Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Recession and 3D Adoption

Recently, Charles Overy from LGM Models in Colorado offered the following assessment of the recession’s impact on 3D adoption in AEC …

We have been providing 3D printing services to Architects for over 10 years, primarily using Z Corporation printers. Before late 2008, 2D to 3D conversion was a significant part of our business. However in the last 12-16 month most AEC practitioners have "more time than money", a reversal of the previous situation. As a result of the recession, we are seeing far fewer 2D-3D conversions and many more 3D files. The new CAD is predominately from Revit and SketchUp.

Certainly there is the possibility that those who were doing 2D have just reverted to building their own models. I know some architects are. However, our customer research indicates that the recession has been a significant driver in an across-the-board move to 3D CAD in the AEC industry.

Is this true? Is the unintended side effect of the economic meltdown an acceleration of 2D to 3D migration? If so, then all the pain and suffering of the last year and a half may be worth it for the industry as a whole. With empathy to those individuals who lost their jobs, the net effect could be very positive for the long-term health and competitiveness of the industry. While AEC practitioners were not buying many new seats of 3D software last year (just ask the CAD vendors), perhaps they were finally taking the time to pull existing licenses off the shelf and learn 3D modeling, parametric design, BIM, etc. Whatever the motivation, if this is true, it is long overdue in AEC (see my first blog)!

Is there a silver lining in this recession cloud -- are more AEC professionals working in 3D?

I would love to hear your opinion about 3D adoption in AEC.


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  2. Charles,
    Thanks for connecting all the dots and providing a clear analysis. It does seem like the 21st Century is actually beginning here in Boston as well, 3d modeling-wise. Firms are looking at how they can use software better in order to get an edge on the competition.

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