NEWS: Trimble enters new Dimension

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With a burgeoning suite of BIM brands for the construction and design space, Trimble is now a major force in the AEC market. At its recent user event in Las Vegas the company unveiled new technology, more acquisitions & partnerships

Trimble’s management heritage and recent acquisitions demonstrate that it has a laser-focused plan to improve construction delivery times, costs and enhance collaborative workflows.

Trimble is a field-centric firm, with deep roots in hard-hat engineering in design and construction industries with both hardware and software support for field professionals. Bryn Fosburgh, sector vice-president for Trimble’s Construction Technology Divisions described the company as having “dirt on our boots”.

Collaboration

The over arching theme of Dimensions this year was collaboration. Mr Fosburgh went so far as to say, “Collaboration is our core tenet and key to success.”

Dennis Shelden, co-founder of Trimble’s very recently acquired Gehry Technologies and GTeam, added, “Everything that breaks, fails at the connection. Structures fail not at the beam, but at the connection between the beam and the column… or between the architect and the engineer. That’s really what the promise of collaboration, communication and co-ordination are intended to fix by making data not just move from location to location, but from domain to domain in a much more fluid way.”

The company recently launched Trimble Connect (connect.trimble.com), built on the GTeam platform, which it claims holds the potential to transform the construction industry and the way we think about BIM.

The software supports the Constructible Model, BIM for the Design/Build/Operate Lifecycle, shared in an open and collaborative environment via the cloud.

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Trimble claims the service makes collaboration more democratic and allows teams to share project data from anywhere at any time.

Mr Fosburgh said that interoperability should not be a competitive advantage and customers deserve better than that, which is a fundamental problem that the industry faces with so many proprietary formats.

The company sees Trimble Connect as a way to break down these barriers and provide a holistic environment for design data. There are dozens of applications that are currently running through Connect and more are on the way.

Partnership

Trimble and Bentley have a history of working together, driving collaboration through i-models, and this year the two companies have gone even further to ensure that architects’ and engineers’ construction modelling work is preserved and referenced for use throughout the building lifecycle. All too often the original design BIM model is thrown away for the creation of a construction BIM model. By developing a joint construction schema/definition, the two firms can build in and maintain the fidelity of construction data within BIM models.

Bentley has built-in direct platform support for Trimble’s Total Stations for surveying and site layout. This level of collaboration between companies in competition is truly ground breaking.

SketchUp and MEP Designer

SketchUp 2015 is 64-bit, has faster modelling, explode and intersections with a slicker interface. It works on Mac and Windows and has new support for IFCs. Trimble now offers cross-platform licensing along with cloud-based management.

Perhaps the most exciting addition announced was MEPdesigner for SketchUp (tinyurl.com/sketchMEP). This 3D application will be hugely beneficial for electrical engineers and contractors for the design of routed systems, producing take-offs and estimates as well as visualising the design. It is perhaps the first sign as to what Trimble has in store for SketchUp as it develops towards a fully featured BIM design tool.

Futures

Trimble demonstrated drones designed in SketchUp, along with field solutions it is working on for Google Glass and Project Tango. The latter is a tablet-based solution from Google, which can capture 3D data in real time and could be used by an architect to capture an interior model for use in a BIM model.

Neither application has been released yet but it seems Trimble is currently working with customers on refining these technologies.

buildings.trimble.com

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