Defence plane

How BIM Software Can Transform the Defence Sector

The BIM Software market is booming and is offering particularly compelling opportunities for the defence sector.

The architecture industry is undergoing a digital revolution. Computer aided design (CAD) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) make it possible to take construction projects from design to implementation with less time and money than ever before. It’s a technology which can have a profound impact on the defence industry.

The BIM market is growing rapidly. Back in 2016 it was valued at $3.6bn globally according to a report entitled Global Business Imaging Market. By 2024 it is predicted to reach almost $19bn growing at 22.9% year on year.

Up in the clouds

Technology is moving in leaps and bounds. The rise of the internet has seen a proliferation of online cloud-based applications. Indeed, according to the report, this is set to be the fastest growing area of the BIM market.

Using web-based applications, design teams can now collaborate seamlessly from multiple locations around the world. You might refer to it somewhat flippantly as ‘Google Docs’ for the military, but the principal is very much the same. All participants can view and manipulate the current design from wherever they are.

The latest systems deliver an enormous level of mobile functionality. You can view multiple projects in a central intuitive interface; attach objects to 3D designs, share information and send instant messages to other members of the team. Tasks can be assigned and progress tracked in no time at all providing unprecedented levels of visibility and collaboration.

Web-based applications solve many issues. They don’t require the same level of infrastructure change that hardware might require.

Remote sharing

When planning any new building project, teams can collate and share an enormous amount of data about every aspect of the construction project to help them make faster and more informed decisions. Advanced GIS imaging tools can display a detailed layout of the area including local infrastructure and amenities. It can detail key information such as the layout of the land, weather, storm water controls, natural habitat, views and much more. Using the latest site design and analytical tools all this information can be collated and shared efficiently between all participants.

It can gather all this information to help designers decide on the optimum location for any construction project. They can experiment in the system switching between different possible locations to see which would work best.

When constructing objects within the design, it is easy to try different placements and layouts. It can help in the coordination of key issues such as plumbing or electrics. Furniture can be swapped in different locations and room layouts can be shifted around.

The technology is evolving all the time. Imaging is improving, and so are systems’ ability to share information. The advent of virtual reality also makes it possible to not only visualise a design in 3D but to move inside it.

Even so, the technology has some hurdles to overcome. Militaries are held back by the challenge of fitting new systems into existing infrastructure. Managing collaboration across different teams and locations also requires a significant culture change.

Web-based applications solve many of these issues. They don’t require the same level of infrastructure change that hardware might require. They are designed to fit in seamlessly with existing systems. However, they bring another issue – security. Cybercrime is growing rapidly. Organisations such as the military which deal in highly sensitive data are reluctant to share that data with third parties.

Trust issues

By doing so they are placing their trust in the security of that third party. They need to know that its security infrastructure is up to the task. However, while cyber criminals are actively targeting the cloud computing sector, defences are also evolving rapidly. Security processes may vary from provider to provider, but leading players can now offer a high degree of reassurance.

Further gains may also be coming thanks to the emergence of block chain technology. Better known to many people as the technology which underpins cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, this could provide a faster and even more secure way to process data.

All the ingredients, then, are in place. The technology is moving rapidly and driving ever greater benefits. Attitudes are changing, and the defence sector is becoming better at embracing new technology. So, while BIM software is already playing a significant role, it has only just begun to scratch the surface of what it can do.