BIMobject, when real world meets with digital and BIM – Michael Thydell interview

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Beyond the structuring of their data, their visual appearance and the information they bring onboard, BIM objects have become a real graal for manufacturers, designers but also governments, and it’s becoming even more true with some recent government led initiatives launched around the creation of generic content in countries like France. This week we have the pleasure to welcome Mr Michael Thydell, Sweden-based BIMobject Director, who will tell us a bit more about his company's vision.

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Michael Thydell

Business Director

BIMobject AB

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Linkedin

Hi Michael, we’re glad to welcome you on ABCD Blog, it’s a honor as you’re representative of one of the most important and fast growing BIM objects creation Company.

Could you please first of all introduce yourself and your company?

Hi Emmanuel, I’m the Global Director of a new vertical at BIMobject. For a long time, BIMobject has been creating a push on the market, providing it with professional tools for Architects and Engineers to support their design with real BIM objects, directly connected to the actual manufacturers of the real world building objects, assemblies and components. My vertical will now support the receiving end of the market, namely Facility Managers, Building Owners, Contractors, Retail Companies and Governmental organizations, creating a pull on the same market, that is a demand for BIM models with BIM objects and data. Actually, this is where the big money as well as benefits for BIM really lies, after the houses have been built and we provide great value for that part of the market, for facility and asset management.

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How are you organized and how many subsidiaries do you have?

BIMobject is globally headquartered in Malmö, Sweden with a number of subsidiaries and joint venture companies all over the world:

  • France
  • Germany
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Poland
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong
  • Brazil
  • Hungary

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How many users do you have all around the world? And who are they mainly?

The figures we’re giving you today will be different tomorrow but right now we have 725,000 users and we are growing constantly at about 30,000 per month. Our users are the people on the front line of the construction industry such as architects, engineers, interior designers, landscape designers as well as contractors and owner/operators

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How many objects do you have available? In which formats are they delivered?

We have LIVE data on this which is publicly available but right now (at time of writing we have):

  • Over 300,000 BIM objects
  • Offered in 62 different file formats
  • The bulk of the files are the major BIM authoring softwares such as Autodesk Revit, and other BIM and CAD packages, but also AutoCAD which is still a strong format both in 2D and 3D

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Why would an architect or an engineer download from your site? By the way, could you tell us about your plugin for Revit?

A central repository of over a 1,000 companies creating representations of their products in a central place gives users a central place to get information, all for FREE!

Our plugins (or apps) such as for Revit is one of the most downloaded Revit add-ons available in the Autodesk store globally. It allows instant insertion of objects into a project, jumping over some of the workflow which is used in a standard importing workflow.

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People often wonder how you make business as your objects are free for users. Could you please explain us your business model?

  • Free for users
  • Manufacturers pay a subscription
  • Simple!

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What’s the split in terms of downloads between RFA formats and the others? Is there a big demand for Revit Families format?

We have a demand on a huge number of formats and it varies regionally. In some countries/regions Revit is the front runner but in other countries/regions it could be other BIM or CAD packages or a general mix. We support almost every CAD/BIM platform out there as well as VR/AR formats.

What is your relationship with Autodesk and how important are they to BIM object?

We have a fantastic high level relationship with Autodesk across a number of fields, their relatively new cloud technologies are very important for us as fundamental platform tools and we are very close to them on a technical level.

Which Autodesk technologies do you build on? Revit, Forge, AutoCAD?

We are building on many technologies, the main one for us is Forge which is enabling a fantastic range of tools to be created and have great support from the Autodesk team in helping us create these tools.

Aside from creating and making Families and objects available, we’ve heard about BIM Supply. It seems to be quite an exciting service (developed on Forge) which really change the game. Could you tell us a bit more about it?

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BIMsupply is a platform, freeing the data management from the CAD/BIM-tools themselves, so users may do a lot of the logical part of their processes on a neutral, open web based environment.

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We see BIMsupply as another good example on what we provide to the market: enabling tools, platforms and ecosystems that can be used as they are or as a starting point for third party developers to create a range of services for the entire AEC/FM market.

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This is how our CEO and Founder Stefan Larsson is describing BIMsupply:

What other services and technologies do you work on?

Our big drive is the Single Source of Truth and all the services around Cloud data that can include that. This is not limited to BIM objects and brings all the different sectors of construction into play across the Design, Build and Manage actors.

How is the business going for BIM Object? It seems you’re growing very fast!

I think it has become clear for the most of the market now that BIMobject is the absolute leading actor in connecting manufacturers with designers and engineers on a global basis and that our platforms are become a natural go to market starting point for everyone. We are growing exponentially every year and anticipate doing so for a long time still. You may say that we have gained the critical mass and our further growth now is going on more or less by itself.

What are the news in 2018?

We have a lot planned, but as a publicly listed company we can’t reveal any secrets. But we are going to continue to disrupt and bring amazing new technologies to the forefront. Our new vertical for the receiving end of the BIM market is probably going to be very noticed indeed for many actors this year.

Many regulations and standards are appearing all around the world. How are you succeeding in remaining compliant? Is it hard for your company to stay compliant to hundreds of countries standards?

Our system is designed to meet any standard, especially around data sets. The BIMobject Properties service has been around for years. We were able to be compliant with the UK’s COBie requirements straight away!

What’s the future of BIM Object? What’s your next big step and innovation?

We are striving to become a natural part of the entire AEC/FM market, of course. Even for those companies, individuals and organisations that to this date have had hard time to become a part of the digitalization of the industry that is going on right now. Already we see new interfaces, openness and ease of use through new platforms like mobile technology has opened many doors to people to get involved and we are going to continue to be a leader in that development, being one of the most important enablers of the market.

Had you heard about ABCD Blog before answering the interview?

Of course, it has always been a very good channel of information and inspiration to the market since 2014 I believe. And me and Emmanuel has actually met a few times over the years, sharing a mutual excitement of the fantastic potential of BIM.

Well, Michael, thanks a lot for your time and this exciting explanation about your company. We wish you a great success for 2018.

BIMobject official website: https://bimobject.com/fr/

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