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Software firm and Forge certified Systems Integrator PIRO CIE develops innovative digital tools for AEC industry stakeholders in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. The France-based firm focuses particularly on tools for design, site monitoring, manufacturing assistance, and 3D model visualization, with a strong emphasis on the use of augmented, virtual, and mixed realities. PIRO specializes in both off-the-shelf and custom plug-ins and applications, and works from a BIM (Building Information Modeling)-based perspective, with the goal of maximizing the flexibility, portability, and use of the 3D digital model.
As the construction industry moves away from paper-based methods toward full digitalization, accessibility is becoming a growing pain point for companies. Project information traditionally shared and delivered by hand, fax, mail, or email is now being stored digitally. This means that stakeholders increasingly need access to and training in complex, costly software programs—as well as the computers capable of running them, a costly proposition for large teams. Additionally, stakeholders’ different systems function with varying file formats, complicating collaboration across teams. Finally, stakeholders find themselves tethered to desktops, with limited ability to access digitally stored project data outside of the office and on site.
While still a relatively small company, PIRO 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. First, PIRO uses the Data Management API to extract the model from Revit building design software. The Model Derivative API translates the object—with a capacity to translate more than 70 different file formats—so that it can be viewed as a 3D model in the Viewer API. When clients’ data is already stored in BIM 360, PIRO can skip Model Derivative API, as BIM 360 already translates the model into a viewable object. The team also uses the Design Automation API to execute some of the functionality traditionally performed in Revit.
The rendered 3D model is viewable in any web-based browser on any portable device. At the site, users can impose the 3D model over an AR/VR rendering of the spot where they’re standing. If the model is a building, stakeholders can make adjustments and notes according to the environment. They can superimpose 3D renderings of plans over interiors to, for example, virtually explore possible placement of openings and HVAC piping, and check for clashes. With 3D renderings of objects such as scaffolding, users can adjust size and placement within the site, and even “insert” and move models of workers to doublecheck safety measures.
With cloud-based models fueled by Forge’s ability to convert multiple formats, teams can collaborate on a project on any device from anywhere, cutting down on time-consuming paper-based communication, reducing costly errors, and speeding project completion. Stakeholders don’t have to switch platforms just for additional functionality. Companies don’t have to invest in extra software, computers, and training. And PIRO no longer has to create a new platform for each new customer—the BIM 360 API stores all project data in one accessible location.
Forge highlights include the following:
“Forge helps us move toward our goal of making maximum use of the digital model.”— Alexandre Piro, CTO, PIRO CIE