Autodesk has introduced a new cloud-based services called “Autodesk A360 Collaboration for Revit” during Autodesk University last month. Prior to the official release, it was called “Skyscraper” and was available as a technology preview. Some of you may recognize with this code name better. In simple words, we may describe it as a cloud version of Revit Server; it provides a centralized location in the cloud to save and access a work-shared Revit project file among a team of architects and engineers who are sparsely located across the globe. But it actually goes beyond that. Let me give you a brief introduction to this new services through my point of view.
Work-sharing in the Cloud
I was demonstrating this feature during the Developer Days Asia Pacific tour last November. First, I was *very* happy that I did not need to install anything to set up a server. If you ever tried setting up Revit Server yourself, you probably know the pain; you need to find a machine, need to know Windows Server, and need to figure out how to install and set environment to run the Revit Server. In fact, I must confess when I tried to install Revit Server for the first time, I probably struggled for an entire day. I finally gave up and sought help to my colleague in Revit Server team. (Luckily I’m sitting among Skyscraper/Revit Server team here in Manchester office. The last part was smooth for me at least :-) )
Another thing I noticed is the improved work flow. To start collaboration in Revit, you just go to [Collaboration] tab and click on [Collaboration] button. The rest is quite intuitive. (The image below on the left shows the Collaboration tab, button and dialog.)
Communicator in Project Context
The second main feature of A360 Collaboration for Revit is a built-in "chat" window called Communicator. You can invite your team members to the project and communicate with them within the context of the given project. It really makes sense. Activities around the project are tracked there. (The image above on the right shows Communicator window.)
A360 and Viewer
Of course, since it uses A360, you can share any related files on A360. Additional beauty is the model viewing capability on A360. You can view a model in A360 on your browser, iPad and Android device without needing Revit. (The image below shows viewing capability on a browser and an iPad.)
If you are interested in find out more about A360 Collaboration for Revit, here are a couple of links:
- Product overview page
- Recording of the presentation by Kyle Bernhardt - this gives you the overview (the first half) and demo (the second half) of collaboration feature.
- Product help page.
At the time of this writing, there is no trial version for A360 Collaboration for Revit available. But the work is on a way. If you want to get notified when the trial version becomes available, you can sign up here. ADN members can request NFR (Not For Resale) version from ADN Extranet (member only site) using "Development Software & Web Services Request Form".
Unfortunately, there is no API at a moment. But we want to have it, and in order to have it in the priority list for future enhancement, we are interested in hearing the use-case scenarios and specific functionality of API. Feel free to let us know if you have any requests.
Finally, sitting among Skyscraper team, I saw the team working very hard for the last couple of years. Despite being under a lot of pressure, they always kept their standard high and thought about customers data first. I would like to congratulate to the team. Congratulations to the Skyscraper team for successful launch!