The progress of the standardization of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been the transversal theme of the Annual Infrastructure Conference, held in October in Singapore. Even though my Twitter account was practically hijacked with the hashtag #YII2017 in those days, here is a summary.
This time I have traveled from Nicaragua, where I have decided to live the next few years. Nothing less than 24 hours in the air; a trajectory Managua, San Salvador, Los Angeles, Taipei, Singapore, which, combined with the change of schedule against the rotating rotation of land, involves leaving on a Friday and arriving Sunday at noon. So I've had plenty of time to sleep, which is what comes in handy on a flight where the only amenities are movies and an internet mono device at least on the China Airlines flight.
Singapore has been an unbeatable choice for the Conference, apart from having been accommodated at Marina Sands. The country is an admirable example if it goes with the intention of asking, exchanging and knowing how a nation of just 6 million inhabitants can become so prosperous after its independence in the late fifties. It takes a couple of hours to adapt to your "Singlish" version, to the operation of the transport system, to the cars with the rudder to the right and to that feeling that causes you to do things from the simplicity of the real estate transactions of Register to its impressive modeling cadastral survey of three dimensions.
Walking through these streets made me relive projects I had only seen in other conferences, such as the bridge with the form of DNA structure, the structural design of the Marina towers or the vision of environmental sustainability of the urban frontier.
I have been surprised to see more colleagues in the Hispanic context, because on this occasion it has been necessary to prioritize the media according to the context of the projects presented, apart from that, surely, make agenda for such a trip is not always available to the means that were surely guests. Many media outlets in the East have abounded, which after 6 years of conferences between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom must have been prioritized. Even so we were a total of 130 journalists, from 28 countries, from 10 different languages.
In this I have much to tell, but for summary purposes, these are the news that have caught my attention.
The Pavilion Alliance officially unveiled. This is the high-level approach that four major technology have led to formalize, each within its role, in a surprising mechanism of complementarity;
- Topcon. As the great ally for the connection with the field of acting. They have presented their vision and have made interesting demonstrations of applicability to the topography, with devices that, coupled with earthmoving equipment, allow making cuts and fillings that no longer require surveyors and cadeneros placing stakes, generating surfaces or calculating volumes. The approach that has been made with Topcon is worthy of recognition in its evolution of the last three years, especially if we remember that the first attempt was with Trimble, who stepped aside from the moment it was incompatible with his imperialist spirit.
- SIEMENS. His vision of accelerating the digitization of real-world objects presents us with an Internet of Things (IoT) very close. It showed us an environment of what we expect with smart cities, with their mind sphere and mind apps; interconnected knowledge from the battery of a control control to a sub-station of electric power of an entire city.
- Bureau Veritas. Less known in this western context, Veritas is a company focused on standardized information management. It has applications to the modeling of real-life objects, from an optic of operating processes.
- Microsoft. After its constant attempts to stay in the competition of new companies, Microsoft has achieved a great goal with its Azure network, which is served by none other than the 90% of the companies selected in the Fortune 500 list. Microsoft, contrary to what I joked in 2010, in this scenario plays a role of being the channel through which the data walks, where after the obsolescence of its successes (Microsoft, Windows, SQL Server) and attempts as 2.0 business, he thinks to take advantage with hundreds of web applications that he has, but that almost nobody knows.
Bentley Systems. Of course, the promoter of this alliance is Bentley, which, contrary to the feeling of resistance to change suffered by consolidated companies, has surprised us. It has been impossible to avoid the acceptance of past years, taking into account that the founders of the company are older; However, as I said, I was surprised. Bhupinder has presented a team of young faces and his ability to show tireless innovation only reminds me of the energy of Greg, who seems to rejuvenate with his inspirational note, who never loses the important moments and the simplicity of taking pictures with the participants, who literally asks them phrases they will never forget, because it seems to show a great memory and a natural empathy.
The live talk that Bhupinder and Keith have made, regarding being prepared for the change, has been masterful. Outside of growing old with their company, they have managed to extend a legacy that we hope will be resumed by new generations, without losing their personal value due to the fact that they participate in shares with other companies.
The demonstrations of the Pavilion Alliance were organized in stands that included Microsoft, Topcon, Veritas, Bentley Institute Academies and those of Xtation IX that had an interesting dome of reflected reality. These were open all the time, although they had specific hours of demonstration of which in particular I found the training part very helpful. The Bentley Institute has existed for a long time, but in recent years it has entered under an approach of Academia specializing in BIM, which in this case was shown on three fronts, which although they are interconnected, in my opinion they outline the lines of work between Bentley and the Pavilion Alliance:
- Bentley Construction Academy. This is the most mature line, which is the link that integrates the effort of Topcon and Bentley.
- Reality Modeling Academy. This, in my opinion, will be the line of integration between Bentley and Veritas.
- BIM Advancement Academy. This is the integration between SIEMENS and Bentley.
Time will tell if my perception is right.
The cloud-compatible 2.0 I-model. Bentley launched his I-model at the Charlotte conference, where what he wanted was to get the face of the DGN file under a standard of compatibility that ordinary users could read. The smoke has been impressive since the beginning, bearing in mind that this has been the way of forming files on simple DGN files that with structured XML nodes maintain the whole life of a project from its modeling to its operation. Of course, this has led Microstation from its primitive role as CAD manager, to being a controller of the object, ProjectWise has focused on controlling the operation and AssetWise, the life cycle. CONNECT has consolidated it together, taking the applications to hybrid versions between desktop and cloud.
The I-model 2.0, rather than storing data in files, focuses on cloud storage, under chains of data quite similar to BlockChain. The I-model 1.0 was already focused on this, but in the 2009 who would have thought about talking about the cloud as a priority; It seems to us a valuable way to stay in the vanguard of Bentley Systems, which Keith has presented in a practical vision. With this comes the I-model Hub, which is an advance to the third level BIM, where information coexists in a controlled mega environment.
Modeling reality, closer than ever. It has been transversal in what has been presented in the conference, and only one word sounds with much echo; ContextCapture. Bentley bought this application a couple of years ago to a French company, now has presented it integrated as a product that makes the photogrammetry and modeling that Descartes never did. They have even given us the challenge of creating our own models; more than 100 participants have achieved it at the end of the second day, with an application that in only two steps requires taking consecutive photographs with an angle no greater than 15 degrees, and the button to generate the model; a cloud service is responsible for doing the rest, and then can visualize, rotate, rotate, measure to scale, as a three-dimensional model, from simple photographs!
It is nothing that others are not doing, although in particular that hybrid management of high resolution images stuck to a detailed model that is not affected by the volume of data, in my opinion is the best I have seen.
With this Bentley confirms their reason why they do not see the GIS as a thing of great importance. Focused on Geo-engineering, they go towards IFC standardization, which, although it is far away, is a well-traced route and on which all the companies that want to survive will be set up.
As part of the event, the Be Inspired awards have been awarded to 17 project categories, where 51 finalists have been a total of 409 nominations. I have been able to see in detail many of the finalists, from whom I first remember the boys from the photogrammetry project for a remodeling of a train system, using data obtained with drones; there I found a Nicaraguan paisana and a Mexican who, by their features, from afar showed their Caribbean touch. Also a Brazilian project to restructure a water system in a protected heritage area, I liked the project so much that I almost felt it when they won the first place in their category. Of the others I will speak in a particular article.
What good is it for me to go to such a distant conference
It was five days of much learning, in which I have been more useful to ask than to interpret on my own; consult practical ways of lowering the level of mortals smoked, as we say in our Hispanic context to a high level inspiration. In the short term, I have to return to practice all this innovation, which only tells us where things are going in the countries that lead the technological vanguard, and land them in our disparate context that in some cases lacks many conditions, where priorities in many respects they are basic and where, in particular, rather than new technology, what is required is that those who conduct the projects apply good planning practices, elementary discipline focused on the processes and materialize in their individualistic actions the good intentions that the government plans and the law.