Team Collaboration with ARCHICAD – Part 1On October 9, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
This video represents the workflow benefits provided by GRAPHISOFT Teamwork. The differences between the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server and BIMcloud will also be explained. GRAPHISOFT has been developing innovative solutions for the AEC industry for over 30 years. Our vision is to provide a tight integration between the three core components of our solution ecosystem: BIM Authoring Solutions, BIM Data Management and BIM Data Access Solutions. BIM driven solutions allow teams to work together on the same project from different locations. GRAPHISOFT was the first to develop the award-winning Teamwork solution back in 1997. As IT technology improved, many AEC firms reached the limits of the model-based design and documentation workflow. GRAPHISOFT announced the BIM Server in 2009 already using the Delta Server Technology to provide design teams an unprecedented level of accessibility, speed, flexibility and management of BIM projects. GRAPHISOFT responded to an industry need with the announcement of BIMcloud in 2014. BIMcloud adds scalability and integration to the BIM Server and ensures an enterprise-grade solution for international teams and global projects of any size. BIM works perfectly at smaller scales where no extensive work-sharing is needed. However, team-working in a corporate BIM environment requires a solution that enables larger teams to work on the same project simultaneously, and provides fast, secure and safe remote access to projects from different locations – even from different continents. Other solutions require the entire project to be synchronized with an external server, and as the file size grows, so does the time needed to synchronize. Both the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server and BIMcloud run on patented “Delta” BIM Server technology, providing a scalable solution for teams and projects of any size. Only the changed elements are sent to the server: for example, if you create and dimension new walls, you just send the changes. Obviously, only a fraction of the data contained in the entire project is sent! The GRAPHISOFT BIM Server is part and parcel of ArchiCAD. It was designed for architects not for IT professionals. The BIM Server provides a real-time, robust and flexible collaboration platform that works in any standard office setup, through any standard computer network. The best news is that it comes free-of-charge with every ArchiCAD license. The BIM Server is a simplified bundle of a management and a model component. Users cannot see them separately; the installer installs them in a single step. GRAPHISOFT ArchiCAD has to be installed on all of the architects 64-bit, Windows or Macintosh computers. All ArchiCAD workstations will work on a local copy of the full BIM project, therefore it is recommended to install sufficient memory for these desktop or laptop computers. The BIM Server and the BIM Server Manager are installed on another machine this can be a server computer, though it doesn’t have to be. It is recommended to install the BIM Server on a dedicated computer, rather than on an existing file server or exchange server. Here, too: 64-bit Windows or Macintosh operating system is a must, while sufficient memory is strongly recommended. The BIM Server Manager is part of the BIM Server installation package, and is used to define the users and their roles in the teamwork environment. These roles determine what architects, engineers and clients are allowed to do: these rights can vary from „Create Project“, to „Create and Modify Attributes“, to „View Only“. The latter means that the user can open the BIM project and look at it, but does not have the “right” to change a thing! The GRAPHISOFT BIMcloud is a BIM collaboration platform that runs on the patented “Delta” BIM Server technology, providing a scalable, safe solution for teams and projects of any size using enterprise-level security. The BIMcloud works on any network. All you need is standard HTTP access to the Internet. A VPN connection is not required to get access to your BIM projects. You can contribute to the BIMcloud projects not only from your desktops and laptops using ArchiCAD, but also from mobile devices using BIMx. Clients and contractors can not only display and explore the design project on the site on their smart-phones or tablets, but can also send instant messages to the design teams. We all know the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words- project markup sketches can also be created on site and sent back to the design team instantly! The BIMcloud consists of three main components: the BIMcloud Manager, the BIMcloud Server and the BIMcloud Delta Cache. The BIMcloud Manager is the main and must-have component of the entire system. This is the gateway from which all connections start. A company needs only one BIMcloud Manager in the office. This is where the managers store the users, projects’ logical structure, the roles, and libraries. This component provides the browser-based management interface as well. BIMcloud Servers are the components that work together with workstation computers running ArchiCAD while using Teamwork. Multiple BIMcloud servers can be set up in the office according to the resource needs. This stores the model, and ArchiCAD communicates with the BIMcloud Server every time a model is sent or received. The BIMcloud Delta Cache component optimizes the bandwidth usage in remote offices by caching the model information on the client side. The connections between the BIMcloud components are the following: The TOP side is the server side, here are all of the servers that manage all the communication toward the client side. These are the BIMcloud Server, the BIMcloud Manager, and the User Directory that the BIMcloud Manager connects to. The bottom side is the client side where the browser, cache and ArchiCAD are located. ArchiCAD’s Teamwork provides fast access, offline work, security and safety for your design projects. On-demand element access with server-level project and user management, combines flexibility, scalability and coordination. Companies can utilize their workforce much more efficiently with a dynamic and centrally controllable design workflow. Once all server and workstation computers are correctly set up, architects can start using ArchiCAD’s Teamwork. The project administrator creates a new project in ArchiCAD – or opens an existing project in solo mode. The ArchiCAD project can be shared via connecting to the BIM Server or to the BIMcloud. As a result, the design project – including its libraries – are uploaded to the BIM Server or BIMcloud, and the client computer is joined into the team project. After a project is shared, the rest of the architects can join in, too! architects who joined a teamwork project always work on their own local copy of the design project. From time to time, through the “Send & Receive Changes” command, the local copy of the design project is synchronized with the Teamwork project on the server. It’s very simple: because architects work on their own local copy of the design project and therefore the quality and the speed of their Internet connection does not affect their design work at all! They can even work without an internet connection allowing them to overcome network failure situations or go to a remote construction site without an internet connection and still have access to the model.