Achieving BIM collaboration with Talon FAST™

by Andrew Mullen on June 26, 2015

The rise of Building Information Modeling - more commonly known as BIM - is one of the most important ongoing trends in the design, architecture and construction fields. Over the past few years, countless organizations have fully embraced BIM, and with good reason. BIM is critical for creating a comprehensive building design, complete with 3D model and a range of other pertinent information. This helps to improve collaboration, data integrity and efficiency among the myriad workers who must contribute to building design.

Achieving BIM collaboration with Talon FAST™  "BIM is critical for creating a comprehensive building design."

However, the growing popularity - and even necessity - of BIM in this space also poses a serious challenge for organizations. Most notably, firms need to ensure that they create and maintain a single set of data for all involved personnel. Success or failure in this area will have a huge impact on the overall value and viability of BIM for a given organization, as well as whether or not that business can meet current and upcoming BIM-related compliance regulations. To ensure coherence and data integrity in this regard without compromising speed or communication, businesses should turn to Talon FAST™. Only CloudFAST™ can deliver real-time collaboration for distributed workforces dealing with large-scale BIM projects.

BIM value
BIM currently exists in four different maturity levels. Level 0 consists of unmanaged Computer Aided Design while Level 1 includes managed CAD in either 2​D or 3D. In Level 2 of BIM, managed 3D environments must have relevant data attached, although the data and environments may have been created in separate discipline models. The final stage, Level 3, represents a complete online project model, including cost, lifecycle management info and construction sequencing.

Currently, BIM Level 2 is receiving the most amount of attention. Most notably, the United Kingdom requires all public sector building projects to exist in this form by 2016, while BIM use is accelerating in the United States, Europe, Asia and beyond.

Why is BIM so popular? Put simply, BIM helps to ensure that all of the information related to a given building project is contained in a useful, comprehensible format. Considering the complexity and the sheer number of professionals involved in modern building design and construction, this level of unification and simplicity can greatly improve performance for any given project. Collaboration becomes easier and more effective.

Collaboration challenges
At the same time, though, fully leveraging BIM represents a major challenge for companies around the globe. The biggest issue that organizations must overcome in order to utilize BIM is the need for a single set of data that can be accessed quickly and readily.

A single set of data is essential for BIM.A single set of data is essential for BIM.

This may sound simple initially, but it's actually exceedingly difficult to achieve. Every user contributing to a BIM project needs to be able to view the most accurate, up-to-date data available while collaborating with other professionals who are frequently not the same office, or even the same time zone. Any discrepancies will undermine efficiency and teamwork, reducing BIM value. Even if the data is accurate across the board, a lack of certainty will force personnel to regularly check with one another to ensure agreement, which will slow down development.

"Any degree of latency can waste significant amounts of time as end users wait for files to load."

As for speed, many of the more common approaches to reducing latency, such as WAN optimization, tend to come up short. BIM projects are, by their nature, massive files, meaning that any degree of latency can waste significant amounts of time as end users wait for files to load.

The FAST™ answer
Talon FAST™ is key for overcoming these challenges and allowing organizations to truly benefit from the use of BIM strategies. This file collaboration solution ensures that there is a single set of data with which all end users work. With Microsoft-based central file locking technology, CloudFAST™ guarantees that the data will remain consistent even when multiple professionals work on a given file simultaneously, as only one person will be able to make changes at a time. As these changes are made at one location, the central file is immediately updated to sync up with the in-use version. Different end users can contribute to a project without worrying about interfering with one another's work, and everyone will see and use a coherent file.

Just as importantly, FAST™ enables BIM use without latency. CloudFAST™ File-Aware technology streams only the relevant file differences to the centralized copy, and incrementally retrieves those differences for other end users. This means that there's no need to re-download or re-send the entire, massive BIM file every time a minor alteration is made by a single end user. The file remains intact and coherent but companies' workforces can sidestep the wait times that would otherwise undermine productivity.

And because FAST™ can be deployed on-premise, in the hybrid cloud or in a fully cloud-based data center, each company can choose the infrastructure model that works best for its BIM needs.

Taken together, these features make Talon FAST™ the ideal option for every company set on embracing BIM now and in the coming years.

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