December 20, 2010
Readers’ Top Ten Picks for 2010
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each AEC Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the AEC industry, AEC product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Welcome to AECWeekly! This is the last issue of AECWeekly for 2010. Our next issue will appear January 10, 2010. I hope you enjoy our Readers' Top Ten Picks for 2010 and wish you a happy holiday season and profitable 2011.

AECWeekly is a news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.

AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Top News of the Week, Alliances/Agreements/Acquisitions, Announcements, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.

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Best wishes,
Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News
Readers' Top Ten Picks for 2010
By Susan Smith

Here at AECCafe we can get an idea of which articles, blog entries and press releases readers were most interested in over the course of the year. In this year-end wrap up, we base our Top Ten Picks on these reader responses and summarize how these picks translate into trends or directions.

From the beginning of 2010 these are the topic areas and the companies that proved most newsworthy to our readers:

1) Structural Modeling

On February 1, we published the article on Bentley's Integrated Structural Modeling (ISM) which by itself garnered more page views than any other article published during the year - by a huge margin.

Bentley's Integrated Structural Modeling basically has four focal points: shared repository, tracking revisions and comparison between versions, visual review, and change management. Bentley Structural has been renamed Structural Modeler and in addition, included are the free downloads Structural Synchronizer V8i and Structural Dashboard V8i which are not dependent upon another Bentley software program.

According to Gus Bergsma, VP Structural, global sales for Bentley, the primary issues engineers report are that loss adds up to 4% of their cost compared to 2.5% for owners and 69% of industry cites lack of software compatibility as the primary impact to sharing amongst build teams.

“There are many industry standards for sharing information, there are engineers, architects, mechanical, fabrications, special purpose software, all these products are trying to be linked via various industry data exchange standards with limited success,” explained Bergsma. “The problem gets even deeper into the project with regard to the construction phase of the project - architects and engineers producing design then the information being replicated at the construction phase. A great example of that is steel fabrication as well as rebar fabrication and construction. At this point I think the industry is confused, there has been a lot of work done to link these processes and integrate these processes, but in general the industry continues to struggle with where do we go, how do we go.”

“We're always talking about buildings, BIM - the problem is there are all different kinds of structures that are non-building types,” Santanu Das, VP of Structural Software Division, noted. “We don't want to concentrate on one structural asset, we want to create a schema or platform that embodies many of these types of assets. It's more comprehensive than BIM and more dynamic than the interoperability formats that exist today.”

In spite of that, Bentley assures that ISM is not designed to replace interoperability formats, but rather complement them across many different verticals.

Flexible Workflows with Bentley Integrated Structural Modeling

2) Plant Design

Intergraph's acquisition of COADE in January marked the beginning of a renewed interest in plant design by AECCafe readers. The Bentley 3D AutoPlant suite was announced this summer, Autodesk announced their 3D plant software around the same time, Intergraph announced their acquisition by Hexagon in July, and Intergraph held their first CADWorx University in September. To top it off, Autodesk announced a conversion program for CADWorx users.

In early January of this year, Intergraph acquired COADE Holdings Inc., provider of CAESAR II, PV Elite and TANK products, as well as its popular CADWorx plant design suite. For Intergraph this was their biggest acquisition in the Plant Process Marine (PPM) sector in the past ten years. The acquisition will extend Intergraph's SmartPlant Enterprise engineering suite by adding COADE's software for pipe stress, pressure vessel and storage tank analysis, capabilities that SmartPlant has not had.

Many Intergraph customers are also COADE customers, according to Patrick Holcomb, executive vice president, Power, Process & Marine, Intergraph. COADE has approximately 11,000 customers.

This acquisition positions Intergraph in head-to-head competition with both Autodesk and Bentley. Last year Autodesk announced its Plant 3D design system and Bentley already has the Bentley OpenPlant suite, with Bentley named as the #1 provider of plant design software, according to Daratech. 89% of plant and process users are AutoCAD users, which makes one wonder why it took so long for Autodesk to enter that market.

Meanwhile, companies such as COADE have known it all along and their 3D CADWorx product is built on AutoCAD.

In July Intergraph signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Hexagon AB, a global measurement technology company, and the transaction is valued at approximately $2.125 billion.

Next up was the CADWorx University User Conference sponsored by Intergraph in October.

Concurrently with the CADWorx University User Conference, Autodesk announced the Autodesk Plant Conversion Program for CADWorx customers. The program “is designed to help users of Intergraph CADWorx software transition to the benefits of the Autodesk Plant Design Suite 2011, a new software suite for plant designers that offers plant design and whole-project review capabilities in a single integrated package,” according to the press release.

Intergraph has served larger projects very well, but has not focused on solutions for smaller projects. CADWorx represents a new customer base for them. That may be changing and broadening with the acquisition of Intergraph by Hexagon AB as well as customer requirements, which reflect the need for applications for smaller projects such as brownfield projects.

In an interview with CEO Hexagon, Ole Rollén, he suggested that CAD systems may be in their future again, “What we need to do is to deliver good application software and good solutions to the professionals….we have certain markets where I can see the need for CAD systems, going forward, but that's more construction-related. You should be able to download a 3D model of a building, for example, and download that into your measurement device that will guide you where to put the air conditioning, spotlights, cabling in walls, etc. and these are technologies we are developing.”

Rollén also said: “Plant is probably our single largest application within the Hexagon group.” It stands to reason that the company would want to invest in as many aspects of plant design as it can to serve an existing and possibly growing customer base.”

So there you have it. Although there are a lot of AutoCAD users in the plant design market, Autodesk does not have a strong foothold in that market vis-à-vis 3D plant. Will CADWorx users want to make the switch from a product they have been happy with up until now…or will they stay with what they know best?

Getting Smart about 3D Plant Design with 3D CADWorx

New Plant Design Suites Address Common Challenges

Intergraph Acquisition of COADE

3) Facilities Management

At Autodesk University 2009, the topic of facilities management came up repeatedly, in response to the fact that in January of 2009, Autodesk had discontinued their FMDesktop portfolio of products.

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-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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