To catalyze Autodesk's long-term thoughts about the industries we serve, Autodesk brings in external experts who have a different perspective and point of view. With this in mind, the Visiting Fellows program was established. The Autodesk Visiting Fellows Program recruits senior-level, industry-shaping talent to help light the future path of Autodesk. Although fellows have rich sectoral expertise, they tend to focus on defining and pursuing cross-industry issues emerging at the intersection of our traditional markets and technologies. The fellows program asks the question: How can Autodesk better serve its customers given a changing future?
In response to my prior blog post about what one might ask a visiting fellow, here's a question posed by Autodesk Revit customer, Pierre Venter:
Q: One aspect of BIM resistance is the access to intellectual property (IP). The project should be seen as a whole and then IP would not be a problem. Would this be where blockchain starts making the retention of IP no longer an issue, or at least on that ownership can be recognized?
A: The benefit of a Building Information Model (BIM) is that it is a comprehensive model. It includes geometry, quantities, scheduling, cost, and task assignment information so that it can be the one single source of truth that benefits all project stakeholders. Although some project participants may be afraid to share their IP (e.g., cost estimates) as it reflects the value that they bring to a project, to maximize the benefits, the model needs to be complete. Blockchain (with a capital B) was originally defined as the electronic ledger for Bitcoin. Today, blockchain (lower case, as in blockchain technology) is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value. Though blockchain could provide a record of "who provided what," and the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry may get there, the technology has not yet matured to a level where it can scale to large AEC projects. In the meantime, intellectual property is associated with its creators by the record keeping capabilities of solutions like BIM 360. It is correct that if a project is viewed as a whole, then there is less of a problem. Hopefully, those who are skeptical eventually see the benefits (e.g., "Wow, my estimate was based on an accurate quantity") for themselves and recognize how that can apply to others who use what they bring to a project.
Autodesk has always been an automation company. Today, more than ever, that means helping our customers automate their design and make processes. We help them embrace the future of making, where they can do more (e.g., efficiency, performance, quality), with less (e.g., energy, raw materials, time frames, waste of human potential), and realize the opportunity for better (e.g., innovation, user experience, return on investment). There are many paths to better. BIM is one of the ways to provide the opportunity for better.
Intellectual property apprehension is alive in the lab.