I attended COMIT‘s latest conference, on BIM and Mobility, at London’s Building Centre on Thursday, and tweeted a lot of the event highlights (my ‘co-tweeter’ Su Butcher helpfully created a great Storify stream where you can see the event unfold). As usual with COMIT events, the conference was a healthy mix of construction people and technology people, and the speakers and their presentations reflected this cross-section of knowledge and experience.
A few things stood out for me. First, the debate about BIM has definitely moved on from a year ago, when many industry professionals were still wondering what BIM was, and why was mobile technology relevant. This year, we had some practical examples of how BIM and mobile devices and applications are being used (augmented reality tools are being deployed by Costain and Network Rail to help visualise model-generated site layouts at London Bridge Station, for example).
Second, concerns about interoperability appear to be diminishing as the industry starts to look at the importance of data (“Big Data” got several mentions during the day), with the Cabinet Office’s David Philp stressing the need for the industry to be good at buying and using data everywhere, and talking about being application agnostic as far as data formats were concerned.
Third, cloud-based access to data and the importance of Software-as-a-Service also got several mentions (along with the usual caveats about connectivity, security, etc). For the techies in the audience, Francis Rabuck (@frabuck) gave a rapid-fire tour of the future, stressed the importance of mobile and big data, citing Pachube (now Cosm) as one example of how machine-generated and machine-readable data will be increasingly ubiquitous, and showing some gadgets and cloud-based mobile developer tools (by coincidence, I yesterday received a useful link to a blog post: 43 Free Cloud Services for Application Developers).