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AIA: Unity Brings Unity Reflect to Real-Time BIM

Unity Reflect will save customers time and money by giving AEC professionals the ability to export BIM data natively from Autodesk Revit and expanding collaborative real-time 3D experiences on any device.

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As we begin rolling out our AIA and KCC reports we start with one of the top stories coming out of the AIA National Convention and Exhibition. Gaming technology giant Unity Technologies announced Unity Reflect, a first of its kind product aimed squarely at the AEC market and partnered with Autodesk Revit.

Unity Reflect and Revit

Unity aims to unlock the value of BIM data by putting it in the hands of as many users and stakeholders as possible and the game giant’s vast support of platforms and devices achieves this.

Unity Reflect is a client application running on multiple devices and operating systems, from desktop to smartphones. A Revit plugin exports BIM and CAD data in just one click. With Unity Reflect design changes back in the authoring platform (Revit) will automatically sync across any device in real-time, empowering multiple stakeholders to view everything in context and quickly make changes.

An image of the Unity Reflect product on a tablet device.

“Unity’s real-time 3D technology provides value at every stage of the design, build and operate lifecycle for buildings and infrastructure,” said John Riccitiello, Chief Executive Officer, Unity Technologies. “Together with Autodesk, we are unlocking the value of BIM data by putting it directly in the hands of any AEC professional to explore design options, solve complex engineering issues, and accelerate construction projects through real-time immersive experiences.”

As project timelines become tighter, it becomes imperative for project stakeholders across the AEC industry to collaborate effectively and make design iterations quickly. Unity Reflect will solve this hard problem by creating an interactive 3D experience that is live-linked to the original design application. When changes are made in Revit, such as relocating a door, adding windows or adjusting materials, it will be automatically reflected in Unity Reflect in real-time. Unity Reflect will also enable access of interactive 3D experiences across 25+ platforms from anywhere in the world – collaborators won’t need to be in the same room – or on the same device – to make real-time changes.

“Our collaboration with Unity is important because visualization has become a vital part of the design process, particularly in the AEC industry where time is money,” said Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk president and CEO. “Real-time, immersive experiences are becoming the norm, and this integration with Autodesk Revit cuts down on dead time between revisions and meetings which is critical to giving our shared customers a competitive edge.”

Broad Partnership with Autodesk

Unity Reflect is a part of a larger collaborative partnership between Autodesk and Unity that includes both AEC and MCAD product ranges that will bring Unity’s real-time visualization technologies to BIM and CAD professionals on Autodesk platforms.

Unity Reflect quickly enables users to view specific layers of BIM model data types, like MEP items, and in real-time with live-sync to authoring tools.

The goal is to spend less time translating data from multiple file format types and more time working with collaborators more quickly. In addition to the out of the box support for Autodesk Revit, Unity has developed a series of APIs that will allow other applications to publish and sync to the Unity Reflect framework.

Unity Reflect will be available in the November timeframe.

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

Both Pete Evans and I spent a good amount of time seeing the Unity Reflect product in action and talking deeper details. The game technology companies like Unity have great technology for optimizing CAD industry 3D models, making them lighter and more responsive for real-time work, including LOD (level of detail) technology that varies the LOD based on how far away the model elements are from the fulcrum of the viewport’s camera. 

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