An occasional sampling of reader electron-mail, or "keep those waves and particles pouring in, folks!"
In response to IssueTwelve's diatribe on Penton Media's financial straits and the AEC Systems trade shows, a reliable but name-witheld-by-request source writes:
> "While A/E/C SYSTEMS was included in the write-down, it was negligible relative to the write-down for InternetWorld. We're talking about something on the order of 1.5 to 2.5 orders of magnitude."
> Considering the source, this likely is valid commentary. Rereading my analysis of Penton's situation, I see that I may have implied more of a link (between Penton's woes and AEC Systems' performance) than warranted. In fact, it's likely that the AEC shows have little impact (in what accountants call "material" terms) on Penton one way or the other.
Responding to a seminar announcement on our LaiserinLive page, Rod Stevens, architect and facility information manager at Pioneer Hi-Bred International writes:
> "One of my passions is to try to get our profession to understand that instead of continuing to do things the same old way, if they would take on the role of information broker they become a more valuable member of the building team, form a long term partnership with the owner, and make money in the process (potentially, lots of money). It never ceases to amaze me that a profession which prides itself on creativity, to the extent we give awards to each other to honor it, can be so often incredibly backwards and conservative from a business sense. Keep trying to get the word out—some of them are listening!"
> And never is heard a discouraging word... Seriously, Ron, thanks for the kind words and the keen insight. I'm increasingly of the opinion that "architectural services" will migrate (albeit slowly) to higher levels of abstraction (in terms of building intelligence and degrees of separation from geometric description) almost in lockstep with the capability of our software tools to perform at higher levels of abstraction (in terms of object intelligence and degrees of separation from machine language).
Our recent pieces on Autodesk and Revit (Autodesk in Wonderland, RevitDesk versus AutoRevit and Galileo's Dialogue) attracted a lot of comment, all of it unkind to Autodesk. We've "anonymized" the sentiments and edited out the gratuitous nastiness in the following examples, but still...
A CAD/IT manager in the USA writes:
> "It seems Phil & AutoDesk have a big problem on their hands. I am watching very carefully as I don’t think they can put together anything that will generate major sales for the company with this merger."
A CAD manager from the Antipodes writes:
> "I am fairly certain that the direction Revit is going in is promising, but how to convince both myself and my management that a drastic change with the attendant costs of (shudder) subscription, training and worse, the expected holdups to the workflow, are going to be worthwhile? How does one do a cost benefit with all the unknowns? ...
"The question was asked by an ADT user... "We have within the last 6 months committed our company to the ADT platform (at enormous expense). What is the future of this particular software?" Answer: Well, you've seen the corporate speak from Autodesk about "continuing development" and "separate streams", etc. The answer, to my way of thinking, is that the new ADT users were to put it mildly... sold a pup. I don't know anyone that is using ADT, although many have it installed. The incompatability with non-ADT users and the reluctance or ignorance of the need to install plug-ins is wide-spread...
"One point I raised [re Revit]... was answered, but not I think understood by many was the lack of an API... There is only one-way communication with the rest of the "dataverse"... How are we to see that attitude to complete integration with the rest of what we do? Are we going to be stuck with a program that refuses to communicate? Surely the idea of 2-way data transfer is not that difficult a concept to handle... I think the API issue needs to be resolved before serious users should consider using Revit.
"Sorry to be so negative and critical, but my experience has shown that even large companies have chosen wrongly and expensively in the past because of sales spin. As I said before, there appears to be great promise in the Revit path, and hopefully, some light at the end of the tunnel."
Another CAD/IT manager from the USA writes:
> "I can't agree with you more that the Revit-centered digital building model appears to be a long term Autodesk business strategy for greater monopoly of industry data and process than just digital tools. However isn't this the same game that Microsoft, IBM and Sun are playing with Web Services, Microsoft and Sun with Java and ActiveX, Microsoft and IBM with Exchange and Lotus Notes, Microsoft with Word-Excel, etc.? Users will benefit and suffer at the same time while these guys battle it out for full control. Autodesk’s new strategy looks irreversible at the present time...
"While the Revit approach offers a more interesting and promising path for the design, construction and facility management industries, significant and meaningful evolution will probably take many more years than Autodesk would like to see. And I am not sure Autodesk will necessarily be very successful however hard they push, at least in the short term. Indeed interesting time ahead."
Yet another USA-based CAD Director writes:
> "Good article. Brings out the desire in me to tell Autodesk where to go, but I'm too much of a gentleman."
These four letter writers' combined CAD management experience/responsibility covers architectural firms with an aggregate total of 2,000 staff, and the picture they paint of ADT and Revit migration is not pretty. I'm reluctant to extrapolate from anecdotal evidence, but I've yet to hear from anyone who's as optimistic as these writers are pessimistic. Interesting times, indeed.