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Unified APIs for the AEC Industry

According to James Wagner, Lead Engineer at Bluebeam, “Working on a large commercial construction project is like shopping at a giant grocery store. You may need only a couple things on any given day, but you need to walk through the whole store to find them.” Bluebeam’s Atlas technology, currently in pilot phase, is all about the power of search and association. Read on to understand how Bluebeam uses Kloudless to merge the power of physical location and data delivery within the digital mapping engine, Atlas.

The Company

In the construction industry, each project involves dozens of companies accessing information from multiple sources, and superintendents and contractors can experience “app fatigue” when forced to jump between various software solutions. Bluebeam’s Atlas technology alleviates that fatigue by centralizing project information and tying it to a physical location within a construction site.

By using geo-location instead of traditional folder structures to organize and visualize construction data, this location-based orientation allows design and construction professionals to create and search a seamless digital map of their project that contains plans, people, material, site photos and drone imagery, all within highly detailed, zoomable layers. James calls it “Google Maps for construction.”  

As a result of this digital centralization, all parties working on the build–from superintendents to contractors, estimators and owners–avoid the time-suck and hassle of paper-handling and version control.

The Challenge

Professionals working on a construction project share hundreds and sometimes thousands of construction documents a day. When the project’s designers, contractors, estimators, regulators and subcontractors mark up and edit these documents, maintaining version control becomes an incredibly detailed, time consuming and critical task. Atlas’ developers needed to solve for this by ensuring every project team member could access the most up-to-date drawing or photo in the cloud storage service of their choice.

A point-to-point integration with a single cloud storage service would not meet the needs of all users in a project. Nor would an automated workflow requiring the user to sign in to a third-party service. They needed an interactive, on-demand file picker so project teams could use their own or contractually mandated storage services as data repositories.

Further complicating matters, prospective Atlas users might use less common storage services such as ShareFile or ones more popular in the construction community like Egnyte. Without an integration to a plethora of storage services, Atlas would become one more data silo. Lucky for them, solutions existed for the integration piece, so they could continue focusing on their end-users’ holistic product experience instead.

The Solution

James had used Kloudless’ tools on a previous project and decided to try Kloudless’ Unified APIs to meet Atlas’ need. And unlike some of the native APIs Atlas needed to integrate with, Kloudless’ Unified APIs had thorough, interactive documentation to help the Atlas engineering team complete their integration quickly.

In detail, Bluebeam took advantage of the Kloudless Storage API, the File Explorer UI Tool, the Kloudless unified OAuth flow and Kloudless Events APIs.

Results

Thanks to seamless storage integrations embedded within their application, Atlas will offer a truly differentiated solution from that of its competitors. And since Atlas’ engineers focused their time on product innovation rather than integration maintenance, Atlas’ holistic end-user experience continued improving, further supporting their business expansion.

A Look Ahead

It’s important to Bluebeam that they make it quick and easy for end-users to access information. Their product experience is designed to be as seamless as possible and this means executing additional integrations with cloud services popular in the construction space. With the help of Kloudless, when Atlas is launched it can connect to industry-specific services without slowing their next release of cutting-edge product features.

Published By

Grace Woods