Throwing a big hat into the ring of software developers offering digital project-management tools for the AEC industry, Gehry Technologies (GT)—a company founded by Gehry Partners’s research and development team members in 2002—has launched a free preview period for GTeam, a cloud-based, 3D modeling, file-sharing, and project collaboration platform that can run on any Web-enabled device.
The service was developed in response to common hurdles that arise in the design and construction processes, such as the inability to share 3D modeling information among project team members and clients who lack the appropriate software, program incompatibility, and continuously changing working files, says Matt Reid, senior vice president of marketing at GT. “Customers used to tell us that they would [first] print out blueprints on blue paper and [then] when the models would change, they’d run to the site, print them out on red paper, and say, ‘Everyone use red!’ ”
GTeam enables users to upload, share, and view building information data and a range of file types—from programs such as AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino, SketchUp, ArchiCAD, and Microsoft Office—regardless of whether they have the native software. “It crosses platforms,” Reid says. “We are not tied to specific vendors.”
Users can simultaneously view models originating from different programs, extract BIM data such as energy usage and quantity take-offs, and apply GTeam’s tools, including clash detection and live sectioning. Shared files can be accessed online or downloaded to a local drive, where GTeam will sync them as they’re updated.
Beyond file management, GTeam offers capabilities that differentiate it from other AEC collaboration platforms, Reid says. The enhancements include the capability for users to specify different levels of security and permissions for folder sharing, correspond through an internal social media platform, and track project history and file transactions on a calendar. It can also serve as a centralized BIM data storage center for professionals who work or maintain multiple projects.
Andrew Witt, GT’s director of research, says GTeam will help further the new paradigm of integrated, digital, and global design. “The work is around the clock and in real time. We need a foundation on which you can build that real-time process—a foundation for the new way of practicing design and construction,” he says.
GTeam is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera Web browsers. The program will be offered with monthly or yearly subscriptions; pricing details are expected in the fall. “We want to make it affordable for businesses of all sizes,” Reid says. “The pricing and packaging that we roll out is going to be one of our core differentiators with the product.”
In the past six months, hundreds of companies—including HOK, the Pike Company, Zahner, Coop Himmelb(l)au, and, yes, Gehry Partners—had been invited to try out the service, which was developed based on collaboration technology that Frank Gehry, FAIA, has used on projects such as 8 Spruce Street in New York and the Fondation Louis Vuitton Museum, now under construction in Paris.
GT will continue to release program updates every four to six weeks based “on customer feedback that comes in daily,” Reid says. “That’s the beauty of software as a service. When new stuff comes out, the price doesn’t go up.”