BLIS the Buzz at AEC Show

BLIS—Building Lifecycle Interoperable Software—was on the lips of numerous exhibitors at the recent AEC Systems Show in Anaheim, Calif. Like the evolution of BACnet—the open communications protocal for building controls—those in the computer design software and electronic tools world have long needed an interoperable protocol of its own.

06/01/2002


BLIS—Building Lifecycle Interoperable Software—was on the lips of numerous exhibitors at the recent AEC Systems Show in Anaheim, Calif.

Like the evolution of BACnet—the open communications protocal for building controls—those in the computer design software and electronic tools world have long needed an interoperable protocol of its own. That set of rules has apparently arrived, as several key members of the design software community are banding together to form a coalition supporting the protocol.

Among those supporters are Microsoft's VISIO division, Timberline (CAD-Link), Bentley and Graphisoft's ArchiCAD, to name a few. Specifically, these vendors have started the "The BLIS Project," which is an effort by these CAD and software vendors to push the concept of object-oriented CAD, and the importance of attaching metadata to parts of a building.

"It will really allow for the transference of data from different proprietary CAD software," says VISIO's Rob Mattern, which to the engineer means he or she may ultimately not have to buy so much software.

CADENCE magazine named the project one of its Top 10 "Show Stoppers," saying the protocol will enable better interoperation among design and analysis tools, as well as provide a database-enhanced model that can be used to reduce operating costs.

According to Timberline's Pete Kent, whose company is taking the lead on BLIS publicity, the project was an outgrowth of the International Association for Interoperability's (IAI) IFC project, "but that wasn't going anywhere," says the public relations manager.

Since the inception of the project, however, the companies and IAI—an association dedicated to CAD software interoperability—have worked together, and 14 vendors are now BLIS certified in the United States, with a second group coming this fall. Similar efforts are also occurring in Europe, most notably in Finland, where software companies like Progman, Oy, and Olof Granlund, Oy, produce HVAC-related engineering programs.

For additional information visit: www.blis-project.org .

Document bliss?

One of the things that can drive engineers crazy—especially those working in different offices—is the ability to slap down the same drawing so everyone can literally be on the same page. With Hewlett-Packard's new Remote Printing for AEC, which was exhibited at the AEC Systems show, that no longer need be an issue. With the software, engineers can fire off drawings by e-mail, but instead of downloading the documents, users are sent a link where they simply print off a secure website. Price is approximately $360 a year. HP also unveiled a copier/scanner/printer. Aside from its multiple functionality in a single unit, the copier allows drawings with notes to be scanned and then copied for either internal or e-distribution. The unit costs about $20,000.





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