Geo Week News

June 28, 2023

Hexagon introduces AEC Project Viewer

The free, web-based application provides views and insights for models, schedules, and documentation within “one single pane of glass.”
AEC Project Viewer on mobile devices
Image via Hexagon

At this year’s HxGN LIVE Global, held earlier this month in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hexagon introduced their new AEC Project Viewer, a free web-based application which is officially available today, June 28. The viewer, which you can learn more about here, allows for enhanced collaboration and allows for viewing and gaining insights around models for a project, along with schedules and other relevant documentation, all within the same tool. 

Kevin Holmes, SVP of SMART Build Solutions at Hexagon, was on-site in Las Vegas providing demonstrations of the new offering, and took some time to speak with Geo Week News about the release and what users can expect.

Image via Hexagon

The idea of offering a space to view a model for a construction project is no longer a novel one in the AEC space, of course, but what Holmes says separates this offering from others is both the ability to simply complete model and schedule comparisons, as well as the idea of having all of this important information (i.e. the model, schedule, and documentation) all on one pane of glass. He said, “What the industry has got at the moment is a whole bunch of individual point solutions, but that’s not how we’re used to working. One pane of glass is what people want. What AEC Project Viewer is doing is, on the model, the schedule, and documentation, giving them the same interface to data that is currently consumed either on paper or [by using] multiple other sources.”

Although it seems like a simple idea – and in a way, it is – to have all of this key information in one place, it’s not generally how things have been made available in the AEC industry. Traditionally, key information has been siloed within different applications or physical locations, one of the reasons ramping up workflows has been such a challenge. AEC Project Viewer aims to change that, not only putting everything into one place but also offering a clean and intuitive interface. Holmes stresses that simplicity is key for adoption, as it’s not so much changing existing workflows as much as bringing them together. “The big thing,” he says, “is we’re not asking anybody to change anything they do today.”

Image via Hexagon

As noted, AEC Project Viewer is a web-based application which can be accessed with just a link on a desktop, phone, or tablet. There is also an app available for mobile devices if people prefer that to a web experience. The interface, which was available for preview at HxGN LIVE Global, makes it very easy to see the model at all angles, with the ability to hone in on specific areas of focus and/or to remove layers when necessary. Additionally, users are alerted to any changes made to the model upon log-in, and the schedule viewer provides insights to where things may be getting delayed in an easy-to-spot fashion.

It can be a challenge to compel people in the AEC industry – and really, any well-established space – to try new tools, but Holmes points to both that simplicity as well as the fact that it’s free as the big ways they believe they can get around those barriers. With the free version of the tool, users can invite unlimited users to up to three projects with a total size of up to 20GB. There are also added functionalities available for paid tiers, which are offered at monthly subscription rates which can be “switched off” when not needed. 

Some of those added features for paid users include additional storage space, as well as added insights for scheduling delays. For example, on the schedule viewer the aspects of the projects are color-coded based on progress relative to expected timing, and paid viewers can look forward a bit and get insights into how certain delays could affect other portions of the schedule. Given how complex many of these projects tend to be, having these insights available presents tremendous promise.

Image via Hexagon

One of the big selling points of this kind of offering gets back to that idea of having everything in one location rather than having to remember where one may have stored a document, or who sent it into their inbox, or what app it’s now calling home. That idea of “app fatigue” - the feeling of being overwhelmed by how many different apps one has to keep track of - is one that is prevalent in many people’s everyday life at this point, and it’s also true in the construction industry. This was something Danielle O’Connell pointed out as a big issue in the industry during the AEC keynote at Geo Week 2023. Holmes believes this kind of tool helps work against that. “We want to reduce app fatigue. If we can put more information into one area and reduce the amount of applications, you’ll see more adoption.” 

On the surface, an application with which professionals can view and manage models, schedules, and documents isn’t particularly novel, but the execution identifies and aims at important issues within the industry. Perhaps even more importantly, it does that with an intuitive interface, something key in the construction industry. Holmes acknowledges that, saying, “You’ve got people with different levels of technological expertise. What you’re going to find is you’ll have people pick it up,” which is certainly not always the case with tools for the industry.

It speaks to a fundamental truth in construction that can often be overlooked. The industry has the reputation for being averse to technology, but really it’s just about offering a solution that is easy to use, with as little app-switching as possible, and provides key information. To that point, Holmes said about AEC in general, “There’s no lack of people trying to improve. There’s no lack of investment, either. And there’s no lack of technology on jobs.”

Want more stories like this? Subscribe today!

Read Next

Related Articles


Join the Discussion