Trimble and Gehry form strategic alliance

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Trimble continues its AEC acquisition trend, this time bagging the technical expertise and products of Gehry Technologies

Trimble has acquired the LA-based software and consulting services arm of Gehry Technologies. The ‘alliance’ will “work to enhance the collaboration in the construction industry by further connecting the office to on-site construction technologies”, the two firms said in a joint statement.

Gehry Technologies (GT) previously developed Digital Project, a Building Information Modelling (BIM) tool based on Dassault Systèmes’ Catia V5, which proved difficult to sell beyond a handful of signature architects. It is used by Gehry Technologies in its consulting work, as well as by a few major clients such as Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry’s own practice.

We understand that Digital Project is not part of the deal and will be spun out as its own entity, supplying customers and GT with updates and improvements.

Dassault Systèmes recently came to market with its own architectural solutions based on the latest V6 version of Catia, launching a Façade design and Building Space and Planning modules.

A key part of the acquisition is GT’s GTeam BIM collaboration tool. GTeam is a web-based 3D file management and collaboration platform for advanced project delivery services. It breaks down the boundaries to BIM collaboration by loading model data from all the key BIM modelling applications, enabling them to be brought together in a single, open, environment.

It supports 2D and 3D, tracks edits, links disparate offices, connects team members through built-in messaging as well as PDF, Word, Excel, pictures and videos.

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GTeam can be used on site to access the latest data without expensive BIM tools, or the need to train people to use them.

It costs from $200 per month, providing 200GB of storage for project data, with unlimited users and unlimited projects. An enterprise version is also available, which comes with GT consulting providing business integration. GTeam fits in with Trimble’s ever-expanding range of AEC brands, especially for process management, workflow, virtual construction and collaboration. The main omission from its armoury is an industrial strength BIM authoring tool. Instead the company owns the omnipresent, but more conceptual, SketchUp.

Outside of the product, Gehry’s brand and GT’s capability undoubtedly add a huge amount of credibility to the Trimble brand in the AEC space. Working with the top signature architects and gaining considerable in-house knowledge will benefit Trimble’s clients as well as improve its product development.

For Gehry, it is hard to see past the financial benefits of the sale. Perhaps as ‘a partnership’ was expressed, Gehry’s firm may have access to a broader range of tools and expertise and there may be some concept of disseminating Gehry’s knowledge of constructing complex buildings to a wider audience.

At the launch of Digital Project, Mr Gehry related how he could build a wavy wall for the price that most architects pay for a straight one. We will have to see how Gehry works with Trimble in the future to deliver on driving change through the industry.

Trimble president and CEO Steven W. Berglund made this comment about Mr Gehry at the press launch: “His unique architectural vision has always challenged the conventional. Equally impactful are his views on the potential for transforming the entire design-build-operate continuum. Gehry Technologies has been key in allowing Frank to realise the potential of his designs without compromising cost or schedule.

“Together, we expect that our common commitment and our combined capabilities will accelerate the adoption of technology in this trillion-dollar industry with resulting breakout benefits.

“We are delighted with the prospect of working with Frank as he continues his strong personal advocacy for change in the construction industry.”

Trimble has made a number of acquisitions across the AEC space and owns some big brands, such as Tekla, but with GT solutions and professional services, Trimble now has a range of extensive management and collaboration tools and the deployment specialists to make it happen.

Trimble’s solutions range across BIM, analytics and visualisation, automated machine guidance and real-time telematics.

Alongside Autodesk, Nemetschek and Bentley Systems, Trimble is a major force in the BIM world and shows no sign of slowing down on its acquisition path.

gehrytechnologies.comtrimble.com

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