31 Jan, 2005 By: Sara Ferris

A behind-the-scenes look at the CAD world.


Now that the old A/E/C SYSTEMS trade show has been entirely absorbed into Technology for Construction, a new AEC-oriented event has popped up on the calendar. Scheduled for June 20–23 in Orlando, Florida, the AEC Science and Technology conference and exhibition promises to focus on lifecycle strategies for the built environment. It's the brainchild of, among others, former A/E/C SYSTEMS co-founder George Borkovich and operations vp Richard Vendola.

Ten years and counting

It was in fact at an A/E/C SYSTEMS show that the IAI (International Alliance for Interoperability) was launched 10 years ago, with the lofty goal of developing an open architecture to facilitate data exchange throughout a building's lifecycle. The IAI today estimates that 75% of the AEC CAD market supports the current 2x2 version of the IFCs (Industry Foundation Classes). The next version, 2x3, is expected to appear in May, with new support for GIS information developed in association with ESRI and the OGC (Open GIS Consortium). The goal is to facilitate regulatory checks of such things as code compliance, zoning requirements, utility connections and natural risk factors.
Have you received, or do you expect to receive, a pay raise for 2005?
Have you received, or do you expect to receive, a pay raise for 2005?

Adoption rate

Autodesk announced that adoption of Revit, its building information modeler, quadrupled among commercial customers in the past year. But, actual numbers were not released.

Intellectual property gets you only so far

Alibre has patented its methods for 3D mechanical design over a distributed network such as the Internet. Its patent covers three components—the client user interface, application servers and database servers—that allow designers to share and edit product designs in real time over the Internet and for multiple servers to handle CAD tasks. Interestingly, Alibre has since shifted back to a more traditional application-on-a-workstation approach. Any other vendors who want to venture into Web-based CAD will need to work around Alibre's approach—or else license it.

On the other hand

Speaking of patents, Intergraph continues to cash in on its Clipper patents, the last vestige of its computer workstation business. It settled with HP for a lump payment of $141 million. That brings Intergraph's tally from patent enforcements efforts to $860 million since 2002.

Intergraph spent some of its windfall on the acquisition of EYECAD 3D plant design software from Asahi Kasei Engineering of Japan. The purchase gives Intergraph a foothold in the Japanese plant design market and will accelerate the localization of its SmartPlant suite.


To its credit, after numerous bug reports, the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium promptly issued a point-version patch for the recently released IntelliCAD 5.0 and also listed the 18 critical bugs that it fixed.

Give a little, get a little

Analysis software developer MSC.Software settled its squabble with shareholder ValueAct Capital by expanding its board of directors to include a ValueAct representative. Former SDRC chair William Weyand also joins the board. In return, ValueAct dismissed its court action and agreed not to try to gain control of MSC. Software until 90 days after the developer resumes filing financial reports with the SEC. The New York Stock Exchange wants to see said reports, in particular the annual report for 2003, by March 31; otherwise, the Exchange will move forward with delisting.

Too-hot design

A portion of the Disney Concert Hall, a showpiece for Gehry Associates' Digital Practice CATIA-based architectural software, has been blinding motorists with reflected glare, prompting plans to sandblast the offending stainless steel sheets. Gehry architects blame the type of steel used and a construction error that aligned the sheets at a slightly different angle than called for by plans.

PTC profits perk up

Stronger sales of Pro/ENGINEER, particularly the entry-level version for small- and midsize businesses, helped boost PTC revenue for its first quarter to $169.2 million, up 8% from the same quarter last year.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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