If you've been around the BIM 360 platform for a while, you've been through several name changes. There's a whole rebrand happening right now. Here's a little clarification on what's changing:
Autodesk Construction Cloud
This is the main BIM 360 platform. It's where all of the cloud offerings and BIM 360 products are tied together and built on Autodesk Forge. This is where all of your project data exists.
There are new products being released within the Autodesk Construction Cloud:
- Autodesk Build: What used to be BIM 360 Build
- Autodesk BIM Collaborate and Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro
- Autodesk Quantify: A 2D and 3D tool used for takeoff, estimating, etc.
Autodesk Docs is being added to the AEC Collection this month (February 2021)! While we don't know every detail about this new offering yet, here's what we do know.
Autodesk Docs is a base-level container where all files are stored, permissions are setup, projects are setup, etc. With this cloud offering, you're able to organize, distribute and share files across the project lifecycle with a single document management platform with standardized control and approval workflows, powerful search capabilities, markups increase collaboration, reducing errors and delays. You're also able to create a single source of truth, ensuring teams have access to the information they need from anywhere, anytime, on any device.
Are Autodesk Docs and BIM 360 Docs the same offering?
No. While each offering contains many of the same features today, and Autodesk Docs includes BIM 360 Docs, the Autodesk Docs offering supports document management for project on the unified platform as well as projects on the BIM 360 platform. The BIM 360 Docs offering only supports document management for projects hosted on BIM 360.
BIM Collaborate is the next step up from Autodesk Docs and it created without co-authoring capabilities. It includes BIM 360 Docs, Autodesk Docs and Model Coordination. You may recognize Model Coordination by its previous name, BIM 360 Glue.
BIM Collaborate projects may be set up on the BIM 360 and Autodesk Construction Cloud platforms. BIM Collaborate does not include collaboration tools for Revit Cloud Worksharing, Civil 3D or Plant 3D.
BIM Collaborate Pro
BIM Collaborate Pro builds upon BIM Collaborate by adding the features that were once in BIM 360 Design.
As you may remember, BIM 360 Design is the rebrand of the old Collaboration for Revit. BIM Collaborate Pro now includes more than collaborating in Revit, but also allows for collaboration in Civil 3D, Plant 3D, workflows for Microsoft Office and PDF files, etc.
We'll review briefly what each of these tools is below:
- Autodesk Desktop Connector: This program comes with BIM Collaborate, BIM Collaborate Pro & Autodesk Docs. It's the sync utility that connects web documents to your desktop. It creates virtual 'drives' within File Explorer to directly work, open, save and go to and from Autodesk Drive, BIM 360 Team/Docs and Fusion Team.
- Collaboration for Civil 3D & Plant 3D: These tools rely heavily on the Autodesk Desktop Connector to function. Both of these tools work in the 2020 and 2021 versions (and future versions) of Civil 3D and Plant 3D.
- Collaboration for Civil 3D: Collaboration for Civil 3D helps project teams to share design data securely across multiple companies. Securely access Civil 3D files, data shortcuts and xrefs from multiple locations and companies, outside company firewalls, all in a common data environment throughout the lifecycle of a project.
- Collaboration for Plant 3D: Collaboration for Plant 3D enables teams to securely share design data across multiple organizations. Users can manage permissions, visualize changes and track project progress. Enhanced collaboration on a common data platform helps maintain compliance requirements, minimize data loss and better integrates project workflows.
- Manage Permissions: These collaboration tools for Civil 3D and Plant 3D allow you to control access to project files, allowing plant designer and extended stakeholder to securely collaborate and share files across locations and disciplines. They're very easy to set, allowing you to permission things out by user, company name or roles. These permissions are respected across the entire project workflow including the cloud, desktop connector and the product itself.
- File Locking: Collaboration for Plant 3D and Civil 3D will automatically lock your files, allowing you to work in a file without someone else opening it and overwriting your work.
- File Compare & Version Control: Since all of your documents are now in the cloud, every time you save a file, it's saved as a version of that file. There is no cap on space and versions are unlimited. This allows you to easily manage and restore previous file versions and compare file revisions in the web in 2D and 3D.
- Revit Cloud Worksharing: Revit Cloud Worksharing with BIM 360 brings powerful, collaborative Revit workflows to the cloud. Enable your teams to co-author Revit models in real-time, staying up-to-date with the latest approved work. Some users have found that it's actually faster than syncing local.
- Real-time Cloud Worksharing: Upload Revit models to BIM 360 to co-author them concurrently with other approved users utilizing worksharing processes based in the cloud.
- To avoid too many disciplines collaborating at the same time on a project, use the BIM 360 Design Collaboration module. This module is specifically built for collaborating inside Revit and creating "release packages", or the ability to release changes to a file when you're ready instead of syncing them in real-time.
- Sync with Central: This tools helps you save your ongoing concurrent work to the cloud by making sure to "Sync with Central", relinquishing work for other users if desired. This differs from AutoCAD syncing, because it stores your models in the cloud in a "separate container" of sorts from BIM 360 Docs.
- Publish Cloud Models: Publish the entire model to BIM 360 for other users to view, search and collaborate on. Select sheets and views from the central model to curate. This does not go through the Desktop Connector, but Desktop Connector does extend the use of BIM 360 to Revit where you can link files.
So why would you want to use these new offerings?
The whole purpose of these programs is to collaborate with extended project teams and manage projects securely and in real-time. Here's how:
- All of your project data lives in the cloud, making it easily accessible to each user, regardless of their location.
- Your project data is secure and scalable.
- You're able to support software specific workflows regardless of location.