In the past few years, the construction market has seen a number of technology M&As (merger and acquisitions). Now, as some time has passed, the industry is beginning to get a glimpse at how these acquisitions are unfolding and will ultimately impact construction in the long run.
One area in particular that has seen a lot of consolidation is BIM (building information modeling). Big-name providers such as Trimble, www.trimble.com, Sunnyvale, Calif., and Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., have made significant M&A moves, all aiming at connecting tech for the jobsite with the office, extending the model to the field.
For example, earlier this month, Autodesk announced a new version of Autodesk BIM 360 Glue, a cloud-based BIM solution that allows stakeholders to access data via a desktop, mobile device, and the Web, and was born, in part, out of the acquisition of Horizontal Glue.
In comparison, the Autodesk BIM 360 Field product was developed following the acquisition of Vela Systems, and is being used by Balfour Beatty, www.balfourbeattyus.com, Dallas, Texas, and McCarthy Building Companies, www.mccarthy.com, St. Louis, Mo., on projects such as the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Replacement at Fort Hood, Texas.
As another example, Trimble announced last week the newest version of SketchUp 2013, with AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) in mind.
A big enhancement for the construction industry is the fact Trimble has already implemented several SketchUp integrations with Trimble’s data modeling and project-management tools, which will drive collaboration and deliverables such as conceptual estimates, drawings, RFIs (requests for information), and digital presentations. In addition, a new Extension Warehouse makes it easier to search, find, and install third-party add-on tools for SketchUp.
These updates also come in addition to enhanced vector drawing tools, faster rendering and zooming, and customizable hatching styles, making the technology faster and easier to use.
Trimble says in addition to serving the AEC market with SketchUp Pro, it will also continue to offer a free entry-level tool for hobbyists, which the company now calls SketchUp Make.
As the construction industry looks for new ways to take advantage of BIM and access modeling information at the jobsite, technology providers continue to come to market with solutions to meet these needs. In particular, it is interesting to watch the releases coming out of some of the technology providers that have made M&A moves in the past few years.