Autodesk’s AEC division has just launched an experimental BIM collaboration environment, Project Bluestreak, aimed at “accelerating building information modeling through the open exchange of design information and ideas between desktop applications, web-based services, and people” (reports Autodesk blogger Scott Sheppard). It is also deploying Web 2.0 tools to help speed up the development of the application.
Login to the site is separate to Autodesk’s Buzzsaw and Constructware offerings, and apparently allows users to create their own profiles, to organise private groups, share project files and activity streams, and make notifications and comments, all via a browser-based interface. And by making the prototype available online, Autodesk is hoping that user feedback will help improve the application still further – the team is using GetSatisfaction as a user feedback system – there is also a Bluestreak Twitter feed, a Facebook fanpage, and a YouTube video about the project – aiming to fast-track the development of the service. I’m not sure if these social networking tools will be incorporated into Bluestreak itself, or if they will remain part of the community space around the product (perhaps an opportunity missed if they aren’t?).
(By the way, Scott finishes his blog post with a cheery: “Social networking in the AEC world is alive in the lab“. Given the scepticism about social media I sometimes encounter in AEC businesses, I expect some will be happy if social networking remains in the lab!)
Update (24 November 2009) – Some CAD blogger reactions have been less than positive. This review, Project Bluestreak. Dead on Arrival?, by Piotr Zurek, suggests:
- it lacks any industry specific vision and functionality
- it tries too hard to be “social”
- Autodesk didn’t make a big commitment to this project
“…if Autodesk wants this project to succeed they need to commit some serious resources to it. Possibly even go back to the drawing board and work out a clear vision of how to integrate all the latest collaboration technologies with their other product. Make the project future proof by embracing new, emerging technologies (like the Wave Federation Protocol) instead of following in footsteps of social projects that have been around for a few years. Finally, Autodesk – be a bit smarter about it. Talk to Novell, talk to Google …. Use their experience, buy their expertise if necessary. Spice it up with what you have learned from Buzzsaw and Vault products and you’ll get something useful to every engineer, architect or draftsperson using BIM/CAx software every day.”