Wednesday, 21 March 2018 03:00

Dropbox builds on collaborative success with Architecture, Engineering and Construction companies

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Expanded partnerships with AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) companies sees Dropbox state it is a go-to tool for people in those industries, solving challenges and delivering more way to collaborate.

Dropbox has announced "expanded partnerships with Aconex, BulldozAIR, Fieldwire, and PlanGrid to give teams in construction, architecture and engineering sectors, more freedom to use the tools and platforms they prefer".

As "digital transformation" continues to impact these sectors, we're told that "content and file creation is becoming richer, more complex and sophisticated, while the need to share content and work collaboratively with both internal and external partners, is increasingly becoming the normal way to do business".

Dropbox reports it is "already seeing strong adoption of its collaboration platform with AEC businesses", and notes that in November last year, the company "announced its intent to support the AEC industries with its partnership with Autodesk". 

Indeed, Dropbox points to new data showing that "teams and users in the three sectors created and saved more than 250 million files in Dropbox last year", which "translates to roughly 25 million files per month or 800,000 files per day".

In Australia, AEC firm Gensler has been an early adopter of Dropbox and reports enjoying "greater ROI, productivity and streamlined collaboration as a result."

So, what does Dropbox say is "the challenge facing businesses in AEC industries"?

The company says that "low adoption of new technologies is costing AEC businesses who are struggling with digital transformation and the shift from a 2D to a 3D world".

Here's some addition info:

  • Earlier this year, Dropbox posted about the challenges facing the construction industry due to their slow adoption of new technologies
  • Considered one of the “least-digitised industries in the world”, the construction industry has an enormous opportunity to add value by adding technologies that improve productivity.

The company then notes seeing "strong adoption by AEC businesses", and added the following info:

"With content and file creation becoming richer, more complex and sophisticated, and the need to work collaboratively with both internal and external partners becoming increasingly the norm, more AEC businesses are turning to Dropbox as the solution."

  • Dropbox reports "already seeing strong adoption of its collaboration platform with AEC businesses. In November last year, it announced its intent to support the AEC industries with its partnership with Autodesk".
  • New data from Dropbox shows that teams and users in the three sectors created and saved more than 250 million files in Dropbox last year. That translates to roughly 25 million files per month or 800,000 files per day.
  • The three key factors driving adoption are increased ROI, saved time and streamlined collaboration.

Dropbox then says it is "solving the content lifecycle challenge for AEC business," and adds:

"Having all your files in once place ensures that any file used during the content creation, feedback, and distribution stages are all safely stored, eliminating content silos and increasing collaboration."

  • Dropbox says "no matter which file type businesses are sharing (JPEG, Excel, PDF, PNG, DWG, CAD) a consistent pattern emerges, showing three stages in the modern content lifecycle: content creation, feedback, and distribution.
  • Unfortunately, the modern content lifecycle isn’t always seamless. Content silos can emerge, limiting effective collaboration across internal and external stakeholders. Teams and users can lose time and energy searching for their content across different tools, platforms, and devices.
  • For teams in the construction industry, this can limit digital collaboration efforts, on-site field execution, and back-office competitive advantage. It also can create vulnerabilities and increase the threat of data breaches when disparate content, tools, and devices are not secured.

As you'd expect, Dropbox says it "provides an open, connective platform," and adds:

"The flexibility of Dropbox allows integrations with several of the industries most used applications to increase users freedom to use the tools they want, while keeping files accessible and safe."

  • These days, no one wants to be locked into a single ecosystem. Dropbox says "that’s why the DBX Platform is designed to give users the freedom to use the tools and platforms they prefer".
  • Dropbox is scheduled to integrate with the AutoCAD desktop application, and native .DWG previews of files in Dropbox that will be released later this year.
  • To support construction professionals even further, Dropbox is announcing expanded partnerships with Aconex, BulldozAIR, Fieldwire, and PlanGrid
  • Currently, Dropbox says "more than 75% of all Dropbox teams link to one or more third-party applications." In addition to the partners highlighted above, Dropbox’s DBX platform offers a wide range of integrations that make team collaboration easier. These include Google Cloud, Salesforce, Adobe, Autodesk, VMwareCisco CloudlockNetskope, Okta and DocuSign

Here are some quotes from Dropbox's new AEC partners:

Aconex said: "This partnership provides integrated cloud-based collaboration solutions to the construction and engineering industry".

  • Manage draft versions of drawings on Dropbox before distributing the final versions to the construction teams via Aconex.
  • Upload Dropbox drawings to the Aconex document registration before distributing the information according to specific project processes.

“We’re excited to partner with Dropbox to help teams better coordinate on large projects by leveraging data across platforms. Our goal is to continue driving accountability and insights to teams, with a growing ecosystem of integrations that helps our users build even more amazing things.” —Tim Olshansky, Chief Technology Officer of Aconex.

BulldozAIR said: "A 2-way sync with documents stored in Dropbox folders planned this year will give construction professionals a more streamlined process for project management".

  • Upload, save and update plans, docs and reports directly from Dropbox to BulldozAIR.
  • Automatically save BulldozAIR site reports to Dropbox, keeping everything up to date and available to your teams, on-site and in the office.

“The Dropbox integration is a major achievement in the BulldozAIR product roadmap. Dropbox is extremely robust and reliable. With the addition of the two-way sync (with documents stored in Dropbox folders) planned this year, construction professionals will be empowered with a more streamlined process for project management.”—Ali El Hariri and Maxence Leringer, Co-Founders of BulldozAIR.

Fieldwire said: "Dropbox partnered with Fieldwire, a centralized, mobile-first platform for construction crews to access and manage project documentation and communications". 

  • Upload, access, and modify the latest documents in Fieldwire through a two-way integration with Dropbox to ensure all team members and external collaborators are working off the same set of documents.
  • Use Fieldwire’s markup tools and task management capabilities to track on-site changes and assign work to team members. The set of plans - with red-lines and progress photos - is then synced with Dropbox to share progress with the wider project team in real-time.

“Our integration with the Dropbox global collaboration platform brings real-time updates to the content that construction teams and professionals rely upon. Fieldwire users need to know when changes to projects and plans happen, which is why our two-way sync with Dropbox was developed to seamlessly centralize work, whether in the office, on the road, or at the construction site.” —Yves Frinault, Founder and CEO of Fieldwire.

PlanGrid said: "The integration with Dropbox lets you upload your plans directly to PlanGrid and back to Dropbox".

  • Save As-Builts and Snapshots back to Dropbox to access them on any device or platform.
  • Build and collaborate from anywhere with real-time access to construction information generated from PlanGrid in Dropbox.
  • File uploading integration with Dropbox ensures you’re in sync.

“Construction projects are becoming increasingly complex and require sophisticated coordination between many different organizations. Through our experience of working on over a million projects around the world, we know seamless collaboration with everyone on a job site is the fastest way to increase productivity both in the field and the office. Together with Dropbox, we’re empowering construction teams to do more with less.” — James Cook, Head of Strategic Alliances and Partnerships at PlanGrid.

Dropbox has made a free eBook available entitled "Build Smarter with Tech", which details "more about how the construction industry is using Dropbox".

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