Reviews

BIMx Model Transfer Site – the home of Hyper-Models

The BIMx Model Transfer Site is part of the ARCHICAD subscription services agreement (SSA). The possibilities of the site and the 5 GB storage increased when GRAPHISOFT added the possibility to view BIMx Hyper-Models directly in the browser. The distribution of models and drawings can not get any easier – or can it? Additionally, the question arises if this is the internet of things of buildings.

The BIMx Model Transfer Site. The Play button shows that the model can be viewed in the browser.

In the top-right corner you can sign up as a new user or sign in to your account. Anybody can try out the functionality of the site by viewing models at the public BIMx Model Transfer Site. From this page you can also download models and the BIMx app to your own device. It is also possible to publish models on the public site if you do not have an SSA for your ARCHICAD license – for example with the GRAPHISOFT ID (GSID) of a student license.

What is the BIMx Model Transfer Site?

In official words the GRAPHISOFT BIMx Model Transfer Site is a so called cloud service, where you can use the server space offered by the manufacturer of the software. On the site every ARCHICAD SSA customer can create the company’s own site.

Deployment

The service is deployed by creating a GSID for every user and connecting them to the company's account. The personal GSID of every user is used to log in to the account. The first person who logs in to the company page becomes the ”admin/main user” of the company’s licenses. The main user can add and manage the users of the account. The role can later be handed over to an other user.

In the browser you can create site folders, where you can upload models to. When you are signed in to the portal, the information shows up in the startup window of ARCHICAD 22. When you sign in to the BIMx Model Transfer Site – or some other GRAPHISOFT service that requires an identification – for the first time the site asks for the authentication key, which has been delivered to the contact person together with the license. Together the GSID (user's email address), the authentication key and the company license form the ID that gives you the permission to use the site.

The authentication key as well as the subscription data, the admin info and the owner role are worth to be stored carefully in the right hands. Also the more and more common software-based license is connected to the user’s GSID.

How is the content created?

Hyper-Models are published to the BIMx Model Transfer Site directly from ARCHICAD. The easiest way to do so is through the menu (File – Publish BIMx Hyper-Model), while in the 3D view. A publisher set is created to the project window.

The Project's homepage on the BIMx Model Transfer Site.

In the future, the content changes of the set will update to the BIMx Model Transfer Site by republishing the Hyper-Model – also to everyone who has downloaded the model. The content can be modified through the setup and views can be added as normal. It's possible to create multiple parallel set with different content. For example, they can contain IFC model content of other planning sectors, which is brought as references.

Links between 3D views, elevations, facades, schedules and layouts are created automatically. At the moment, the links of the Hyper-Models work only in the BIMx mobile apps.

The appeared hyperlinks were followed through the element schedule in the drawing layout. The iOS mobile app contains hyperlinks the browser version does not support yet.

Multiple viewer options

BIMx models can be viewed on three different devices: the viewer software on a computer (Mac/Win), a web browser with a WebGL support (Mac/Win/Linux/Chromebook) and the BIMx mobile app (iOS/Android). In practice, the system requirements are met by nearly all modern, less than two years old computers.

Project homepage or project database – however you want

An email containing the link to the site is automatically sent to the author when the Hyper-Model is published or updated. A project preview and a 3D view of the publisher set of the project appear on the site. The link can be shared however you want. The site also offers an embedding code (the red arrow) for viewing the Hyper-Model on the designer's or account owner's own homepage.

The site also offers an embedding code. The Download model button downloads the model to the computer or device.

The view is chosen from the hierarchy on the left and opened by clicking the button that appears below – for example Click to view 3D.

In the browser’s whole page mode you can change to the next view through the hierarchy on the left. The transition to subsequent view can be operated through the arrows below.

When the drawing or the 3D view is loaded to the cache of the browser it can be investigated. By clicking on the info button next to the name of the view you can have a look at the project information.

Part of the GRAPHISOFT ecosystem

The GRAPHISOFT ecosystem consists of three parts: ARCHICAD, BIMx and and BIMcloud. If the full BIMcloud version is used in the project it is possible to lead to the BIMcloud Teamwork directly from the BIMx Hyper-Model on the mobile device – with the same server address and the same ID as from ARCHICAD. In this case, the messaging between team members works mobile.

If the set that results from the BIMx Hyper-Model is republished on the Model Transfer Site the mobile device suggests an update of the changes to the model. When the BIMx Model is saved as a file the whole content is moved every time. Thus the update of the version to the Model Transfer Site is lighter.

Linking possibilities of the GRAPHISOFT ecosystem

The BIMcloud solution ergo the ARCHICAD teamwork is a so-called private cloud that is created when a customer installs BIMcloud to the desired location. The free Basic version is meant to be used in the internal network of small companies. The development of BIMcloud is focused on the full version, and the Basic version contains only limited foundational features. BIMx works in teamwork as well as without.

The ecosystem develops

When the ecosystem is used comprehensively it transforms the information models (As-Built) into lifecycle models and to the internet of things. In the release event of ARCHICAD 22 in Finland GRAPHISOFT’s managing director Viktor Várkonyi told about the history and the future of the ARCHICAD teamwork. The teamwork has become more and more intelligent alongside the technology development. Challenges have been the capacities of data processing, and on the other hand, the difficulty of data distribution.

The development of ARCHICAD teamwork

The development of the 5G network and smart devices overtake both. ARCHICAD, BIMcloud and BIMx form building model’s internet of things, where content of other partners and operators, like service manuals, can be linked. This enables a new generation of teamwork that every user of a building can benefit via a web browser. My opinion on this is that coming utilization possibilities will be connected to the BIMcloud of the company, and the integration of BIMcloud and BIMx deepens most certainly.

The BIMx Model Transfer Site develops the transparency and at the same time the processes of the industry. The expensive and difficult software used before only by professionals gets a civil version beside. Data changes to a model require only the commissioning of technique.

The transparency of buildings

Mobile application ahead, browser behind?

At the moment, the BIMx mobile app has more functions than the browser version. The biggest differences are hyperlinks and the registration with the BIMcloud ID, that makes it even possible to add data in the future when the rights are connected. Also the integration of teamwork messaging into the browser would be an interesting added value – in practice for every part of the project. Another difference is the way of printing. In the browser version printing is done through the printing settings of the computer. The paid BIMx PRO mobile app supports wireless printing as well as measuring in both 2D and 3D.

The birth and the global development of the CDE system

The BIMx Model Transfer Site is in a sense the implementation of GRAPHISOFT’s Common Data Environment (CDE). CDE is one view of the future of building information models and the internet of things. Because the capability of browsers and average devices has developed sufficiently the use of models on these systems becoming more common in many different ways. For example in the area of Great Britain the CDE abbreviation is used to predict the distribution of information models to all citizens by authorities. In Finland the Lupapiste city model integration made in the KIRA-digi project is one of numerous the systems developing worldwide.

Differentiated systems make the communication that is essential for efficiency, more complicated, because it is the easiest way to make changes to the information model directly in the software where it was originally created. When the common ”expendable projects” way of thinking in the building sector is given up, and operating models become a life cycle maintenance process, the operations of the whole sector will change. The ARCHICAD-BIMx-BIMcloud chain makes it possible – invariably better.

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About Ville Pietilä

Ville Pietilä is an ArchiCAD and BIM specialist and partner at M.A.D. with over 20 years of experience in the field. He has a trainer certification from the Graphisoft BIM Classes Trainer program.
  • Finland