Sunday, 4 March 2012

How Autodesk and Onlive Will Game The Future Of Building Information Modeling

There is something going on behind the scenes with Building Information Modeling (BIM) that I believe will change everything. Its impact on the Architect/Engineering (A/E) world, and subsequently the construction world, will be “game changing.”

That something is Onlive. While this might seem like wild speculation, read on and you’ll see that everything is in place for a huge evolution in the BIM world that will make the software more advanced, more collaborative, and much more accessible. It may also tip the BIM scales in one provider’s favor.

Onlive has proven that their idea, which many said was impossible, is very real. I’ve used it and I can tell you it works.

Onlive’s Big Idea

Here’s the idea. The most powerful computer many of us have in our house is a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. These machines not only have high-end graphic and processing capabilities, but their application requires significantly less latency.

Let me explain. Your kid is downstairs shooting up 18 friends (scattered across the world) in a virtual war scenario. If there is even a millisecond of lag between the time he/she touches the controller and the character moves, that kid is having a fit.

You are at the office typing in a word processor. The screen freezes for a second. You shrug your shoulders because, oh well it’s an old computer anyway. No big deal.

But what if you could move the gaming device or computer out of your home and house them on a server? These gaming or computer systems could stream to a TV, monitor, iPad, or any number of other devices. The challenge: it is sometimes hard enough to get a YouTube clip streaming, let alone an entire high-end gaming system that requires precise and responsive interaction.

You can imagine why people were skeptical.

High-End Computers Streamed To You Without Lag

It would have been impressive enough if Onlive had only figured out a way to house high-end computer instances on their servers and stream them to your junkie old desktop. But they also figured out a way to eliminate the lag.

They started by streaming games from their servers that your kids could play just like they were downstairs on the Xbox. They can have those online wars too with players around the globe. The technology is amazing.

Paid For By Autodesk

But, it wasn’t cheap, Onlive needed lots of funding to achieve this and they received tens of millions of dollars. One of those investors was Autodesk, the maker of Revit Architecture BIM software.

Onlive also launched Onlive Desktop. This service streams Windows to your iPad or Android and gives you a few gigs of free cloud storage. It is like having the latest Windows computer, complete with Microsoft Office, on your iPad or Android.

From the Onlive Desktop website:
Based upon OnLive’s instant-action cloud gaming technology, OnLive Desktop delivers a seamless Microsoft Windows desktop experience with cloud-accelerated Web browsing with full Adobe Flash. Instant-response multi-touch gestures enable complete and convenient viewing and editing of even the most complex documents, with high-speed transfer from cloud storage or Web mail attachments.
This approach to computing has shown immediate benefits.
“OnLive promised that it would one day run Windows desktop computer apps on an Apple iPad, and today it is delivering on that promise. As an added benefit, it is also launching the world’s fastest web browser on the iPad…OnLive’s servers can process web pages at speeds of 10 gigabits a second, and the company turns around and sends that to the user at 1 gigabit per second,” says Venturebeat in this recent article.
This service is coming to a PC and Mac near you very soon.

Who Was That Other Company We Mentioned?

Oh yeah, it was Autodesk. Guess whose software will soon accompany Microsoft’s on Onlive servers. Yup, Autodesk’s.

The Future of BIM

Imagine a world where your firm doesn’t need to buy new computers, let alone BIM software. They would just rent the ability to stream top of the line computers into their office monitors. These computers will always have the latest version of Revit on them. It wouldn’t matter if your computer was a Mac or PC, new or old.

Onlive’s servers are like thousands, if not millions, of high-end gaming machines. They can run more advanced versions of BIM, rendering lifelike structures and textures instantly (just like games do). Users from around the world will be collaborating in a BIM environment that is essentially on the same network. It will be as easy and responsive as playing war games on an Xbox.

This future is a huge win for the design and construction world.

No more disks. No more packaging. Far less tech support. No more compatibility issues. Customers who lose the software the minute they stop paying. And competitors, like Bentley, won’t have access to this system or the patented technology it is based on.

It is a huge win for Autodesk.

SOURCE: Help Everybody Everyday.

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