End BIM Fragmentation: Embrace Collaboration with “Design for Fabrication”

By Akio
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 Design for Fabrication hero image

Today’s AEC projects are more complex than ever, achieving heights, shapes and performance capabilities undreamed of a few years ago. Yet even as owners demand more from their buildings, many AEC professionals are still using processes that lead to redundant design, idle labor and significant rework.

There is now a solution available that harnesses the expert knowledge of the entire AEC team to create processes that are as efficient as the resulting project.

Design for Fabrication, based on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE® platform, reduces supply chain fragmentation—and its resulting waste—by serving as a collaborative, fully-integrated, single source of truth for any construction project.

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Embracing a Multi-BIM Approach

Design for Fabrication isn’t just BIM.

Most BIM tools are created with the design team in mind, but Design for Fabrication goes well beyond that.

Our platform allows designers to create models that are then used as the basis for shop drawings and fabrication processes. Details can easily be extended from the conceptual design phase through fabrication and on into the construction phase.

When designers and fabricators use a shared model—rather than simply sending data to the next contractor to convert to their own system—design details don’t slip through the cracks.

Any changes made to one element will show up immediately in the shared model, alerting all parties to any changes.

Thanks to these shared processes, contractors can feel confident that they will remain on schedule.

Watch the video about Design for Fabrication.

An Intelligent Solution for Improved Design Making

There’s more to the Design for Fabrication solution than collaboration. It offers an intelligent environment where users can easily define features to control even the most complex designs. Its ability to design anything, using the scalability of the cloud, means there are virtually no limits for your next project. In addition, users can access real-time update from anywhere, making it the perfect solution for drawing together office, shop and field processes.

A single user-friendly interface hosts the dynamic tools that allow designers to validate project requirements as they work, easily customize repeatable elements, and add data to a design model so that it can be used for shop drawings and creating a complete bill of materials.

What’s more, the tool hosts modules for designing a range of structures, including the following:

Civil Design for Fabrication screen shot

Civil Design: Users can model and simulate a variety of changes to terrain, earthworks, and more for large infrastructure projects ranging from roads to bridges to tunnels and beyond.

Building Design for Fabrication screen shot

Building Design: Design and simulate any building or building element—from basic office furniture all the way to a one-of-a-kind stadium.

Façade Design: No matter the type of building envelope you’re planning, design and simulate it from the conceptual level down to details like fasteners. Easily examine metal panel, glazed, tensile and other façades in installed and unfolded states.

Structure Design: Bring all AEC partners together into a single system that can model, simulate and analyze any structural element, whether you’re working with concrete and steel frame, precast, façade, bridge, tunnel projects, or other systems.

Systems Design for Fabrication screen shot

Systems Design: No matter the scale, this solution lets users plan, model, and simulate any building system element. Reduce field clashes, whether working on a single occupant structure or a city infrastructure.

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When project stakeholders embrace collaboration, all parties can see significant savings in time and money—while improving overall project quality.

Watch the video how Design for Fabrication can improve your next project.

Left brain, meet right brain

By Catherine
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By Catherine Bolgar

Three Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces on Table

When Louis Henry Sullivan said, “Form ever follows function,” he was talking about architecture of buildings. But today his 19th-century credo is cited in many other spheres where engineering and design interact, including technology and software.

The lines are blurring, though, so that in the future, engineering and design will be seamlessly integrated.

Good designers are engineers,” says Blade Kotelly, senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and vice president of design and consumer experience at Jibo Inc., which makes a social robot for the home. At the same time, customers are no longer as wowed by raw technology and they expect an easy, and aesthetic, user experience.

Design runs to the core of things,” he adds. “Large companies realize they’re being outdone by smaller companies that are putting design at the center of their thinking.”

Brainstorming Brainstorm Business People Design ConceptsThis design-thinking approach can be hard for engineers to understand, Mr. Kotelly says: “The beginning of the design process looks like very little is happening, because the designers are trying to get their brains around the problem fully. Before that, they ask whether the problem is even a good one to solve. Then they figure out what’s going to make the solution successful, then they begin the typical design process of research, prototyping, testing, iterating.”

Modular structures or open-source components that can be swapped in or out in a modular way reduce the risk of change, so “you can iterate faster,” he says.

“It’s important to think architecturally about the system—how it breaks out at the top level and the smaller and smaller components—to be able to observe technology as the landscape is changing,” Mr. Kotelly says.

The Internet of Things is making it possible to create systems as never before. However, we’re likely to soon stop talking about the IoT as it becomes the norm.

“It’s like plastics in the 1960s,” says Dirk Knemeyer, a founder of Involution Studios, a Boston-area software design studio. “The distinction of things being plastic was super-important. A couple of decades passed, and plastic things are just things.”

In the same way, “in the future, everything that is digital and many things that are not will be in the Internet of Things,” he says.

Systems require holistic thinking. And that requires integrated teams. “Getting to a successful integrated model that puts design in an appropriate strategic place can be challenging,” Mr. Knemeyer says. “It requires overcoming the biases and preconceptions of stakeholders who are already in place and who often have a skeptical view of design and creative expression as part of business. They also have existing fiefdoms they control, and fear that order might be upset by redesign of people and processes.”

Tearing down management silos provides a new problem-solving methodology and mindset that can augment the traditional perspectives, whether financial, operational or technological.

The engineering perspective is raw capability: what is the range of possibilities technology can do,” Mr. Knemeyer says. “Design says, ‘from these technologies, here are the things that can be done specific to the needs of customers.’”

Addressing customer needs is at the core of high-impact design, or design that brings a meaningful change in increasing revenues and reducing costs, he adds.

Business People Team Teamwork Working Meeting ConceptAt the same time, design thinking doesn’t just create efficiencies, but new ideas, says Mathias Kirchmer, managing director of BPM-D, a West Chester, Pennsylvania, consultancy that helps companies increase performance through cross-functional business and information-technology initiatives.

In the classic approach, a company starts mapping the processes it needs to accomplish, then optimizing so the processes will be carried out efficiently, then writing the actual software, then implementing or installing it. “It’s very inside-out driven,” Dr. Kirchmer says. “In today’s world, that’s a huge problem. First, it’s too slow. We need a faster approach. Second, the inside-out view doesn’t deliver results to drive profitable growth. It doesn’t improve the customer experience sufficiently. It’s good to be more efficient, but that doesn’t make enough of a difference for the client and move the organization to the next performance level.”

Companies compete in just 15% of their processes, he says. The rest is commodity—that is, matching competitors rather than differentiating beyond them. That high-impact 15% requires innovation enabled through design thinking.

Dr. Kirchmer sees four aspects of design thinking:

• empathy to look at high-impact processes from a customer point of view;
• transfer of ideas from unrelated fields to introduce innovation;
• storytelling to communicate the customer journey and intended innovations in a way that will resonate with all the involved teams;
• rapid prototyping to quickly get to the visual design of user interfaces and software development.

The melding of disciplines means that in the future, designers will need to be more knowledgeable about core science or core engineering. “The way science is moving is going to pull all of us into a more quantified scientific environment,” Mr. Knemeyer says.

 

Catherine Bolgar is a former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe, now working as a freelance writer and editor with WSJ. Custom Studios in EMEA. For more from Catherine Bolgar, along with other industry experts, join the Future Realities discussion on LinkedIn.

Photos courtesy of iStock

The center of the tech revolution in finance couldn’t be further from Silicon Valley

By Alyssa
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By: Ian Kar

China, Shenzen skyline, elevated view

Silicon Valley is on a mission to disrupt finance. Even Jamie Dimon is worried about it. US venture capital funding for fintech startups reached $7.4 billion in 2015, up from $4.3 billion in 2014. But while the money’s flowing, the real action is in China.

According to a new report from Citi’s research division, people in China are actually using fintech products. The three biggest internet companies—Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent—all have digital finance businesses that are thriving. Baidu Wallet has 45 million users. Alibaba’s Alipay is the world largest fintech startup and processed almost $2.6 trillion in payments in 2015—a third of all third-party transactions in China. Tencent’s financial products accounted for $800 billion in payments in 2015.

China’s fintech dominance isn’t just in payments. Alternative and peer-to-peer lending is bigger as well. The US does more peer-to-peer lending than the UK, but, combined, the two countries do less than China.

China’s fintech and digital banking businesses are growing in part because consumer banking hasn’t developed as much as elsewhere, Citi said. Chinese internet giants have stepped into the void to provide access to financial services via mobile apps. Chinese regulators have also taken steps to promote, not inhibit, financial innovation in China.

China could be where the US is headed. Citi said that China is past the tipping point of disrupting financial services, but the US or Europe is still a few years away. By 2023, 17%, or $1.2 billion, of North American consumer banking revenue will move to digital services, Citi estimates.

 

To discuss this and other topics about the future of technology, finance, life sciences and more, join the Future Realities discussion on LinkedIn.



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