Trimble en route to global domination?!

Since my blog post about Vico last week, the software and it’s assests have been sold to Trimble. The recent acquisition is another very interesting move for the ever expanding company. Over the past 6 months or so, Trimble seems to be buying out many different companies providing software particularly focusing on construction and BIM. Why?

When Trimble bought Sketchup from Google earlier this year in April most people would have thought of it as a strange acquisition, bearing in mind Sketchup is fundamentally a 3D modeling tool with little other purpose. It is now clear that Trimble plan to upgrade and extend the capabilities of Sketchup – Trimbles Field Link has recently integrated the ability to support the Sketchup file format.

– Trimble to Enhance its Office-to-Field Platform with the Acquisition of Google’s SketchUp 3D Modeling Platform

– Trimble Extends its BIM-to-Field Capabilities for Building Contractors with SketchUp File Integration

– Trimble Acquires Vico Assets to Extend its Design-Build-Operate Capabilities for Building Construction

“5D is a progressive step of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) process that provides a richer data context to 3D BIM. 5D intelligently links individual 3D model components with time and cost-related information, enabling project owners and Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) service providers to visualize the progression of construction activities and the related costs over time. This BIM-centric project management methodology connects cost, scope and schedule within a visual environment to provide contractors with the ability to proactively resolve issues and streamline project delivery.

Vico’s 5D Virtual Construction solutions pioneered the category of BIM for construction, and these solutions remain the industry’s most integrated approach to coordination, quantity takeoff, cost estimation, project scheduling and production control. The new Vico Office product suite continues this tradition making it possible to leverage many important BIM file formats such as ArchiCAD, Revit, Tekla, CAD-Duct, IFC, 3D DWG and SketchUp.”

All of this got me thinking about what the future for SketchUp and particularly Trimble may bring. With the fight for an all round Open BIM solution still wide open, with the main contenders being Autodesk Vs Graphisoft both pushing, and at the same time resisting certain changes which could potentially be stopping them from reaching this goal. There is certainly room for another big player in this market as it stands.

Trimble will come into this field with the knowledge that a truly open lifecycle platform is needed – and fast. With all the tools that they have acquired, you can almost see the coming together and integration of these into an all round ‘suite package’ which could not only compete with the current major players; Revit vs ArchiCAD but also create a totally new solution, including tools which are not currently native in our ‘BIM suites’. It seems like the foundations are there, of course a lot of work is to be done if SketchUp is to be the main design platform, but it could be possible. We will have to sit tight and wait, probably for a year or two to see any possible fruition.

I look forward to hearing more about what the future holds for Trimble, I expect more big surprises in the not so distant future!

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About Ben Malone

Information Manager for BIM.Technologies in London

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