Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Public BIM: Building Intelligence For All

I am currently reading the bim-bible (or at least one of the better ones) that should be in every uber BIM nerd's toolbox, "BIG BIM little bim." Yeah, I know, why has it taken you this long to read that, you ask? Two words: Kindle Fire. I'm lazy, and before I had my Kindle, I had no desire to haul around piles of annoyingly heavy, bulky books, so hence reading wasn't a dominant part of my daily activities. But the Kindle makes everything so darn convenient, so here I am. But I digress...

While reading through "BIG BIM little bim," I cam across what has been (so far) the most influential and thought provoking concept for me. It goes like this:

"You may not have realized how tightly integrated processes are in your world. When you bought your last airplane ticket, did you buy it on the Internet? If so, you interacted with a highly integrated system. Airline ticketing is tightly integrated. You go to a site and type in a few parameters - when, where, and how long - and hit enter. The system searches all available flights to your selected location and gives you the chance to fine-tune your trip. The system quotes the cost, takes your money, and courses your flight. Quickly and efficiently.
Behind the scenes, many systems tie together (integrate) to make this happen. You do not see the complexities of systems to track the thousands of planes. You do not see the systems to maintain the engines to keep the aircraft safe. You do not see the personnel tracking system to get the right pilot to the right plane in the right airport at the right time. All you see are the items critical to your current requirement. Thousands of systems integrate to let you book your ticket from the comfort of your home.
Such systems have become so widespread that it makes you question how the built environment fits into this world. What stops architects from embracing the process? What stops them from doing a better job of managing time and costs for their projects?"
With the birth of the tech boom and the rise of "big data," SOOO many things are integrated now-a-days. Grocery store inventory systems, distribution center and shipping/receiving, online movie theater ticketing systems, the list goes on.
So yeah, I ask myself the same question, "What stops US from embracing the process?" If the technology exists to integrate almost everything else in our lives, what's stopping us from integrating our offices, our homes, our schools or our grocery stores?
Now, I'm not talking about integrating just our design practices and facilties management, I'm talking about integrating processes and information throughout the ENTIRE building lifecycle. Bringing the benefits of intelligent building models to the masses. Public BIM.
From wayfinding for a fire fighter to 3D landscpe information for a groundskeeper;
Stub locations for a cable installer to live energy utilization data for energy companies;
3D models for city planning to real-time occupancy information for a city official;
Augmented reality maps for travelers to real-time people flow and traffic patterns for advertisers.
Like booking a flight online today, by submitting a few parameters, our future integrated systems will sift through the endless sea of building data and give us real-time information specific to our current requirements. The information will be there, it will just be a matter of how we receive and interpret it.
This brings me to my second most influential quote from the book:
"Someday, when integration is widespread in the building industry, these models will closely reflect real-time and real-world conditions. Today, we plant the seeds for that future."
And one day it will be. Just as the airline industry has revolutionized the way it operates, Building Information Modeling is poised to revolutionize the way we interact with the world around us, and how the world interacts with us.
Today, we plant the seeds for that future: