Sharing and viewing large, data-rich 3D models from various CAD/BIM software authoring tools has always been a challenge for users in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction) industry. A lack of interoperable file formats, the need to load models with locally installed software for viewing, and stringent hardware requirements has always held back the ability to scale 3D, 4D and 5D digital delivery in our industry. In the last few years, there has been a strong shift towards developing interoperability standards (.IFC – Industry Foundation Classes, most notably), improving computational power of smart devices, and software vendors providing access to view these models in the web via the cloud.
However, most of these solutions are limited in their performance, focused on viewing models and information only, not allowing for editing/authoring new content in the web. They are simply an extension of the “REAL” product – translating to on-premise, expensive, locally installed software licenses that have all the same constraints, including significant costs per user to AEC organizations.
Viewing a Digital Twin on cmViewer
Since the status quo in the AEC industry today is that the 3D web viewers are extensions of the core product, not the core product itself, we made sure that the cmViewer 3D/4D web engine “IS” the product…with seamless integration in our cmBuilder and cmExe applications. You can view contextual information on the model like many other viewers, but also perform all new authoring activities (3D parametric modeling and 4D simulations) directly in the browser from any smart device.
Access (tech + total software costs) and mobility (tech travels with the user, not the other way around) have always been a barrier of entry for our industry to digitize. We developed our web viewer engine directly within our cmCore platform to empower our users at various stages of the project delivery journey. This feature is an interactive 3D platform that helps to import skeleton meshes, create and design sections of a phase/project, and understand data clearly to visualize the final outcomes. It also lets you share your data and model in a smart and easy way using a link that can be viewed on any smart device at any time, saving significant amounts of manual work and time.
Highlighted key features of cmViewer:
- Cloud enabled – Access, view and edit 3D data from anywhere on any smart device
- Author new 3D parametric content directly in the browser automatically syncing to the cloud database
- Auto floor detection tool which allows users to hover on any 3D model to identify and group/segment all floors automatically for further analysis
- Dynamic visualizations the 3D model reflecting QR code scanning
- Ability to click, add and edit 3D parametric content with your fingertips on any mobile device
- Import large scale 3D BIM models from all major AEC authoring tools (IFC 2×3, IFC4, FBX, .STP)
- Create new 3D massing models directly in the browser
- Place new parametric resources in the 3D map and auto-sync to a master format cost database
- Measure point to point or point to face distances
- Load large scale models on any smart device
- Dynamic visualization of QR code status changes within the 3D viewer
- Share links of 3D models as real-time production reports to project stakeholders viewable on any smart device with no credentials required
- Share links to 4D simulations to project stakeholders viewable on any smart device
- Load 3D map and terrain data from any imported address viewable on street view or satellite view.
We are constantly improving the cmViewer 3D engine with new features being requested from our users, performance improvements and optimizations. A few examples of upcoming improvements to the engine – Dynamic model sectioning, enhancements to the contextual menu improving modeling on mobile devices, location rendering, and 4D animation abilities (time + motion). All new feature enhancements being added to the cmViewer engine have to get vetted through our design and product management teams and must be coming from users with defined use cases that improve the customer experience, ease of use and performance.