Autodesk adds new features to its online project collaboration service for the Building Industry

August 11, 2010

Autodesk Inc. (Nasdaq:ADSK), a major design and digital content creation company, has announced latest enhancements to Autodesk Buzzsaw, its Web-based project collaboration service for the building industry. Among the new features is the introduction of advanced external reference (XREF) document handling - whether uploaded, viewed or downloaded from the project site - ensuring that all project team members are working from the same set of drawings. The latest features have been extended to Autodesk's growing Buzzsaw customer base of more than 600 active customer accounts.

External reference files are used extensively, everyday by Autodesk customers to insert commonly used objects or data into drawing (DWG) files. Managing external references on drawings can become cumbersome because users must maintain the parent drawing and all of the XREFs referenced in the drawing to ensure that the most current data is saved.

SOM is an international, multidisciplinary firm using Buzzsaw to help collaborate on complex projects with global clients and consultants. These projects require intricate external reference structures in order to efficiently manage the drawing file data while facilitating project collaboration. The ability to maintain the reference structures is critical to its project collaboration and review process.

'Using Buzzsaw, we are currently able to exchange specific drawing components with our colleagues. What is truly exciting about the advanced XREF document support is that the specific, revised drawing components can now be incorporated back into the main file, therefore maintaining the external reference structure for the main drawing,' said Paul Bielicki, architect at SOM. 'Having the exchanged data preserve its structure, traveling in both directions, is essential to maintain the integrity of true interdisciplinary coordination. This enhanced method of drawing exchange will, virtually speaking, pull our collaborative offices closer together, allowing them to work as one, regardless of geographical locations, and provide a streamlined delivery of services to our clients.'

When sharing drawings on Buzzsaw that contain XREFs, the parent drawing and all other drawings externally referenced must be coordinated when transferring them back and forth among project team members. To help CAD users manage these references, Autodesk has enhanced XREF support to its project collaboration service, allowing users to quickly and easily publish linked AutoCAD drawings. Whether the drawings are uploaded to a Buzzsaw site, viewed, or then downloaded, the improved XREF wizard technology will detect the drawings' external references, and users can then choose to include or exclude the referenced drawings.

'Every day, by sharing and collaborating on project drawings and other documents online, our customers experience gains in project productivity and accountability,' said Amar Hanspal, senior director of engineering for Autodesk Building Collaboration Services. 'As demonstrated in the latest release of Buzzsaw, we are dedicated to continue supporting this success by adding features and functionality that give our customers tools to help them manage building projects throughout the project lifecycle.'

In addition to the XREF feature, the latest version also includes:

Enhanced e-mail notification

From its inception, Buzzsaw has enabled users to keep project team members informed by automatically sending an e-mail notification when a new document has been added or existing document has been modified on the collaboration site. This communication feature has been extended to include automatic notification when a discussion note or mark up has been added to an existing document or drawing. Now, team members can stay informed when content edits are made regardless of whether it is an upload or comment within a document posted to Buzzsaw.

Improved site administration tools

The latest version of Buzzsaw incorporates several new tools and features designed specifically to help the site administrator to more easily view/monitor project data and make adjustments accordingly. These include:

Viewing activity logs  

The optional ability to view project-level activity, including those of individual team members, within the site activity screen. This makes it easier for the administrator to evaluate all activity, from one location.

E-mail space consumption

Saved e-mails from individual users consume space as part of the site. Site administrators can now review and monitor this information from one location, the general information tab.

Improved Recycle Bin

Emptying the Recycle Bin can take time when handling large numbers of folders and data. The latest release of Buzzsaw offers improved performance by emptying all items with one call to the Buzzsaw server.

Autodesk Buzzsaw for building management

Powered by proprietary ProjectPoint technology, Buzzsaw is an online project collaboration service that connects building project team members and helps them communicate by storing and sharing information in one, secure location. This enables owners, developers, architects and engineers to save time and increase profitability throughout the entire design, construction, and building management process. In an effort to support international companies, a local language version was recently introduced in Japan.

Customers that currently use the Buzzsaw service include Degenkolb Engineers; Ellerbe Becket, Hellmuth Obata & Kassabaum (HOK), Inc.; Lockwood Greene; LPA, Inc.; Maeda Corporation; Montgomery Watson; PlayaTec; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM); Takenaka Corporation; The Walt Disney Company; Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo; and Zaha Hadid. These customers use Buzzsaw for managing midsize and large projects ranging from mixed-use high rises to resorts.

         
 

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