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AIA22: Architosh at AIA National Chicago—Covering Tech Pavilion

Architosh kicks off its AIA22 (AIA National Conference and Expo) coverage of digital software and hardware technologies for architects.


Architosh was at this year’s AIA National in Chicago and will be covering the expo floor with a specific focus on the digital software technologies pavilion area. Additionally, Architosh will reinitiate our Architosh AIA BEST of SHOW Award nods for the most compelling software and digital technologies shown at AIA to a national audience of architects.

AIA—Software Tech

This year senior associate editor, Pete Evans, AIA, made the rounds through the Software and Tech Area at AIA 2022 while editor-in-chief Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, covered the event remotely.

There are several highlights to draw readers’ attention regarding technologies at this year’s AIA National in Chicago. Over the next few weeks, Architosh will publish multiple reports on software technologies for architects that were showcased at AIA. What follows is a brief overview and a note on what is coming up.

Reports on AIA Coming

We will be delivering a stream of reports from the AIA 22 National Convention, including:

  • Notes on the Technology at the AIA 22 Expo
  • Focus Reports on Key New Companies at AIA 22 Expo
  • AIA BEST of SHOW award honors for 2022.

Readers should stay tuned into Architosh throughout this week and next as we provide a heavy focus on AIA 22 and the technologies you wouldn’t know about unless you were there. We’ll get you there in these reports.

A Different This Year

Every year is different at AIA National. This was the first physical show after a two-year break due to the global pandemic. Here are some brief thoughts about what made this year different.

Big Brands Present

As physical conferences swing back into gear this year after the global pandemic, it is nice to see that the big software firms were nearly all present at the A’22 Expo this year. Autodesk, Graphisoft, SketchUp, and Vectorworks were all present, representing the primary design software tools used in the industry. The one company missing this year was Bentley.

Also missing this year are the usual hardware vendors. While workstation vendors mostly don’t attend (which is a shame) CAD plotter printer vendors nearly always attend. It was not to be this year.  As Pete Evans, AIA, shared with me, “this year’s show technology-wise was software heavy and hardware light.”

A Focus on Practice Management

This year there was a focus on practice management applications and several new companies emerged. One of them that didn’t take up space inside the Technology Zone but just outside it was Planifi. This is a rather robust practice management software solution that claims to be different.

Planifi looks to take a fresh take on project planning. That’s the stage where AE firms look at their available staff resources and determine who is available and when and for what tasks to take on. A customer says, “a brand new approach for planning in A/E that your project managers will actually want to use.”  This person hit the nail on the head about this type of software in general: it can be very hard to get project managers in architecture and engineering firms to actually use this type of software to begin with.

UNAMET was one of a half dozen AE practice management application vendors at AIA22 this year.

So what can solve that? And why is that?

That is a set of questions we will be digging into in a focus report on this classification of software tools shown at the AIA 22 Expo. Planifi was joined by several similar companies such as BQE and Deltek (existing players), Anthem Software, BigTime Software, FactorAE, UNANET,

Stat tuned for more reports from AIA 22 in the hours and days ahead.


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