RECENTLY TECH SOFT 3D RELEASED HOOPS 2022 technologies to the larger CAD industry vis-a-vis its industry-leading SDK (software development kit) offerings. The Oregon-based software firm is a significant contributor to technical advancements in the larger AEC and MCAD software industries, but end-users don’t have a direct relationship with it. Instead, leading major CAD technology software firms employ Tech Soft 3D’s technologies to power their market solutions.
Architosh had a chance to speak with Ron Fritz, CEO, and Co-Founder of Tech Soft 3D, and Jonathan Girroir, Senior Manager, Developer Relations, Tech Soft 3D.
Growth in AEC
With the recent HOOPS 2022 product family release, Tech Soft 3D clearly showed accelerated market movement in this space. “We have supported IFC for years now,” says Jonathan Girrior, “but now our support is taking on more advanced concepts—basically the data that sits on top of solids. We do a great job with the geometry today, but new capabilities involving the metadata associated with that geometry will help our developers in making more intelligent tools.”
As soon as developers were using our technologies for IFC and Revit they would say to us, ‘you know what else we need? You need support for DGN and Navisworks.’
In HOOPS 2022, there are new capabilities to address a paradigm in IFC known as “regions.” Girrior explained that traversing those regions (technically known as “spatial relationships” in IFC parlance) for data can be helpful to developers for various reasons, like area take-offs functionalities to where a general contractor puts workers on the job site inside a construction (4D) planning app.
To better support AEC industry clients, Tech Soft 3D is working on supporting the DGN and Navisworks file formats as part of its HOOPS SDKs. It is currently under development. “As soon as developers were using our technologies for IFC and Revit they would say to us, ‘you know what else we need? You need to support DGN and Navisworks,’ ” says Ron Fritz.
Fritz says Bentley isn’t driving this support for DGN as a customer but by demand within the larger industry. “We started with IFC, DWG, and Revit as the most in-demand formats, and you work your way down through the next most demanded formats,” says Fritz. Tech Soft 3D’s high-growth market is currently the AEC market. “Of the probably ten verticals we serve, AEC is currently the fastest growing one,” says Girrior.
The cloud plays an essential factor in that acceleration because cloud tools help take data out of silos which have been the longstanding issue or barrier to accelerated productivity in AEC. Fritz noted a robust market of startups in AEC. “There are a lot of companies building cloud-based applications,” he says. “Most of the companies we are working with that are building something new are building cloud-based products.”
Fritz noted that two different things are driving the pace of innovation in the AEC field. “Number one is that building an application in the cloud and getting that application out there has a lower barrier to entry than developing a piece of desktop software with a VAR channel and enterprise sales team.”
And the second thing is the world in AEC is converging on IFC and Revit. People feel strongly about these two common file formats.
“And the second thing is the world in AEC is converging on IFC and Revit. People feel strongly about these two common file formats,” he says. “And once there is a feeling of consensus about that, that is one more barrier that is lowered, and I think that is part of what we are seeing too,” says Fritz.
Finally, Jonathan Girrior added that the value in management software has really proven its value in AEC. “We have demonstrated the return on investment that if your software helps optimize the way in which you are building or organizing how you are building—especially for large or complex projects—it’s been shown there is a lot of opportunities for developers to optimize that AEC space.”
A leading example would be the developer SYNCHRO. This startup company began literally in a renovated barn in the UK – a unique take on the legendary HP garage! They have utilized HOOPS technology from essentially the beginning, and Tech Soft 3D has been an invaluable partner. Acquired by Bentley a few years ago, this small software company accelerated at exponential levels once supported by a much larger developer with a global enterprise sales channel.
SYNCHRO is now vastly involved in helping large and complex AEC projects find productivity gains and lower risks associated with the building industry. “To the extent that we can make it cheaper or faster for a company like SYNCHRO to improve their products or get them out the door faster, they, in turn, can keep the prices of their solution low,” says Fritz.