Earlier this month, BIM software provider for architects and engineers Graphisoft announced their latest platform release, introducing Archicad Collaborate. As the name suggests, this new solution builds off of the company’s Archicad product, their flagship BIM platform, and adds in better and more accessible ways to share and collaborate across the team. Archicad Collaborate, which has been released in limited markets to date, is a subscription-based service combining the aforementioned Archicad with collaboration tool BIMcloud SaaS.
In Graphisoft’s release of this news, they note three value adds to be combined in this offer for their customers. That includes the two mentioned above with Archicad and BIMcloud SaaS, with the addition of what they describe as “exclusive data and collaboration services.” You can see a full list of these extra services from the new offering here, but some of the highlights called out for the company were rendering tool Redshift by Maxon, parametric object design tool PARAM-O, library object creation tool Library Part Maker, and Python AI to customize your workloads.
There’s also one more service highlighted within that section, Graphisoft Learn, which ties into a greater theme the company were certainly trying to get across with this press release. That is accessibility, with a clear aim towards enabling smaller firms to be able to both create and work with high-quality BIM models, as well as being able to easily collaborate across locations and stakeholders. With Graphisoft Learn, firms and individuals have a resource available to teach them how to get the most out of Archicad and BIM modeling in general. For all of the hand-wringing about AEC’s lack of willingness to adopt new technology, it’s worth noting that it’s hard to get started without this kind of tool, and Graphisoft is backing up their talk of “lowering the barrier to entry” for BIM software, as they put in their release.
It wasn’t just about the learning materials included within this subscription, though. In fact, that quoted blurb above wasn’t even talking about that, but instead the price point, which is one of the main points they wanted to hammer home in this release. Multiple times they mention the price, with Márton Kiss, Vice President of Product Success at Graphisoft, saying, “Archicad Collaborate allows practices to acquire both Archicad and BIMcloud SaaS at a price even smaller firms can afford.” For what it’s worth, subscriptions for Archicad Collaborate start at $212 (plus tax) per month, the same price as their Archicad subscription without combining with BIMcloud SaaS.
Given that this solutions was just introduced within the last week, it’s obviously hard to say what kind of effect it alone will have, but I do think it speaks to a couple of important trends in AEC technology. One is that collaboration is being recognized as key, particularly in this new age of remote work. In a press statement, Peter Snellman, Partner and Design Director at Tillberg Design said of working with Archicad and BIMcloud SaaS, “Working on the same Archicad model from different countries, we have fewer problems.” That idea of working in multiple locations far apart is only becoming more common, and since we know how important collaboration is in general – we spoke with Carlos Cordeiro of Graphisoft about this topic last year – it’s important to have an accessible tool for everyone.
The other important trend here is the fact that this technology is no longer just for the biggest firms. Demand for construction is booming, and new regulations around the world are requiring more work with BIM models, all of which means that smaller firms are going to have to get in the game as well. It’s easier said than done, though, and tools need to be accessible to organizations outside of the biggest in the space. Accessibility and democratization is becoming more of a buzzword of late, and this is another example, as well as a reminder that something being a buzzword isn’t always a negative.
Kiss backed up these thoughts in a press statement, saying “Customers demand powerful solutions that are easy to acquire, learn, and use.” He’d later continue about the new solution, “With Archicad Collaborate, you can start your project on BIMcloud SaaS, a secure cloud platform built for sharing and collaborating with your team — without additional hardware investments or IT experience. Using Archicad's powerful and proven tools, you can design great buildings with your team and share them with customers and clients — anywhere in the world.”