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Interview: CadFaster of Finland talks to Architosh about BIM and Mobility

In this special feature interview, Tuomas Holma, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at CadFaster of Finland, talks to us about their company’s innovative cloud and mobile software products for CAD industries. We cover the company’s positioning, product history, Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Apple’s iPad among other things. And not to be forgotten, we ask about CadFaster Collaborate coming to the Mac.

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AFR: So what is happening now with CadFaster | QuickStep. Did MyCadbox replace it or are they two separate apps?

TH: Although we believe MyCadbox will benefit most QuickStep users, we will have CadFaster | QuickStep as well. Some people prefer software that works completely without an Internet connection so we want to provide them that option to use QuickStep.

AFR: Do you consider CadFaster a BIM application?

TH: BIM is about collaboration, sharing of data and information for intelligent decision making. Although a lot of the BIM debate revolves around BIM authoring tools, many other tools are needed to get the information to use. CadFaster provides an app for sharing 3D related information. It is one piece in the BIM puzzle.


AFR: How influential is the Finland AEC industry on your product’s strategic direction and how does it compare to other markets abroad?

TH: Finland is an interesting BIM country in the sense that Finnish Common BIM Requirements were first published already in 2007 by Senate Properties (government property owner) and then maintained and updated by buildingSMART Finland. So they have very much embraced open BIM standard development and utilization much the same way as in Norway, for example.

Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs) are widely used in Finland in BIM collaboration. Finnish software companies such as Tekla, Solibri and Progman (MagicCAD), among others, have contributed to the development of open standards, tools and practices. So I think Finland is a great place for AEC software development. For CadFaster, however, it was crucial to look at wider market possibilities so we have focused on the International markets from the very beginning. One of our key focus markets has been the UK for the simple reason that I am based there. UK has been making great advances in BIM recently thanks to cooperation between industry and the government.

AFR: Speaking of governments, how big is your largest customer or client using CadFaster? Are there governments in Finland, UK or elsewhere who are actively using CadFaster | Collaborate?

TH: We are mostly working with corporate customers but we have cooperated with some universities and given them free licenses. Our biggest customer has about 1,000 architects and they have a firm-wide license for CadFaster | Collaborate. At the other end, we have many customers who are much smaller in size. This just shows how versatile CadFaster | Collaborate is.

AFR: It shows that CadFaster scales. Not all products do.

TH: Yes.

AFR: CadFaster is an excellent real-time communication tool and not just for multi-party real-time model viewing, does this mean your company could promote this to the product design markets? And if so, will you go beyond the Solidworks market?

TH: Referring to my earlier answer on target markets, yes this is very much what we could do and what we plan on doing with MyCadbox. We are initially testing the market with STEP support but plan to go way beyond that with our future releases. Our future goal is to converge CadFaster | Collaborate with MyCadbox in order to bring ease of sharing to AEC users as well.

02 - The arrows and feet icons are touch-based controls for the walk-thru mode.

03 - A view showing the commenting interface for collaboration with teams.

AFR: Beyond BIM many architects use Trimble’s SketchUp for design models and share these as well. Do you intend to support sharing of SketchUp models either via MyCadbox or a CadFaster product? And if not why?

TH: Plug-in development and support is very time consuming so we want to avoid additional plug-ins. We hope to increase the number of native formats supported using import libraries. Unfortunately, there are not many open libraries for the AEC side.

next page: Understanding CadFaster the Tool

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