When I first started working in marketing in the construction industry 20 years ago (for Halcrow in Hammersmith), working with a graphic design consultancy involved motorbike couriers delivering artwork mounted on foamcard boards. A few years later, we began to use PDFs asynchronously (batting comments and revisions backwards and forwards until we reached a final version we were all happy with) and now it seems we can share and comment upon detailed design concepts via a growing number of dedicated Flash-based web services.
Only last weekend, I had a look at ConceptShare. It lists ‘architecture and engineering’ as one potential area of use. I reckon it would be OK for early concepts and sketches but not for full-on project collaboration of the kind currently undertaken by ‘project extranets’ – it apparently doesn’t currently support CAD formats: DWG “coming soon!” (as is an RSS feed to keep users alerted to new concepts).
And, in a similar field, four days later I got an email alerting me to ReviewBasics (currently supports just Microsoft Word documents and PowerPoints, plus JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG and TIFF images – no mention of PDF, which ConceptShare can display, or DWG, DWF or other CAD formats).
So, if and when I next get involved in working with a graphic design agency, I’m hoping they will be using some of this kind of technology. I don’t see it threatening the construction collaboration technology heavyweights.