Thursday, 30 April 2009

Australia here we come!

The fifth Revit Technology Conference takes place on June 18th -20th in Melbourne, and CADsmart will be both a sponsor, and an exhibitor - link. RTC '09 is the premiere event in the region and we look forward to introducing many new companies to our live skills assessment for Revit. RTC '09 has a packed and interesting BIM / Revit agenda and I'm looking forward to being there. If you're going to be at the RTC '09 please stop by at the exhibition and say hello, or feel free to search me out in the bar and get me a beer!

Many thanks to Matt Rumbelow for introducing us to the event - and to return the favour, make sure you visit his informative online newsletter for Revit and BIM users -

It's our first visit to Australia, and I'll be stopping off en-route to visit customers in Singapore, and also going to Sydney after RTC. Luckily I'll be in Australia before the Ashes cricket series begins so I can't get ribbed over the England performance ( of course I'm confident we'll win.....)


Monday, 27 April 2009

JTB World

I was chatting with Jimmy Bergmark recently, and it prompted me to jot a few lines about his service which is, in my opinion, an essential element for any CAD & BIM administrators toolkit.

In particular, I wanted to draw your attention to a couple of tools:
First, JTB FlexReport, which makes it easy to track network license usage, presenting detailed lists and charting. With the usage reports firms can optimize how many licenses are needed and also split costs between different profit-centres by grouping users or work stations in the reports. FlexReport helps AEC firms manage their resources and and save money by not purchasing more licenses than needed. (NB Applications that are licensed using the FLEXnet (FLEXlm), IBM LUM or 12D are supported).

Next, SSMPropEditor (or Sheet Set Manager Properties Editor) is a big time saver for firms working with AutoCAD’s Sheet Set Manager or AutoCAD Architecture’s Project Manager. This clever tool enables administrators to select multiple sheets and edit properties without having to do it sheet by sheet. SSMPropEditor runs outside of AutoCAD making the information accessible for more users, for example those using AutoCAD LT.

Just take a look at JTB World's customer base, to see how popular these applications are across AEC firms of all shapes & sizes:
Jimmy also writes an informative blog:

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Mid Continent MicroStation Community Conference

Here's a date for the diary this year; August 25/26, 2009.

Why? Because those are the dates for this year's Mid Continent MicroStation Community conference - arguably the most enjoyable event in the CAD calendar year!

In a year when the world has gone a bit topsy turvey, and big firm user conferences are being pulled faster than you can say, 'I've reduced my carbon footprint by going virtual', it's refreshing to see that the MCMC team are bringing out the big guns for the 2009 event.

Last year, the event was held in Kansas City's Overland Park Convention Center (, and it was a blast. The networking is first class; we took in a baseball game, rail museum, ate sheboygan hot dogs, ribs, steaks - in fact the red meat consumption was like Elvis heaven! :)

This year, the venue is the same - and CADsmart will be taking one of the Premier Sponsor slots.

The two day in-person conference covers a number of different knowledge tracts, including MicroStation, Civil, BIM, CAD Management, Structural Analysis, Plotting and Publishing and Collaborative working. To continue my food analogy, a veritable smorgasbord of content for users and CAD administrators to get stuck into!

And in light of the BE show being cancelled next month, I predict that the MCMC show will the the must-attend user event for the Bentley community this summer. With over 350 people attending last year, this year is shaping up to be even bigger.

For more details and to register, go to:

Social Networking:

Last one to book their seats buys the wheat beer!

Kalexo - kind of a cross between...

I met a very interesting man recently at the AEC IT-Leaders Roundtable meeting in New York. His name is Hannes Marais and his company is Kalexo (

During the break at the Roundtable, I took a look at the demo tools provided by Kalexo, and I have to say, I was impressed.

How can I describe their main product, Teamwork? It's kind of a cross between Sharepoint, Buzzsaw, Skype and GoToMeeting, with a dash of Projectwise, a sprinkle of, a hint of Newforma and a splash of YouTube. Confused? For a detailed look, read Paul Wilkinson's recent blog post:

Users can share files, manage tasks, hold video conferences, record screen movies, create screenshots, redline documents, send instant messages and teleconference via VoIP, all within one tool which looks pretty straightforward to use. Teamwork offers a framework for communications, creating an electronic environment through which teams collaborate as easily as if they were physically located in one room.

I think as we progress down the road to BIM, that Kalexo might well become another must-have application for smarter, more efficient project working.


A little bird told me...

Yes, as Ed alluded to in our e-bulletin last week, we have joined the ranks of 'tweeters' on the rapidly expanding social networking medium, Twitter. :)

I have to say, whilst we still have our training wheels on, it's great fun - and, used appropriately, I can see some big potential for expanding our network of useful contacts across the AEC space.

So, for those of you so inclined, please feel free to 'follow' our daily ramblings at:

Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross, Demi Moore - watch out!


Monday, 6 April 2009

CADsmart CAD Focus Group, London, May 14th

We've just announced the date for our next customer CAD Focus Group. This gives us a chance to sit with our customers in an informal setting for a half day and receive direct feedback on the best (and worst!) aspects of our service. The meeting will help shape our technology roadmap over the coming 6-12 months. We're pretty much fully booked for this event, but if you'd like more information, or a copy of the minutes, drop us a line.

The date is Thursday 14th May, 9am - 1pm. Venue is RIBA HQ in London; free to attend, working lunch included, etc.

We have quite a bit to cover this year. The agenda hasn't been formalised, but will include some or all of the following:

- BIM Accreditation
- Creating custom content for skills assessments
- Autodesk BIM tools (basic & advanced Architecture, Structure & MEP)
- Bentley BIM tools (basic 3D MicroStation, basic & advanced Architecture, Structural & Mechanical)
- Geo tools (Geopak, Civil 3D)
- Vertical libraries (i.e. Rail, etc.)
- Version specific content (i.e. 2010, v8i)
- Presenting performance data, measuring improvements
- Managing large assessment rollouts
- Training & E-Learning


CADsmart present to AEC IT leadership in NYC

I've just returned from my first visit to the Big Apple and it was a fascinating experience. Unfortunately, due to a rather hectic meetings schedule, all I managed to see with my tourist hat on was a bit of Grand Central Station and the rear of about a dozen yellow cabs!

However, I did get to spend some time with my brother, who flew in from LA for a couple of days. For those of you who don't know, he's the famous one in the Vance family household!(

Anyway, the main reason for my trip was to deliver a presentation to the AEC IT Leaders Round Table meeting ( A gathering of IT & CAD principals from AEC firms across the US, and hosted this time around by Holly Schulz at BBG-BBGM, whom I thank for the generous NYC hospitality.

I delivered a session on BIM skills assessments, mainly covering Revit, but also touching on Bentley BIM, which is currently under development, and was pleasantly surprised by the warm response, and interactive discussion which followed.

My list of NYC attractions remains woefully unchecked, so I feel a return visit may well be on the cards this year!


Thursday, 2 April 2009

CADsmart joins Bentley's Be Employable initiative

So, the recession continues to dominate the headlines, and the world's leaders descend on London for 5 courses of Jamie Oliver's finest cuisine and a chat about the best way out of this mess. These are unprecedented times, and our industry is at the heart of the storm. Many firms have no option but to cut costs, and with it comes the very real challenge of layoffs. In a BBC article this week, it was reported that 'the number of architects claiming benefits has risen by 760% in a year'!

And yet, despite the economic chaos, it is refreshing to see that businesses can still display a human side, giving something back to an industry that has served them well in better times. One such example is Bentley's 'Be Employable' initiative. In a nutshell, Be Employable provides free software and training to designers, architects, engineers, and any other infrastructure professional who find themselves temporarily out of work. The reason? To help them improve their technical skills so that they can increase their competitive edge in a highly competitive job market.

As of this week, we're pleased to announce that CADsmart has joined the Be Employable initiative, providing free use of its skills assessment software.

CADsmart enables Bentley Community members to:
- Benchmark MicroStation skills against a recognised industry standard
- Highlight skills gaps for targeted training
- Focus learning using the Bentley Systems suite of training tools
- Measure improvements in personal CAD performance post-training

Each Bentley Community member gets:
- 2 free CAD (MicroStation) skills assessments
- A certificate with breakdown of test scores
- A personal training plan for use with Bentley Learn tools & resources

To register for the scheme, go to:

This recession will end, albeit maybe not for another year or two. And when it does, I hope that some of the tough lessons we are learning this year can be retained. Perhaps in this way, and by supporting each other in times of difficulty, we can avoid a repeat of the mistakes which created this bubble-bursting maelstrom in the first place.