courtesy Trimble

Sunnyvale, Calif.–based positioning-technology company Trimble grew its presence in the AEC space yesterday when it announced the acquisition of Sefaira, the developer of the cloud-based, building-performance analysis software Sefaira Architecture and Sefaira Systems. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed in Trimble’s press release.

According to Sefaira’s announcement by its CEO Mads Jensen, more than 500 architecture and engineering firms in 40 countries use Sefaira’s tools, which are popular for their intuitive and visual user interface, real-time performance, and capabilities that include estimating a project’s energy consumption, water usage, and renewable energy potential, and running daylighting simulations. Plugins introduced for Trimble SketchUp in 2013 and for Autodesk Revit in 2014 allowed users to run performance analyses within their native programs, without having to rebuild or upload their 3D model into a separate modeling space.

In his announcement, Jensen, who co-founded Sefaira in 2009, also writes that “it was natural for us to develop a partnership with Trimble following their acquisition of SketchUp from Google in 2012.” SketchUp, like Sefaira, is known its relatively user-friendly, accessible interface. Users, he continues, can “expect to see even closer integration with SketchUp, alongside our commitment to continued support of Revit.”

In an email to ARCHITECT, Trimble Navigation product management director John Bacus echoes Jensen’s promise that the user experience will remain unchanged. “Trimble has a dependable track record of interoperability and openness across the AEC industry—with SketchUp being a great example. … Sefaira solutions will continue to support, through its Add-In development program, usage within Autodesk’s Revit to the same standard/level that it exists today.”

SketchUp and Sefaira users also shouldn’t expect any changes to cost or licensing in the near term. “For the time being, SketchUp, Sefaira, and Trimble MEP are still separate products,” Bacus says. “There are no cross-product entitlements, but we are evaluating ways to deliver the greatest benefit for our customers in the future. More importantly, Sefaira customers should expect to receive the same great level of service they have become accustomed to from an independent Sefaira.”

In the long term, Bacus adds, Trimble plans to increase “the reach and capability of Sefaira’s product line, bringing the performance-driven design ethos they champion into the hands of architects, engineers, and others across the design, build, and operate spectrum.”

Sefaira joins the growing portfolio of design-build-operate solutions that Trimble Buildings, a part of Trimble’s Engineering and Construction segment, has acquired in recent years. Other tools, in addition to SketchUp, include project management platform Trimble Connect, formerly known as GTeam and developed by Gehry Technologies, which Trimble acquired in September 2014. Last year, Trimble announced a strategic alliance with German developer Nemetschek Group to improve interoperability between their software packages.

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