Autodesk targets connected data with Datum360 acquisition

Image of connected infrastructure for Autodesk Datum360 story

Autodesk has acquired connected data platform Datum360 as it aims to connect users and data across project lifecycles.

Datum360 connects data currently stored across disparate silos and enables users to make better decisions by increasing the accessibility of model data outside the design authoring environments, says Autodesk.

The platform is configurable to many industry and company classification standards. It offers:  

  • a class library to specify and define precise data requirements; 
  • capabilities for intelligent data scraping, searching, reporting, and collaboration; 
  • controlled access features to manage changes with a full lifecycle audit trail; and
  • integration of all data from distinct sources. 

Sasha Crotty, senior director of AEC data at Autodesk, noted: “The industry’s most valuable data is often trapped in file formats and not easily accessed, analysed, or reused by users. In fact, over 95% of all data created goes unused in design and construction, and ‘bad data’ – data that is inaccurate, incomplete, inaccessible, or inconsistent – is estimated to have contributed to $1.8 trillion in losses worldwide for the construction industry in 2020 alone.

“The Datum360 acquisition will enable us to better support the near-term data management needs of our customers. Post-acquisition, Datum360’s technology will help us to bridge a gap in current offerings and expand support for non-model data and compliance reporting.”

Steve Wilson, Datum360 chief executive, said: “By integrating our technologies, we’re not building a single source of truth, but a single source to go to and search for the truth.”  

Data Model API

Meanwhile, Autodesk’s AEC Data Model API is now generally available. The API is the first deliverable of a data ecosystem that Autodesk is building that seeks to improve data quality and eliminate the bulky file-based data exchange.  

Built on Autodesk’s Design and Make Platform, and underpinning the Autodesk Forma cloud, the AEC Data Model is an open and extendable solution. “By connecting people and data across the asset lifecycle, customers can create better designs and deliver higher-quality construction faster, with less waste and lower costs,” said Crotty. 

Key features include:  

  • direct cloud access to the granular design data in the AEC Data Model via a set of GraphQL APIs;
  • the ability to access property information for individual Revit Elements such as dimensions, materials or room and area data; 
  • open access to property data created in Revit without the need to write application plug-ins or perform additional processing to retrieve data; and  
  • search across the contents of multiple models at the same time. 

The API in use at Arcadis

Arcadis uses the AEC Data Model API to drive standardisation across its project data. “The Autodesk Data Model API made it possible for us to extract data from our Revit models and centralise it on the cloud so it’s accessible within our organization,” said Josha van Reij, product manager of Autodesk Construction Cloud, data and AI at Arcadis.

“We’ve been able to reach 60% more structured project data using the API compared with our previous way of working. This means we can glean cross-project insights from more quality data and offer automated client delivery in a standardised way.

“Moreover, the API is not only used for new projects. We also delve into historical project data, applying AI to identify trends and insights that our teams leverage to generate new business opportunities and innovative ways to deliver value to both existing and new clients.” 

Crotty added that the API will expand to provide access to additional types of data, as well as data from other Autodesk products. “By making the AEC Data Model API available to any customers with Autodesk Docs access, we are expanding Docs as an open common data environment. Docs is evolving from a cloud-based file management system to serve as Autodesk’s AECO common data environment for all our products, so that it will enable access both to files and the granular data within them,” she said.

“Collaborators will benefit from accessing the data points they need rather than interacting with the entire model. This makes data accessible across a more diverse audience of stakeholders, meaning that it can fuel insightful dashboards that lead to better decisions.”

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