Xcon 2018 Austin, Texas.
The annual Bluebeam Conference re-branded Xcon was held in Austin Texas. My intentions of going were to see how the American's are doing things. Seeing that the maturity of Bluebeam users and industry in general in the USA is greater than how we are using the software in Australia, I thought that it would be a good opportunity to learn from the knowing. I have been to a few Conferences now and I like the general buzz that happens around an Industry event, what I felt when I was walking around JW Marriott in the Keynote, sessions or networking, is that there was a closer community than I have felt before. It is also worth noting that this was not just the AEC's A and E attendees only, there was a healthy mix of Construction which can only help balance the building cycle. And while we are talking about the mix, there was only a small 22% of Women attending, a strong representation of 47 States and 10 Countries and 7 people from Australia.
These are a few of my favourite things.
With over 130 Sessions, I was never going to get around to them all, so I came with work colleagues to divide and conquer. Off that bat, it was all very professional from an attendee to speaker perspective, although I did go into a few sessions that were covering fundamentals where I was looking for more advanced workflows. I think a rating system would have helped me here, ha-ha, I just had a thought, shades of blue could have worked nicely:Fundamentals = Baby BlueIntermediate = Sky BlueExpert = Royal Blue
A Revu of Dashboards.
I have played around enough in the Dashboard area but I have not had the experience to see mind-blowing examples that generate that light-bulb moment. Even though this mind melt didn’t happen in this session directly from the examples, I was impressed with the concepts that were given that allow somebody like myself to think about creating a highly structured, interacting, hyperlinking, user access friendly, functional document, of an entire project. My brain synapses are starting to hum!
Sneak peak of Bluebeam Atlas.
This session on Project Atlas was really a 1 hr demonstration on how the tool works and the trials that they have put it through already. The marketing aspect aside, it was a real eye-opener into what offering there is for Construction once on site. Case Study examples were shown and real workflows that help ensure that the team are building in the right location, for example overlaying site overhead photos with CAD drawings to coordinate column locations. This type of technology looks to make Site Logistics and general reporting of construction simpler and easier to identify problems. Worth a look for sure.
Java Scripting in Revu.
The Captains Session.
I presented Customisation to Bluebeam Counts. The square, diamond, circle don’t cut it if you want symbols like your Company standards. The heart of the customisation can be found in this blog, in the session I went on to explain to other how they build up a Matrix of symbols that represent what they need. Due to the Markup List, I tend to see Bluebeam as Database driven PDF software.
Bluebeam skills challenge.
The most fun at Xcon would have to be the Skills Challenge. Teams are given a series of challenges like creating a puzzle from a series of PDF's that each has the own "issues" that need attending too, or a Word-find using the markup tools. This was great to Nerd out watching the competitors expertly battle their way through the different levels and against one another, plus it's a fun way to showcase some of the features in Revu that some of the audience would not have known about. All this while two Hosts were building up the hype and getting the audience involved as we would expect from an American TV show. It was great!
But what did others think?
Greg Gudgeon - A2K - Chief Revenue Officer
We attended the Bluebeam Xcon conference for the first time and it was great to see the diversity of users at the event and their broad range of utilisation of the toolset. It was extremely valuable to be able to connect with a variety of API developers and see how they have leveraged Bluebeam Revu and Studio to solve real world collaboration issues. The Xcon networking opportunities and one on one Bluebeam senior executive meetings really allowed A2K to gain a further insight in what’s next!
Peter Harris. A2K - Consulting Technical Lead
Favourite Session - Field Issue in BB Seeing how Bluebeam is leverage in the field on a construction site with live analytics displays the power of the program. Traditional methods modernised will save much time on sites. In addition to filed based forms, the power of a 3D Photo on site attached to the location within Bluebeam was amazing.
This was my 3rd Xcon and the 2nd in a row where I presented. This year I taught two classes, Material Takeoffs & Estimating in MEP, and Structural Steel & Concrete Takeoffs for Estimators. My employer (Print-O-Stat, Inc.) is also a Bluebeam re-seller, so I attended the 1st Annual Partner Summit, which started on Sunday and ran simultaneously. In my opinion Bluebeam does a great job with the conference and it gets better every year. My favourite part is the networking and the relationships I create with like-minded people, which would never have been possible otherwise.
Simon Thompson - A2K - Major Account Executive.
I attended Xcon from a sales point of view so that I can help drive industry forward in Australia using a software that most businesses already have but remains underutilised. My favourite session being a Sneak Peek: Visualize Jobsite Data with Bluebeam Atlas, this session has me very excited about where we can take the industry here in Australia with relation to GEO fencing a job site and using GPS tracking to inbuilt AR. Keep close with A2K in 2019 for more information around when this product will hit our shores. Xcon has opened my eyes to what is possible with a software that is workflow-driven and has more uses then I or many others that attended knew were possible. The networking and knowledge sharing with various USA based companies that I met when at the event are invaluable and if I get the opportunity to attend next year count me in.
I wanted to find out how much more the maturity of American users were using Bluebeam to Australian's. From the many questions that I and my fellow A2Kians asked, the US is more comfortable with a Bluebeam workflow. There seems to be a stronger acceptance in the A and E side of AEC and as the Keynote speaker pointed out, Bluebeam is now focussing on the C part of that acronym. Australia still treats Bluebeam as "new technology" although it has been around for some time, it's just fairly new to us. So imagine starting a project and other Consultants, the Construction Company and possibly their Tradespeople already comfortable with Bluebeam workflows, in contrast to the Companies pioneering these same proven workflows in Australia. As for abilities in using the Software, I feel that it is part of our Aussie culture to use it, break-it and create a workflow, so our skill in using Bluebeam from Markup to Projects and into Sessions it right up there with the rest of the World. This software is not hard to learn, the integration into other Workflows is where A2K finds their niche. The AEC Industry is still battling with BIMtopia, and I will happily push that cart too, but I am very aware that we need other more immediate, easily integrated forms of Construction communication and Bluebeam is fitting in that place very nicely.