My team has been running Forge Accelerators since 2015 and it’s part of the job to engage with customers during the span of a week, helping them build their best next idea using Autodesk Forge Platform in many different cities of the world. It is an activity that everybody enjoys and provides an incredible benefit to customers, from having experts on site to answer all their questions, business inquiries and technical blockers solved. To give a bit of perspective, one comment from a previous accelerator participant was “It feels like we have Stack Overflow live support” and because of that we wanted to continue during these difficult times when everybody is working from home and staying safe from COVID-19.
We decided to take the event to a Virtual mode and starting with Metropolis (we can use any name now since virtually those cities due exist) the response and feedback from our customers exceeded our expectations. Since traveling is not an option at the moment, we were able to have other Autodesk experts join the event and get expertise that we will not usually be as quick to access when having an on-site event.
We had Companies from different parts of the world (Europe and America for the most part) and Support from the DAS (Developer Advocacy & Support) Team across all time zones available to be able to handover every 3 hours to have someone leading and taking care of the customers in a complete chain process that started in China on Monday April 6th until we finished in San Francisco on Friday 10th at 6pm. In Jim Quanci’s words he enjoyed seeing us “do the dance of time zone around the world hand over” in near real time.
We had continuous engagement with customers with over 4000 messages during the week, 500mb in shared files (these include ppt, code snippets, toolbar icons, small videos demonstrating a workflow). Each company had their own private channel for communication with our team and dedicated channels were set to address the many different services the Forge Platform provides.
- Viewer API
- BIM 360 API
- Design Automation API
As some of the examples where a lot of discussion happened, solving customer questions in a very short time.
During the week we hosted over many lighting talks, from advance use of the Viewer, Forge VS Code Extension, Forge conversion to Gltf, Node-Red using Forge, Dasher 360, AWS Quickstart and CI/CD to use with Forge (Thanks for our friends at AWS for sharing their knowledge) and many others. A total of 19 companies and 47 customers interacted with the team during the week and we were even able to spot some tweets from some of them:
On Good Friday we had 2 Demo times to address the 2 main time zones for the attendees of the event, one for Europe demos followed by one for Americas demos.
- BIMVIRTUAL/Skanska - We set out on a mission to see if we could build an easy to use tool on top of the Forge viewer to filter objects based on volumes (estimation zones and work breakdown zones). Being able to not only select all objects within a zone but also split objects that spans several zones. On top of that to be able to select what volumes, areas or lengths of the object that define the driving quantity of the cost estimate or work task. We found that this was absolutely possible, and we came out with working PoC-functions, greater understanding of Forge and the possibilities that we have to extend and improve on current workflows to cater for even more efficiency in construction operations. Great week, great work by the team, great support from the Forge team. Looking forward to future Accelerators!
- Iperboole - From a project-case at the urban scale we defined a layered structure of models and docs which are now linked to the global model, offering a scalar navigation of the project according to specific uses and target. Our demo uses Forge viewer in a BIM context: it is an environment useful to collect and organize data about different disciplines and stages of the process. Through a marking tool we introduced links to the objects to get a sort of guided navigation. The main project stays behind and offers different lenses to read the model, depending to your primary scope: links to more detailed models, conceptual studies, technical data are available in a structured way directly from the primary objects. This logic aims to build a system of Model View Definitions for organizing the process and presenting only the relevant data to your needs
- BIM6D - Autodesk Accelerator has given us the chance to show to Autodesk experts our progress with POWERBIM, which is a BIM360 integration to Microsoft Data Services, including Power BI and IOT Hub. We have learned this week to improve the tool with new functionalities like VR / AR integration using glTF exporter from Forge. Our congratulations to the great work of Autodesk.
- AtBIM - Our app is a webapp to manage the Cost Management of a Project, from Revit we generate a Budget in a JSON format. From our app we read that JSON and we can link all the cost items to their respective instance from the model and vice versa. The construction companies can visualize their budgets and fix possible error and all that stuff from Cost Management task. This week we're converting our IExternalCommand from Revit to a Design Automation Addin in BIM360 to generate that JSON whenever someone update the RVT file in BIM360, and also manage versions of model and json files to visualize the changes in Cost Management.
- BIMETRIX – Our goals for the accelerator was to work on the reporting functionality and animation-simulation functionality to our concrete tracker tool. On the reporting side we learned a ton on ways to extract graphical data from the forge viewer and also use adapt methods on the APIs to generate animations based on concrete pouring schedules in our tool.
- MiTek - View pre-translated IFC files in the Forge Viewer. Add & remove markers linked to objects via right-click command o Automatically load markers via external API. Open markers to see additional information about object. Load information from external API. Configure automatic model walkthroughs.
- Constructin - During the Forge Accelerator, we worked mainly with the Viewer API in the first-person mode, focusing on the camera parameters (movement, axis control, field of view) to work in the same way as the panorama viewer in our platform. Now our clients will be able to compare their BIM models with the 360 pictures taken at the building site in a side by side comparison. In the future, we plan to develop more features to the viewer (as 4D visualization) and to integrate our platform with BIM360 Docs and Issues APIs.
- Lactec - During the event, the code-level structure for the integration between the PSB project's Frontend and Autodesk Forge using React.js was developed. A library for marking elements in a three-dimensional model was written, a SVG was added as a marker, animated effects were created on this marker, the action of opening a "Portal" component by clicking on the marker was mapped, this component works as a modal and allows other components to be displayed within it. Some components were also developed within the modal, such as "Tabs", "Charts", "tables" and "Lists", as well as a system for calling and handling events using Flux. On the other hand, we tried to develop new Forge Extensions using Angular, but without success, probably because a lack of time to go deeper into Angular.
- Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects (SNHA), a Chicago design firm and big user of BIM 360 solutions, applied to Forge with the goal of developing an app to analyze rooms for Mission Critical Facilities. The team's result demo was a proof-of-concept that provided credentialed users secure access to BIM 360 Hub files and room data with a few simple clicks in any modern web browser.
- Syracuse University - The end-product of the Demo Day is a digital platform solution PoC that leverages a react-based serverless architecture along with a NoSQL database (Amazon DynamoDB) for large infrastructure owners (e.g. airports). The PoC showcases an interactive enterprise asset data dashboard allowing end-users to interact with their critical assets through making siloed enterprise data streamlined (e.g. facility data, cost data, sensor data) for insightful actions.
- VDC OFFICE - investigated how to generate a Digital Twin with Autodesk Forge from BIM data integration and real-time data analysis with AWS from IoT devices.
It was a busy week, with lots of exchanged messages and many Zoom calls to help our customers stay on top of their development. I’m guessing this will be our new Normal for a couple of months until we know everybody will be safe to meet us at the next onsite Accelerator. We are looking forward for the upcoming SOLD OUT Cloudville Accelerator and the almost full Crane Tower Accelerator (Construction Industry Focus). If you have an idea on something you will like to develop during these events let us know and let’s build it together. Thank you to all our attendees and we look forward to seeing your POC’s (Proof of Concept) become a new product for the industry. Stay Safe and Stay Home.