NEMETSCHEK HAS BIG GOALS for how it plans to leverage Bluebeam’s technology stack. Although the Group’s sibling companies often have their own BIM server solutions, it’s Bluebeam’s technology that seems destined to solve the transactional challenges that only a common data environment (CDE) can address.
Beyond BIM, the AEC industry’s key software players are now racing to solve the common data environment challenge, and Nemetschek feels Bluebeam has the required technology to excel in this endeavor. “One of Bluebeam’s strategic roles in the group is to offer leading-edge document and process functions to all the Nemetschek Group companies,” says Sean Flaherty, Chief Strategic Officer, Nemetschek Group. “Instead of trying to build something new or making another acquisition and link people to it, we found we already had the most broadly used platform in the whole industry.”
Beyond PDF—The Basis of Studio as CDE
Many people in AEC know of Bluebeam for its prevalent PDF-based Revu product line. The company touts that 94 percent of top US contractors and 92 percent of top design firms—as reported by Engineering News-Record—use Bluebeam Revu. What is less known in the industry is that Bluebeam Studio is a very capable AEC collaboration platform that is ideally suited for development into a CDE for the Group itself.
Instead of trying to build something new or making another acquisition and link people to it, we found we already had the most broadly used platform in the whole industry.
“As we looked at creating a common data environment (CDE) it became apparent that Studio is a place where over 12 billion transactions have already happened,” says Bluebeam CTO Don Jacob. The term “CDE” or common data environment isn’t a uniquely AEC industry-invented term. However, the folks at NBS (in the UK) do a fine job of defining its meaning relative to this industry.
“The common data environment (CDE) is a central repository where construction project information is housed. The contents of the CDE are not limited to assets created in a ‘BIM environment,’ and it will, therefore, include documentation, graphical model, and non-graphical assets.”
The goal of the usage of a CDE in the construction industry is to perpetuate the common rationale that a “single-source of truth” for data in the design, delivery, and maintenance of buildings should reduce mistakes and duplication of labor or work. The upside is obvious. CDE’s when implemented on AEC industry projects reduce liability due to decreased mistakes and increased project workflow efficiencies. Since the biggest challenge between AEC constituents is project coordination, a single collaboration environment as central to a CDE solution is vital.
In talking about why the Nemetschek Group chose to acquire Bluebeam back in 2014, Sean Flaherty said, “what attracted me to this platform was that Bluebeam was already broadly used as a cloud platform.” Cloud platforms or cloud technology come to the user in many forms. Some solutions come as SaaS (software as a service) solutions delivered via a web browser. Others operate in the foreground or background inside common desktop applications, like Evernote, the application I am using to write this story. Bluebeam Revu comes automatically with Studio and operates in this latter group; it operates in both the foreground and background of Revu.
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