Wow, it has already been a month since I first posted about the rollout of the Autodesk Desktop Connector for BIM 360 Team. For those who have it installed and have been following the notifications about updates, you probably have seen a few updates with it in the past month. With such a new program, updates coming more regularly means they are putting a great deal of effort into getting it to do the users need.
The latest update released on December 11, 2017, was a big one in my opinion. This newest update opened it up, allowing users to link in some cloud-hosted files into our Collaboration for Revit projects, making our workflow even smoother and allowing for a more centralized location of our data.
Below is an example of a potential scenario of how the system works.
The design team consists of an architecture firm spanning multiple locations across the US, a structural engineer, an MEP engineer who also works from various offices and a civil engineer. BIM 360 Team is the hub for all the project data during the design phase. The architect and MEP engineer are using Collaboration for Revit to improve consistent coordination between their many offices. However, the structural engineer will not be using Collaboration for Revit, and the civil engineer is working in AutoCAD.
The two red highlighted files above are the DWG and RVT files from the structural engineer and civil engineer uploaded to the BIM 360 Team project for sharing with the rest of the project team. The yellow highlighted file is the architect’s Revit model that is a Collaboration for Revit model.
In the past, we would download the structural and civil engineer’s files to our server so we can then link them to our projects. The challenge with this is, anyone who was in the Collaboration for Revit model and did not have access to the server would get the missing link message, making it difficult to coordinate with others.
Now with the latest update of the Autodesk Desktop Connector and Revit 2018.2, we can link directly to these files on BIM 360 Team, and everyone has access to them at all times.
The architect linked the structural engineer’s model from BIM 360 Team and the MEP engineer’s Collaboration for Revit model into their architectural Collaboration for Revit model. Notice the differences in the Saved Path locations between the different types of models.
The architect also linked the civil engineers drawing uploaded to BIM 360 Team. Notice the Saved Path location for this file as well.
Now that the models and DWG files on BIM 360 Team are linked here, anyone who accesses the architect’s model will see all linked information from the consultants.
Additionally, once the structural and civil engineers upload updated models to BIM 360 Team, these links will update in the architect’s model when they reload the links. There is no need to download the links to the local server and reload them.
This new linking approach allows us to work remotely and without worrying about access to a company server. It enables our extended team members to work with us and without requiring a bunch of IT hardware to make those connections. The true power of cloud-based collaboration!
The scenario above described cloud linking in a Collaboration for Revit project but these linking options are available with or without Collaboration for Revit and consultants can link their models without downloading them.
Some additional/enhanced items you will see with the latest Desktop Connector build are:
- In your PC drive location, you will now see the BIM 360 Team folder and a folder named Drive; this is the critical piece that allows the linking to occur.
- When saving Revit or AutoCAD files, we can save directly to the BIM 360 Team hub (a previous feature but now enhanced).
- We can work directly on the DWG files on BIM 360 Team within AutoCAD.
Many of the new features are only available in the latest version of the design software:
- Autodesk AutoCAD 2018 and earlier
- Autodesk Inventor (64-bit only) 2018 and earlier
- Autodesk Revit 2018.2 (64-bit only)
- Solidworks® (64-bit only) 2015 -2017
If you are on subscription, make sure you keep up with the updates so you can access all of the newest and best functionality.
To learn more about the Desktop Connector, please visit my previous post here: http://blog.advancedsolutions.com/autodesk-desktop-connector-for-bim-360-team
I look forward to seeing what this new ability means for the future of cloud data access and collaboration.