“The VIM breakthrough has occurred on the design side. What we need now is it to occur on the virtual building side.”

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Arol Wolford is a pioneer in the Architectural industry with 30+ years of experience. In this AEC Now podcast, he shares about the history of technological breakthroughs in the AEC world and the significance of today’s VIM innovation.

“We were drawing by hand in the early 80s,” Arol reflects. “And then AutoDesk had the AutoCAD program in 1983 and that started to change things. But it was still 2D, we weren’t dealing with sophisticated databases. That’s where the Revit breakthrough came along in 2000. We sold Revit to AutoDesk, who did a great job of taking it to the next step.

Arol explains that Revit really got established after 2008 after the Great Recession occurred, and a third of architects lost their jobs. The firms realized they had to step up their productivity. And they did, through Revit. All of the sudden, Revit took off. Then Revit went from a $5 million product to a $500 million product in the next five years.

“The breakthrough has occurred on the design side,” Arol says. “What we need now is it to occur on the virtual building side.”

Arol sees the promise of the virtual ‘what if?’ scenarios to make sure all construction project stakeholders refine and enhance things like energy use and cost. He believes that this is occurring, and that lot has happened in the last 40 years, but the loop has not been completed.

To Arol, the keys are interoperability and collaboration: “We believe Revit having VIM tools will enhance collaboration. We need to take the next step ahead through more sophisticated objects being used. I think we are a part of moving ahead what is already happening. The next five years, that’s going to be the breakthrough.

As for manufacturers in the architecture, engineering and construction industry, there are about 4,000 real players. Arol says about 25% of those have stepped ahead and made BIM objects. It hasn’t moved ahead, he believes, because no one ever gets to see the virtual objects on the manufacturing side.

“They never see it,” Arol says, “because the Revit objects all get translated back from 3D into a 2D drawing, which is a real shame. But now being to look at it in the VIM, that is going to allow everyone to start seeing their products in the actual context of the building, through VR as you walk through a building projects virtually. That breakthrough needs to occur to motivate the manufacturers to create the objects.”

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