Construction BIM heats up, Procore acquires BIManywhere
The key to this acquisition is in the name of the company being acquired: anywhere. Procore makes cloud-based applications for the construction industry, offering a single platform that enables project stakeholders to share information. BIM, building information models, contain the key data driving many projects but are often difficult to manage as models can be huge and have reams of design data that’s not useful in construction. And, like CAD in general, BIM can be hard to use for people who don’t “think CAD”.
This created an opportunity for BIM abstraction tools, such as viewers and checkers, that make a huge BIM model more useful to construction users — project managers who build and maintain complex plans and schedules, financial controllers who make sure that invoices aren’t paid until work is done, quality and safety specialists, and, of course, the crews in the field. The objective is to move from BIM to Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), as the construction industry seeks to digitalize its way to greater productivity.
BIManywhere is a 3D viewing engine that gives each user type access to valuable BIM information, in a way they can consume. BIManywhere is one of many similar platforms on the market, but Procore’s VP, Product Management, Will Lehrmann, said that “[t]he addition of [BIManywhere’s] powerful technology will enable Procore to bring model viewing and collaboration technology to users and project teams around the world. We have already begun working together to integrate our teams and our products to ensure we can bring these new solutions to our customers.”
Bringing the benefits of PLM (one place that holds product design info, bills of materials, simulation results and everything else) has long been seen as a way from traditional PLM vendors to grow into a new industry. The problem: construction is usually one-off with some but not much commonality between a school, hospital, office tower and hotel. A solution made for build many of one thing with slight variation doesn’t easily transform into a solution that supports processes to build items that are more unique than alike.
Procore, Autodesk, Bentley, Nemetschek, RIB, Trimble and others are working to connect design (BIM) to construction (VDC) through viewers and apps that are all designed to move construction from 2D drawings to 3D models. BIManywhere is a step in that direction for Procore.
Financial aspects of the transaction were not disclosed, but BIManywhere’s founders and all employees are joining Procore.
Why, you ask, am I telling you about Procore? Because Forbes labelled it a unicorn about a year ago (meaning it is worth more than a billion dollars) and now says that Procore may be getting ready for an IPO, potentially as soon as early 2019. All of the buzz around this IPO elevates interest in software targeted at the construction industry, already near fever-pitch because of Trimble’s acquisition of ViewPoint and e-Builder, the partnership between Bentley and Siemens, Autodesk’s push into the cloud with BIM 360, Nemetschek’s Bluebeam, RIB’s partnership with Microsoft — not to mention the dozens of startups each tackling a piece of the bigger problem.
Expect to be reading more about VDC, digitizing construction, work face packages and the like — it’s going to be a big topic for the next few years.