NEWS: Online viewer added to ICON System

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ICON works with Autodesk to add online viewing and model querying capability to its web-based design specification management system.

ICON was one of several firms to participate in Autodesk’s Cloud Accelerator program, held in San Francisco in March. The Leicestershire-based web software development company – whose technology is used by many of the large retail firms in the UK for managing design specifications during both pre-build and post build phases of a project – used the two week program to start development on a new online 3D file viewing capability for its ICON System.

“In our system we hold hundreds of thousands of CAD files for our clients,” explains Chris Lovelock, managing director, ICON. “We’ve never had any online file viewing capability as most of our clients have quite locked-down computers, so it’s difficult for them to get permission from their IT departments to install un-approved software.

“Our aim with the program was to provide the online viewing capability. We managed to achieve a working demo of this by the end of the first week of the program, so then decided to put the cherry on the cake and did a really cool development to get the viewer to query our system for the corresponding specification information and then display it directly within the browser.”

Since returning to the UK, ICON has been properly integrating its ‘Hotdog’ 3D Model Viewer into its main system, with a lot of work done with regards security, permissions and versioning of files.

ICON System’s ‘Hotdog’ 3D Model Viewer. Office model courtesy of Metz Architects

The company is in the process of launching a dedicated website to showcase the new development (hotdog.gallery). Users will be able to try out a number of test models (using Firefox or Chrome without a plug-in) as well as register for a free trial of the system.

According to ICON, the new online viewer will benefit anyone creating 3D models as:

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• They can share designs without having to share the original model.

• Clients can see the models without having to install any software.

• No need to clog up your models with data, host it externally thereby making sure it’s live data and not the old information that was embedded when the model was published.

• Full version control, secure access, email notifications and audit trail to see who viewed what and when.

 
 From the users’ point of view:

• You don’t need to download a 200MB Revit project to view a building as the model is translated into a much smaller data stream.

• Easy interrogation of design data including access to installation and technical guides.

• Explore designs from a variety of devices, whenever and wherever.

The Autodesk Cloud Accelerator is a two-week program that enables software developers to work on a chosen project with the help, support and training of the Autodesk Cloud Engineering teams.

Participants must use an Autodesk cloud service upon which top build their project, such as View & Data, AutoCAD I/O, Autodesk Fusion 360, Autodesk BIM360, Autodesk Recap 360 or Autodesk Infraworks 360.

The next Autodesk Cloud Accelerator will be held on June 1-12, 2015.

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