Autodesk AEC customers demand better value

AECMag, a relatively well known media outlet for AEC online, has a rather intriguing article.

In the thirty years we have been following the AEC technology market and the 18 years in which AEC Magazine has been dedicated to the BIM process, we have never seen the likes of this — an open letter from a community of national and international design practices venting their angst at a technology supplier. These are sizeable, mature BIM practices which include Zaha Hadid Architects, Grimshaw, Rogers, Stirk, Harbour and Partners and many more.

Click link below for the full article, where it elaborates on claims like a cost hikes, license complexity, and lack of development.

https://www.aecmag.com/comment-mainmenu-36/2046-autodesk-aec-customers-demand-better-value

carlopavCyrilBedsonJesusbilltlangdimitar
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Comments

  • It will be interesting to see how Autodesk reacts and if it makes any cultural changes to address its now vocal, frustrated, advanced BIM user base. We are certainly seeing much more experimentation with other CAD and BIM authoring tools such as ArchiCAD, Catia, BricsCAD, Rhino/Grasshopper, Rhino Inside, BlenderBIM and others, driven by a number of factors. Practices are seeking better value for money and not just as alternatives to Revit but also to advance their digital design and fabrication workflows. Mature BIM practices want to progress onwards and not feel like they have gone into a BIM technology cul-de-sac.

    Emphasis mine.

    MoultcarlopavBedsonJesusbill
  • @baswein I actually completely missed that... wow!

    carlopavbasweinBedsonJesusbill
  • Ton Roosendaal could do with some pressuring too. He fails to realise that his program (Blender) is incredibly useful for organic modeling which is great for modern architecture.

  • edited July 28

    Blender and Blender community is great but they know what they want to do

    In the near future maybe Blender supports CAD, but it's all about policy and how their partners like Epic Games think about the future and I think in the near future Epic Games will or can kill some software like Revit and Archicad

    About Autodesk, when I see Autodesk and other companies, and I compare them with some other open-source movements like FreeCAD and BlenderBIM and some other open-source tools I find that the issue is all of us, not just some big commercial companies

    When less experienced people, with a piece of small knowledge, try to build closed- or open-source tools
    And when everyone calls herself/himself BIM expert

    However, personally I'm happy the built environment industry has these conditions, because it makes it easy to compete if you develop an invaluable solution and also know how to compete and where are issues?

  • Blender lack major features to compete with AEC softwares, and is also based on pretty old code now, but worth the price :)
    Looks like every single piece of autodesk software has same ratio price/lack of dev issue than Revit, and massive adoption in the industry does not help to move.

  • Autodesk constantly mentions they develop tools based on what the market wants
    So, MVP means forget the minority, focus on the majority, and the majority want simple and general things

    You can realize it even in standards, like IFC, that just covers general things, especially in IFC2x3, and still has a long way to go

    @stephen_l I don't know about Blender code, but it has one of the best UIs, and yes you mentioned its development/improvement is hard

  • edited July 29

    Also saw this covered in dezeen - https://www.dezeen.com/2020/07/28/autodesk-revit-bim-software-criticism/

    To me it feels like super simple math - spend a percentage of in-house development resources to an open source contribution and everyone benefits. London is my home market, so I know for a fact that many of these companies spend on developing their own tools on top of Revit due to Revit's lack of features that are deemed essential for design.

    I have no doubt that Revit will be replaced the way that QuarkXPress became replaced by InDesign and Adobe is now gradually starting to be replaced by Affinity Suite (at HOK, we're making the shift due to increasing Adobe fees and inflexible pricing, also many others on the list of the open letter are either partially or fully thinking about shifting to Affinity from Adobe).

    Archicad seems to be developing rather well and their own take in using GH for node-based scripting is great (as opposed to building something on their own like Dynamo). It would be tough to replace Revit as it is an industry on its own - BIM Managers, loads of plugins, requirement for submitting bids, and Construction and FM usage. But, at some point companies will come around to realise that their money (or at least of some of it) could be better spend on trialing alternative software and getting the necessary infrastructure in place for proper project usage.

    The trouble in medium to large companies will be office fragmentation. At the moment, Revit serves as the de facto BIM/CAD standard so if a project within a company needs more resources, it is easy to allocate more people. Whereas in an office where some use Revit, others Archicad/Catia/Freecad/BlenderBIM, it would add an extra level of complexity to managing office resources. However, this is not an excuse and the nimble and adept companies are happy to have some staff that are more specialist in some software than others.

    I can certainly foresee a future where Archicad replaces Revit for smaller to medium projects and Catia replaces larger projects. It would be great if in this "inevitable" shift, Freecad and BlenderBIM could grab a percentage of the AEC market.

    Having invested a significant amount of time in learning Freecad, I have no doubt that if the signatories of the open letter invested 5% each of their R&D budgets to help refine and develop new tools alongside the current Devs, Freecad could be user-friendly enough and have the right toolset to be used on smaller medium projects as a start (where collaboration between in-house team members and out-of-house consultants would be necessary). Probably the same with BlenderBIM?

    basweinMoultcarlopavpaulleeJesusbill
  • @dimitar said:
    I can certainly foresee a future where Archicad replaces Revit for smaller to medium projects

    In Switzerland Archicad was very popular for architecture for any project size long time before Revit enter on the market. It is still now very popular. I don't know market share but I would say at least 50%.
    But for us HVAC engineer, it's useless.

  • @dimitar the main issue is that almost all standards, including IFC, are under the control of Autodesk and NEMETSCHEK and other partners that cause the root to be complicated
    The majority of solutions, open or closed source, are dependent on IFC and Revit, and also other players like Archicad, etc
    And I don't think Archicad be able to replace Revit

    If you ask me which tool today do great I will say: Tekla
    Tekla developers know what's "template" and "template-based software development" and Trimble have some interesting solutions, however, even Trimble has its limitations to compete

    Autodesk tries to control cloud, with "centralized cloud solutions" when the industry thinks about "decentralized distributed" solutions and I don't think Autodesk be able to win this part

    The industry is outdated, the AECO industry is a decade behind other industries, and almost all of us are part of this issue, because prefer this lag

  • @Cyril said:
    But for us HVAC engineer, it's useless.

    Good to know!

    @ReD_CoDE said:
    The industry is outdated, the AECO industry is a decade behind other industries, and almost all of us are part of this issue, because prefer this lag

    Completely agreed! On the periphery of the industry, there is plenty of activity, the question is when some of this breaks through to more mainstream or whether fragmentation with a true open standard and interoperability is the way forward.

    ReD_CoDE
  • @Bedson said:
    Ton Roosendaal could do with some pressuring too. He fails to realise that his program (Blender) is incredibly useful for organic modeling which is great for modern architecture.

    The Blender website simply states: "Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, video editing and 2D animation pipeline." Ton seems to stick with this to the letter. The open projects being strictly animation projects also speaks to the primary focus. There was a similar request months ago about putting back the Blender Game Engine and he just replied with a link to the Godot game engine. From a business perspective, there's probably some sense in sticking with what you know, what you're good at, not spreading yourself out thin and all that. From an end user perspective, it sucks,especially when you know Blender can excel at these other things too. I hope the collaborations happening between BlenderBim, Archipack, etc continues to yield fruit. Wondering what would help. Crowd sourcing Blender dev talents? Crowd funding? Dev Bounties? Big audacious goals to organize around?

  • Just as 25 firms signed a letter about Autodesk, perhaps we should explore options of funding from a collective of firms in the AEC industry. I'm glad Ton knows what his focus is, and that's OK - he should do what he does best.

    I really need to dedicate a couple release cycles to CAD drawings. That seems to be the biggest hurdle to overcome.

    carlopavtheoryshaw
  • @Moult, I totally agree.

  • @Moult big architecture firms like Zaha Hadid have enough experienced staff to know what they want.
    And I'm sure that they don't care about Blender, BlenderBIM, and FreeCAD

    I don't see anything about AI, Cloud, IoT, ... and many other things that big firms are working on and Blender and BlenderBIM don't support
    This is not about just CAD
    You guys, first of all, should be update, should know what's happening today and where's your place(s)?

    duncan
  • Throwing code / soft in public repo is by far not enough to attract investors, whaterver the level of achievement.
    Potential investors lack roadmap visibility on the long run, some kind of stability in the dev process and dev man power availability, and more important some strong financial structure on our side to ensure things are done as expected and wont vanish tomorrow.
    Among other issues there is also a lack of support "majors" users expect for tools they use everydays.

    carlopavduncan
  • edited July 30

    First of all thanks for sharing. This article is very different from the academic papers I usually read.

    Secondly, I think, as industry engineers, should we pay more attention to the realization of macro technology? Such as cloud technology, Internet of Things, 5G, digital twin and so on. The specific platform is not that important. For example, freeCAD and blender, whether to use these two tools in a large project do not affect the overall progress.

    The above is just my personal opinion. I hope to contribute to the development of the industry together with all the seniors and masters!

  • @Moult said:
    I really need to dedicate a couple release cycles to CAD drawings. That seems to be the biggest hurdle to overcome.

    That would be great. From my own grassroots perspective, I only need IFC for sending 3D geometry. Generating quick and accurate drawings is just as important.

  • edited July 30

    @Cyril said:
    In Switzerland Archicad was very popular for architecture for any project size long time before Revit enter on the market. It is still now very popular. I don't know market share but I would say at least 50%.

    Probably less worldwide - but if you change the Google Trends graph below to be just Switzerland then it is about 50%. AutoCAD is still king:

  • edited July 30

    @Cyril said:

    @dimitar said:
    I can certainly foresee a future where Archicad replaces Revit for smaller to medium projects

    In Switzerland Archicad was very popular for architecture for any project size long time before Revit enter on the market. It is still now very popular. I don't know market share but I would say at least 50%.
    But for us HVAC engineer, it's useless.

    As structural engineer I do work with architects on a daily basis in Switzerland. All numbers are not based on any real value it is just the feelings I have from my work ...

    Autodesk Revit, Nemetschek Allplan and other apart from ArchiCAD and Vector works have a market share of 20 %. The 80 % of the rest is splitted between ArchiCAD and Vector Works. All this might be due to small offices in Switzerland. There are hundreds of Architecture offices with less than 10 employeer.

    BTW: Nemetschek Allplan is very popular for structural engineers in Switzerland (market share > 75 %)).

  • @Bedson said:
    Probably less worldwide - but if you change the Google Trends graph below to be just Switzerland then it is about 50%. AutoCAD is still king :

    Thanks for the info. I was talking compared to Revit and as you can see Archicad is above.
    Can you provide source link please. There is no title. Is it only for architecture ? I am surprised to not see Rhino which is also popular.

  • The European market is important but almost all want to be successful in North America (the USA and Canada) markets and also Asia like China than Europe

    I don't talk about all, but those who want to develop tools or plugins, have to know the market, issues in the market, ... well

    However, I understand that both BlenderBIM and FreeCAD try to solve some issues some have, which is invaluable, however, it's too early to you all to think about "fund" or these kinds of things

  • edited July 30

    @Cyril said:
    Thanks for the info. I was talking compared to Revit and as you can see Archicad is above.
    Can you provide source link please. There is no title. Is it only for architecture ? I am surprised to not see Rhino which is also popular.

    Here's the link: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=/m/0260j49,/m/02l0mdk,/m/0c0tdp,/m/05c1gpq,/m/09ytsl
    This is based on search terms within Google. You can add any search terms you want (it is easy to add Rhino - which would be Rhinoceros 3D). What lets Rhino down is it's lack of MEP features.

  • @ReD_CoDE said:
    However, I understand that both BlenderBIM and FreeCAD try to solve some issues some have, which is invaluable, however, it's too early to you all to think about "fund" or these kinds of things

    Not sure it's too early to think about funding and sustainable frameworks for building all these things we've been talking about. Many open source projects fade away because the business logic is not developed concurrently with the core product offering. And it would make sense to seize the moment while there is discontent with industry standard tools to scale up and present FLOSS tools as viable alternatives. I don't see how that scaling would happen without having in place a funding framework that works to be honest.

    BlenderBim might be a year old in development, but it is riding on 10 years of Blender development, and an expansive ecosystem to boot, same as Archipack. Stuff like funding (for securing core developer man hours on an ongoing basis, funding research and driving adoption) and industry partnerships like Dion suggested would help consolidate on all that and hopefully speed up traction. And it won't all come together at once but thinking about how to structure all that in good time, especially with the inherent challenges of interoperability between multiple tools, would be a good start.

  • A year ago I supported BlenderBIM because I saw some areas that BlenderBIM could success, and even I chose the BlenderBIM name for the addon Dion was developing, however, I think Dion repeated the same mistakes FreeCAD community did
    If you see BlenderBIM as an open source and experimental movement good to you all, but until you all don't share some competitive solutions that solve big challenges, not just small challenges in your daily job work, it's hard to encourage the market

    In the market, nobody cares about solutions that use old-school technologies, for instance, VTK, or just support CG side

    It's months I say think about "automation and control" nobody is looking for tools to do many jobs MANUALLY

  • Autodesk has responded to the open letter: https://archinect.com/news/article/150209385/autodesk-responds-to-revit-criticism

    ... I see from the comments on the Autodesk response link that perhaps the community isn't fooled ...

    DADA_universecarlopav
  • @DADA_universe said:
    Not sure it's too early to think about funding and sustainable frameworks for building all these things we've been talking about. Many open source projects fade away because the business logic is not developed concurrently with the core product offering. And it would make sense to seize the moment while there is discontent with industry standard tools to scale up and present FLOSS tools as viable alternatives. I don't see how that scaling would happen without having in place a funding framework that works to be honest.

    Dropping this here should it be worthwhile to anyone. Needs a Danish Industrial partner. Deadline- end of October: https://innovationsfonden.dk/en/programmes/international-collaborations/itea-eureka-industrial-cluster-call-software-innovation

  • @DADA_universe I live here in Denmark and work in AEC, I'll start thinking about local partners. I'd forgotten about that fund. Big projects with big numbers, but maybe we can join forces with some existing industry innovation group in the AEC space in Denmark. Maybe BIM7AA or Dikon, I've sat in those groups.

  • I have some ideas in mind that help all, and we can work on them
    So, it's up to you join or not
    If there's a mutual interest let me set up some experimental projects that cause all benefit

  • @duncan said:
    @DADA_universe I live here in Denmark and work in AEC, I'll start thinking about local partners. I'd forgotten about that fund. Big projects with big numbers, but maybe we can join forces with some existing industry innovation group in the AEC space in Denmark. Maybe BIM7AA or Dikon, I've sat in those groups.

    Brilliant! This might work then. Please do investigate further.

  • @ReD_CoDE said:
    I have some ideas in mind that help all, and we can work on them
    So, it's up to you join or not
    If there's a mutual interest let me set up some experimental projects that cause all benefit

    Please do share.

    duncan
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