New ideas are flourishing within Beck Technology thanks to Innovation Week. Twice a year, the team sets a week aside to innovate and be creative. Out of this week came new applications, innovative and fun product features, defined metrics, out-of-the box web development, and a host of other creative solutions. There are no parameters to what the team has to work on and there is only one rule: you must present the work you did during Innovation Week at Beck Technology’s semi-annual company retreat. This year, Innovation Week ran from August 22 through August 28 with presentations given August 29 and 30.
The reason behind this specific week is to foster creativity and provide ample time to work on fun projects that the team may not normally be able to work on. The results usually end up enhancing Beck Technology to be a better place to work and encourage the innovative culture that the team strives to achieve. Also, several of the innovative ideas end up in production which makes the products and services Beck Technology offer that much better.
Some of the past Innovation Week ideas are being incorporated into the new DProfiler release that is scheduled for November 2012. Since the next version of DProfiler (version 2013 1.0) is right around the corner, we have a tight focus on making our models and databases more intelligent.
Here is a high level list of features that will be included:
- Distance function: Allows components in the model to react to other components in the model
- I.e. a component can change its price based on the distance between two buildings.
- Property function: Allows components to be able to query the properties of other components and make decisions based on those values.
- I.e. a component can make changes to itself based on the area of a building.
- SumProperty function: Like the Property function, this allows a component to gather information about a number of related objects. For instance, you could have a floor object know about the number of air changes that each room on it needs and then calculate a CFM requirement automatically.
- Stack rooms: Enables users to more effectively use blocking and stacking of rooms which is very useful for projects driven from an interior program.
- Create Mass From Rooms: Allows you to create a massing with floors directly from stacked rooms with a couple of mouse clicks.
- Polyline Offset Face Command: Allows users to create new geometry by insetting or offsetting from another existing component face. This is very helpful for creating fences, parapet walls, and mechanical screens.
- Revamping DProfiler Help: We have moved help to the web and allowed the user to configure any amount of custom help documentation as well.
- Runoff Map Representation: Shows the high and low points on a site, represented by coloring the site from green to blue respectively.
- Place and arrange from corral to model: Provides the ability to select multiple rooms in corral to add to the spatial view using the new Place and Arrange in Model action in corral view’s context menu.
- Building Type: We have added a new parametric property for all components that contains the name of the last building type applied to the component. This allows components to price themselves based on the type of building they are in and react on the fly if the type changes. This provides great support for mixed use facilities.
- Grading Optimization: Minimizes cut and fill by matching the original topography elevation whenever possible. There is also a new representation called Extreme Grading which graphically shows the areas of the site that exceed your maximum grade which is great for identifying retaining wall locations, new Site 3D Settings options and component Site 3D Properties which you can use to make the model smarter about the decisions it makes.
- Custom Line Item WBS Properties: This feature allows you to create any amount of additional information you like for the line items in your database and model. This could be anything from an image of the item, to all of the different ways to classify that item, to hyperlinks to webpages that talk about that item or even dates or colors that represent additional information for that item. One way these WBS Properties can be used is to represent the amount of carbon a particular item embodies which would then allow you to display the total carbon footprint of a project in real time.
- Wizards: This allows the user to set up a customized wizard that automates DProfiler operations. The ability to create a custom wizard allows you to automate a large number or tasks within DProfiler. You could create a wizard that reads in an interior program for a theater and automatically creates the theater project for you, including the site components like parking!
- Extended Properties in Formulas: Provides the ability to reference a model component’s extended properties in all formulas used within that component which means that you can add and take advantage of any custom information you like that is tied to a DProfiler model component.
- Dynamic Uniqueness in Estimate View: This prevents the doubling up of line items in the estimate view. DProfiler will group line items that have the same information based on the columns present in the estimate view.
- Internationalization: DProfiler can now fully display in almost any language.
- Cad Unit Selection on Import: This allows you to set the unit of a cad import (through File->Import->DWG/DXF and Terrain->Topography->DWG/DXF).
- Custom Line Item State Colors: New fields in File->Preferences that allows user to set line item colors that are associated with the Normal, Modified, and Removed states of a line item.
The Beck Technology team is currently in the process of beta testing and would welcome others to join in the fun of trying out the new software. Most testing times are on Friday afternoons with the Beck Technology Research & Development team on hand to help answer questions and walkthrough new features.