The demands on the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry have never been greater. To build more efficiently, sustainably, and under tighter budgets, our customers and partners are transforming the way the industry works. Their challenge is our mission: to empower innovation through every stage of design and build. We advance that mission by increasing value in the exchange of data, leveraging a community of developers, and enabling the best workflows and insights.
To meet our customers’ challenges, no one product can do it alone. That’s part of the reason Autodesk has always been a platform company. Back in the 1980s, AutoCAD was our first platform – not just a single design product, but a technology experience that could be customized. In our early days, we provided a rich catalog of plug-ins, where our customers could choose how to augment the product and get more out of their workflows. Offering a flexible platform – then and today – means our customers can create solutions that meet their specific needs. We know there isn’t a one-size-fits all product suite because our customers are diverse by size of firm, region, and specialty.
“Residential building designers require different processes than those who create skyscrapers,” said Jim Quanci, Senior Director of Developer Experience. “The workflows for infrastructure look a lot different than those for pharmaceutical buildings or strip malls. An out-of-the-box tool doesn’t work for everyone, so we have a platform that can be tailored.” That tailoring happens through APIs or application programming interfaces. We have long provided APIs for customizing our desktop products, and in 2016, we expanded to the cloud with the launch of the Forge platform. Forge’s cloud-based APIs are building blocks for developers to create applications that augment and integrate design and engineering data, connect existing software systems, and create all-new workflows--helping companies work faster, smarter, and in the cloud.
Autodesk partners pave the way for new ways of working
In this blog we explore how customers are using Forge to innovate in Revit® and create solutions that help the AEC industry meet the today’s challenges. Revit enables complex Building Information Models (BIM), which hold enormous amounts of project data that can be harnessed in ever increasing ways. Our APIs unlock the power of the data by making it automated, easy to visualize, and actionable. and t. Better managed and organized datasaves time, money, and resources for AEC firms under increasing pressure to do more with less.
Here are some partners leveraging Forge APIs and Revit to achieve greater outcomes.
MOE is one of Denmark’s largest multidisciplinary consulting engineering companies. They are dedicated to playing an active part in shaping a new world based on sustainability and mutual respect. To address the growing concerns of CO2 emissions from building materials, MOE developed a tool to help customers choose building materials based on the levels of CO2 emissions involved in their use. The Forge platform is the primary tool empowering the MOE solution. By organizing and rendering complex project data into simple visual representations, decision-makers are provided with key environmental information about project materials.
While still a relatively small company, PIRO CIE is making bold strides in its work of bringing augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and extended reality (XR) to the construction and manufacturing industry. Realizing the flexibility and power of the Forge platform, PIRO saw an opportunity to build on its work and bring 3D models and AR/VR environments to the construction site, all on mobile devices—while removing the need for heavy software systems entirely. Using the Forge APIs, PIRO can store project data entirely in the cloud, free of design editing software.
As AEC companies implement BIM-based and virtual design and construction (VDC)-based projects, the vast number of file formats in any given project demand time-consuming conversion processes. Bringing those files together in rich 3D visualizations can require complex programming processes that are often unreliable. Contecht immediately understood that Forge’s APIs changed the playing field. Right out of the box, Forge provides tools that eliminate the need for those time intensive processes.. Now, Contecht can input different 3D models and the Model Derivative API converts all the files into a single unified internal Forge format that can be queried and displayed in the Forge Viewer as a 3D model. And the best part? That model is accessible to stakeholders in any web browser, regardless of device.
The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) are open standards for the exchange of BIM information across different software. IFC files offer interoperability for design files to be viewed and used in different software. Simon Moreau, app developer and author of BIM 42 blog, noticed that it was taking valuable time to convert Revit models to the IFC format. Converting the files was a heavy task and demanded that he interrupt his Revit session. Not only was project time lost waiting for the conversion, but the interruption left him unable to work in Revit during that wait. Moreau developed an elegant web-based solution using Forge’s Design Automation API for Revit, which allows translations to happen separately in the cloud. This solution converts files in a fraction of the time while freeing up his device to continue working on Revit for other tasks.
AECOM is the world’s premier infrastructure consulting firm, partnering with clients to solve the world’s most complex challenges and build legacies for generations to come. They are seeing increased requests for data as a deliverable—and are searching for ways to pull varied data outputs from multiple stakeholders and models into central locations. Forge dashboards provide AECOM with comprehensive, robust analytics. They pull data out of several programs, like BIM 360 and Revit, and populate to a SQL database that feeds into PowerBI. The data is then transformed into analytical dashboards that their teams use on a day-to-day basis.
The future is APIs. The future is open.
As the AEC industry evolves to meet demand and improve outcomes, companies like the ones featured here will be poised as innovators as they build data-centric solutions. No longer is valuable data trapped inside BIM models. Now with the power of APIs you can extract that data into AR/VR, 3D Viewers, Dashboards, and more. We believe the cloud and APIs are part of the foundation for interoperability and maintaining an open ecosystem that drives the industry forward. We invite you to check out all the ways we support a thriving, open AEC ecosystem: