Yesterday was a great day for people interested in Digital Twins (among lots of other topics, of course).
During the AU 2020 General Session and the AEC Keynote we heard about Autodesk Tandem, a new product and platform for creating Digital Twins from BIM.
During the Forge Keynote, we heard about the Forge viewer’s new Data Visualization Extension, which simplifies the mapping of (for instance) sensor data into the viewer.
I’ve had lots of questions already about how these announcements relate to Project Dasher and the work we’ve been doing in Autodesk Research. Some of these are covered in my AU 2020 class:
I don’t go into a great deal of detail about these respective technologies, however, so I also recommend watching these two product briefings:
BLD473618 – Constructwin: Delivering the Value of BIM to Owners with a Digital Twin (Autodesk Tandem was known until Constructwin until just a few weeks ago!)
Now for a little additional commentary about how these technologies relate to Dasher.
Firstly, Autodesk Tandem is highly complementary to the work we’ve been doing inside Dasher: for now it’s very much focused on helping people maintain a digital model – in terms of geometry but also rich property data from BIM – that accurately represents the real world. It helps you aggregate and manage data from multiple Revit models, maintains an audit trail and change history as the model evolves, and can serve up subsets of this model to clients (whether the results of a spatial query or some set of model layers, etc.).
Dasher has traditionally steered clear of these gnarly problems. The path to getting a robust model into Dasher has often been circuitous: often today it means getting someone to create an accurate as-built model via scan-to-BIM or some other approach. Autodesk Tandem will (hopefully) deliver on the promise of BIM flowing from design through to operations. We’ll be able to rip out a whole lot of code from Dasher that manages spatial segmentation of sensors and building geometry. This is great news for us!
The question has also come up whether a Digital Twin can really be considered as such without integrating IoT. My understanding is that adding the ability to bring in sensor data is something the Autodesk Tandem team will address at some point in the future, it’s just the near-term priority has been around managing model data. Fair enough.
Secondly, the Data Visualization Extension for the Forge viewer clearly has strong similarities to Dasher:
There’s a very good reason for this, of course. We’ve been working with the Forge viewer team over the last 6 months or so: they have taken some core components from Dasher – mainly to display heatmaps and sensor dots – and built a great developer experience around them. I’ll be talking more about the specifics of using these components over the coming months. They have also taken the Dasher timeline as-is, as you can see at the top of the page.
One of the key deliverables of this project is a complete reference application – with full source code – that you can fork and modify. This application is live today at hyperion.autodesk.io and we’ll be publishing the source via GitHub before too long. The implementation makes use of React for UI elements that are outside of the Forge viewer’s canvas.
If you’d like to stay informed about this project, be sure to load the above site and click on “Contact Us”.
The Forge viewer team is also looking for people to participate in user feedback sessions via the Idea Exchange (like the research projects I linked to earlier in the week). This is a great opportunity to influence Forge’s direction in this area!
Envision custom visualization solutions using Forge Viewer
For developers building applications using Forge Viewer or who are interested in building custom visual applications for 2D and 3D design data (duration 60 minutes)
Are you a developer building applications using Forge Viewer aka LMV? Are you interested in building custom visual applications for 2D and 3D design data? Are you building applications that require open file/data formats, granular data access, real-time visualization, etc.?
We would like to get your input and understand your workflows. If you have ideas on ways in which we can improve, come join us for a feedback session.
We'll discuss improvement opportunities and growth avenues based on the experiences and use cases you provide. Session availability is based on space and fit to intended audience.
I’m super-happy to see these capabilities being put into the hands of Forge developers, allowing them to more easily build Dasher-like tools for their specific requirements. Over time I also expect more features that we test out through Project Dasher to be made available through these respective platforms. Exciting times!