the wide and growing use of Apple’s Mac and iOS platforms. The iPad in particular. We tested the GTeam interface on the iPad and while not all features were completely done at the time we were using it the overall implementation looked very solid.
The company is officially unveiling its pricing schemes and offerings this October. We look forward to learning more and seeing GTeam evolve. To learn more visit them online here: www.gehrytechnologies.com/ or www.gteam.com