February 20, 2012
IMAGINiT Launches Clarity for Revit
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IMAGINiT Launches Clarity for Revit
By Susan Smith
The new Clarity for Revit was devised as a result of IMAGINiT’s partnership with Autodesk, to specifically enhance the Autodesk Revit Server platform.Beau Turner, director of Business Development, IMAGINiT Technologies, talked about the Clarity for Revit product from IMAGINiT, a division of Rand Technologies.
Clarity works on top of Autodesk Revit Server, allowing users to work with multiple offices. An example is a company with three offices – Omaha, Boston and Tampa – where users can work between those offices and do workshare. This works well for the single office, and pushes little changes up to where the central model is hosted. “If the firm is based out of Omaha, then people in Tampa and Boston use Revit Server when they save to the central database – they’re publishing or pushing that piece up,” explained Turner. “That’s what Revit Server does by itself. There are a lot more opportunities that need to go around that to make it a full collaboration suite.”
Turner points out that the term “collaboration” has been used for ten or twenty years, but no one has really gotten it right. “This is a step in the right direction -- at least around a single platform. You take the Autodesk Revit Server platform, obviously marketshare and the type of tools it has available and also fundamentally it’s a bit different way of working, integrated between architecture, structure, mechanical, electrical, piping, plumbing and fire protection – and brings all that together.”
What Clarity does is put a couple of layers right on top of the Revit Server platform. Clarity enables real time BIM collaboration, making use of it inside a web environment. The web environment lets users treat it like a platform, as a centerpiece, to which users can add a couple of layers.
“One layer we add is security,” said Turner. “Security for us means extending beyond what Revit Server has which is, if you have ten projects on the server, that means all ten are visible to everybody who sees that. So these people should only be connected to project 1 and project 3 but are going to see all the other projects on there. With Clarity we can actually do project level security so these users should only see this project. When we’re working inside of Revit we’re completely transparent. We add that layer of security, and they never know we’re running. When we open up a model file and go to a project, they only see the projects that they’re connected to.”
The initial up front configuration for Clarity is really good for working with partner sites. Revit Server works very well by itself in a multi-office set up. However when you begin to bring in outside partners or outside firms, it doesn’t have a great way to handle manage and monitor multi-firm setups. With Clarity multi-firm support is provided.
“We can bring up another location, another partner and add them to a project and get them up and running in as little as ten minutes,” Said Turner. “When we first to set up Revit Server by ourselves when it came out, it took us a couple of weeks with a couple of IT people all going back and forth trying to figure this piece out. With Clarity we were able to get this up and running in minutes. This is a huge time saver.”
To a Revit user, this experience is seamless; they continue to work directly inside of Revit. Administrators have the tools to be able to be proactive; the model data is hosted inside their own organization so they take the location or data center – and they’ve already gotten their servers and can make use of those resources. “We put tools to manage and monitor that on top of that,” Turner said. “The central models, the different accelerators, all the different components let us actually drill down and see the help, the status and get the notifications, so right up front we start seeing that there’s an issue or a trend. One of the companies that’s involved in the beta, when they were looking at this piece, they noticed that their IP configuration had gone down, the web was slower, but they could look at the logs and records from this and be proactive about it versus reactive later.”
Non-Revit users have the ability to work with the project, and can login to the website and see everything from DWF files to PDF files to database as well as reports and some dashboard associated with it.
“So if they’re not comfortable working inside of Revit but maybe they can use the same type of data and can transform the model data into PDFs or Excel spreadsheets, manipulate inside of Excel, and they can log in and view that data as well as export to Excel where they need to.”
Clarity has a task automator for low value tasks, such as generating a PDF set of 200 drawings. Users do not want to tie up their machine with such an onerous task that doesn’t allow them to use their machine for anything else while it is processing. The task automation system pushes the task to another machine and automatically generates the PDFs or database export. This frees up the user’s machine to continue working.
There is also a web project dashboard management system that gives access to reports. Reports are a different way of looking at the Revit database. They are the data itself, and will include information on a room, for example, and everything that is in the room, from mechanical equipment, to furniture.
Turner said there is something in Revit Server called Model Lock which means the file didn’t clear so it’s locked, and no one can work because that file is out there in limbo. “You can now log in to your project, and it would show you there’s a Model Lock and you can hit the delete button to clear it.”
Clarity offers real time BIM collaboration, security, task automation, tools for managing and monitoring the network both multi-office and multi-firm, as well as the ability to generate reports and other data sheets. The combination of these new features offers a path toward true real-time collaboration and reduce the amount of time it takes to complete repetitive tasks.
Pricing is dependent on number of locations, users, and implementation services required. Maintenance and subscription fees apply. For more information, visit: imaginit.com/clarity.
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