Geo Week News

October 26, 2020

New Trimble Connect integrations with Microsoft 365 and BIMcollab

Trimble Connect Fig2

The latest Trimble Connect cloud-based collaboration platform integrations enable project stakeholders to share, review, coordinate, and comment on data-rich constructible models, schedules, and critical project information, eliminating costly miscommunication that keeps projects from finishing on time and on budget.

The Trimble Connect collaboration platform is a tool that connects the right people to the right data at the right time. It serves as the digital backbone for projects, streamlining collaboration between project stakeholders and tying together various aspects of the project in a single data environment. At its most basic level, the platform does work as a cloud-based repository where all project data can be stored and shared; however, it goes far beyond that with a suite of applications that enable users to manage data in the context of their project.

Trimble Connect is available as a standalone product or bundled with a number of integrated Trimble solutions. For example, customers may share an engineering model from Tekla through Connect to drive and keep track of fabrication and installation. Connect’s Status Sharing tool tells them exactly what’s been fabricated, installed and delivered. Trimble Connect also works with AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit, SketchUp and much more. It can handle architectural and structural as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing files to a “constructible” level of detail.

Design models and drawings can be opened, accessed and used in the field from Connect using Trimble FieldLink construction layout and scanning software, which allows users to define layout points that can direct robotic total stations to precisely position key points, such as hangers and embeds. Pushing constructible models one step further, Trimble Connect for HoloLens and the Trimble SiteVision system are immersive technologies, which enable field crews to utilize models via mixed and augmented reality for QA/QC work, measurements, and collaboration with the office.

Microsoft 365 and BIMcollab integrations

Trimble is continuously looking for new ways and opportunities to connect, integrate and collaborate with third-party applications to open the door for more integrated workflows to serve customers. Much of this is learned from customers, who use Trimble Connect’s full-function API to build connected workflows between Trimble Connect and other applications they use, such as ERP or document management systems.

The integration with Microsoft 365 was developed as a result of user feedback provided through Trimble’s Community Forum. This integration streamlines user workflows by allowing users to edit their Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) directly from Trimble Connect, without downloading the files to make changes and then re-upload those documents. Changes made to the file content are saved directly to Connect and result in a new version of the file, accessible through the file details in the right-side panel in Data Explorer.

This also facilitates collaboration with other project members through the use of Microsoft’s co-authoring or real-time collaboration features, which allows multiple users to work inside the same document at the same time. This removes the pain and frustration of overriding someone else’s changes to a document because you were unaware that they were editing it at the same time you were. The integration with Microsoft 365 removes the need to store documents and data in multiple platforms and file sharing solutions.

BIMcollab, like Trimble Connect, is a platform that is widely used and is becoming more and more popular within the construction industry. Many users of BIMcollab also utilize Trimble Connect. As a result, we felt there were obvious synergies between the two, which would benefit our end users by providing seamless workflows for BIM issue and model management. BIMcollab and Trimble Connect share a common goal:  to offer an open and performant environment for project collaboration with data made available in the context of the 3D design.

Collaborating in real-time

The process of BIM coordination requires users to review data, solve clashes and coordinate changes so that the design intent is aligned with the fabrication and construction phases of the project. So while efficient issue management is important, model management is also a critical factor in ensuring that all project stakeholders are working off the latest, most up-to-date information. The integration of BIMcollab’s issue management platform with Trimble Connect is intended to do just that. By using these two platforms together, BIM coordination and project collaboration is made simple for everyone on the project. Users can view, review, annotate and manage BIM files and issues easier than ever before.

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