SOM & CASE Launch AEC Industry's First Crowd-sourced, Web-based Resource for Sharing Innovative Tools & Technologies

SOM and CASE has formally launched AEC-APPS, the first crowd-sourced, web-based library for applications used by architects, engineers and construction professionals. This is a one-of-a-kind initiative in the AEC Industry and is a non-profit online community that allows digital tool users and toolmakers to share ideas, tips and resources covering a wide array of applications, ranging from commercially-marketed products to user-created scripts and utilities. After months of beta testing, the site currently hosts more than 500 users who have posted 800 apps that can be used in the design, construction and operation of buildings.

Read more about this new initiative after the break.

AEC-APPS at hopes to lead the design industry "toward a model of collaborative knowledge and technology exchange" by connecting tools, from pieces of coding to established software platforms, with people, from educators and students to practitioners and hobbyists. AEC-APPS will allow for the spread of knowledge and problem solving across disciplines, software platforms, geographic locations and experience levels, opening up countless learning and teaching opportunities for those practicing in the design industry.

"Innovation in digital tools is changing the nature of practice, and it's being driven by many players in different parts of the AEC Industry, but they are not often aware of one another's efforts," explains SOM's Technical Director Nicholas Holt. "We saw an opportunity to bridge the awareness gap by creating a new kind of social-media hub for the building industry, where tool users and toolmakers could share ideas on equal footing, from students scripting in universities to entrepreneurial incubators in the basements of Brooklyn, to the developers at Dassault, Bentley, Autodesk, McNeel, and other major contributors."

"Developers are constantly creating new tools and applications to improve building design, construction and management. The pace at which these tools are released is rapidly increasing and frankly, overwhelming even for the most savvy of tool users," says CASE Partner David Fano. "With this wealth of knowledge scattered all over the Internet, AEC-APPS will exist as the primary resource for the AEC industry to not only stay up-to-date with the latest technology but to evolve their own practices as well."

AEC-APPS developers know that it's becoming increasingly difficult for independent digital toolmakers to compete with established developers and so one of the major goals of the website is to "democratize" tool creation and selection by allowing all toolmakers to compete on a level playing field. Membership is free and open to the general public to encourage maximum involvement and is mostly self-regulating so that no one group dominates. 

Made up of three primary components - User Community, App Kits and Apps - AEC-APPS gives each user a kit that can be browed by other users in the community, where applications are collected and shared. Apps are displayed in a democratically crowd-sourced hierarchy and include everything from commercially marketed programs to user-created scripts, assets and utilities. This toolbox layout encourages exploration and provides a shared space for development, customization and creation of new tools.

Explore the website here to learn more!

About this author
Cite: Barbara Porada. "SOM & CASE Launch AEC Industry's First Crowd-sourced, Web-based Resource for Sharing Innovative Tools & Technologies" 17 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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