Yesterday Apple may have introduced some exciting new iPads, with the iPad Air 2 in particular having very good relevancy to our story. But earlier in the month, and quite unnoticed by the general press that covers Apple, a German software company announced plans that will undoubtedly mean very good things for Apple in both the US and global construction industry.
Who are we talking about?
We are talking about German software company Nemetschek AG of Munich, Germany.
The global AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) industry giant, who owns innovative subsidiaries like Hungary’s Graphisoft and Germany’s Maxon, announced plans earlier this month to acquire US construction industry software darling Bluebeam Software, one of the most important software innovators bringing leading-edge workflows to the field. 74 percent of the top US construction companies, and some of the largest construction companies in the world, are using Bluebeam’s software.
Bluebeam Software makes sophisticated PDF-based CAD workflows possible for design and construction teams to solve complex and demanding collaboration and they do a great job at it. Which is why the company is a hot company in the market.
But the large construction companies that use Bluebeam’s tech in the office, in the construction trailer, and in the field on iPads have only recently begun to integrate Apple’s technologies and devices into their organizations. And the Mac hasn’t truly been a part of that story.
But things will change…and accelerate.
Apple and the Big Four
There are now basically four major software giants serving the global AEC market.¹ Until recently the three largest have largely ignored Apple. And they have had pretty good reasons to. But the fourth major AEC giant—Nemetschek AG—has massive amounts of AEC customers on Apple’s Mac platform and has for decades. Most of those have been on the design-side of the AEC design-build-operate spectrum but increasingly people on the construction side of building delivery are using Apple products. The so called “Halo Effect” has been working since the iPhone.
So what happens now that Nemetschek AG brings Bluebeam into the fold?
The intentions of that change are communicated clearly in our feature today by Nemetschek AG’s executive team in charge of group strategy.
With Nemetschek AG full of growing Mac customers expect to see synergies unfold. The company (Bluebeam Software) will first introduce a native Mac version of its Revu desktop software—which only exist on Windows at this moment.² As time goes on synergies between its Bluebeam Studio, Revu for iPad and Revu for desktop will surely integrate, and deeply over time, with Nemetschek AG’s design-side AEC CAD and BIM offerings.
A New Bridge
In a sense, what is happening is that a major global software giant is going to be able to deliver a true “connection” between the “design-side” of AEC and the “construction-side” of AEC. Right now that construction side, not just in the US but globally, is heavily not connected to Apple’s OS X environment, despite the popularity of its iOS (iPad and iPhone) environment. Once this “bridge” has been built, as in a new Mac native version of Bluebeam Revu for desktop, a tremendous amount of construction pros will be able to utilize Mac laptops and iMacs both at work and at home for anywhere access to their Bluebeam Studio-driven workflows.
But the beauty of this for the Nemetschek Group is that this bridge will work both ways. It will allow US construction giants to become more familiar with what the company has to offer them. Besides its many innovative design-side applications in BIM and CAD, it also possesses engineering solutions with serious technical prowess. Those tools are heavily used in Asia and Europe.
While this acquisition is clearly good for both companies, the spill-over effect for Apple cannot be under-estimated. After all, how many times must the press under-estimate this company anyway?
(1) – The four major AEC software giants can now be largely considered to be, in order of size, Autodesk, Trimble, Bentley, and Nemetschek AG. Back in 2010 Autodesk introduced a native version of AutoCAD for the Mac, which Architosh got the exclusive story behind its return. To be fair, Autodesk has been supporting Apple’s platforms robustly for many years and has a vast collection of iOS tools for iPad and iPhone. Trimble now owns modeling star SketchUp, which is very popular on the Mac platform, as well as Gehry Technologies’ GTeam solutions which are increasingly cross-platform. But to be truly fair, nearly all major AEC developers in the United States turned their back on Apple in the late 90’s. Only Nemetschek’s key subsidiaries, which got their start on Mac, didn’t turn away and persisted onward, for a host of reasons.
(2) – As recently as a couple of weeks ago and as long as a year ago Architosh noticed LinkedIn job posts for OS X developers for Bluebeam’s Mac ambitions. We don’t know of official details of a Mac product. We will get the accurate scoop on this soon hopefully however. Stay tuned!