Autodesk Desktop Connector - Kelar Pacific
Written by Ehsan Yazdjerdi

4 Ways Autodesk Desktop Connector Improves AEC Cloud Collaboration Workflows

Autodesk provides numerous cloud-based solutions to the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry facilitating collaboration between project teams throughout the project lifecycle. One  solution is BIM 360 Team, a project-centric tool intended to overcome the multidiscipline collaboration challenges during the design and development phase of a project.

BIM 360 Team is also where the cloud central Revit model is hosted when Collaboration for Revit (C4R) service is utilized.

Unlike other generic cloud file management solutions (e.g. Dropbox, Box, One Drive, Google Drive, etc.), BIM 360 Team is designed to understand AEC project data and provides workflows specific to the industry in addition to the basic file management functionalities. However, BIM 360 Team was missing a desktop replication functionality until recently when Autodesk Desktop Connector for BIM 360 was released.  Here are some of the challenges Autodesk Desktop Connector can overcome.

#1 – Manage cloud files and folders on your desktop

Once Autodesk Desktop Connector is installed and a connected drive for BIM 360 Team is set up, you will see a drive in Windows Files Explorer mirroring the structure of projects, folders, and files located on the connected data source. From there, you can perform basic file management actions on the folders and files, such as viewing, moving, renaming, adding, exporting, and even going to a file in the data source. All the changes performed on the connected drive files and folders are synced back to BIM 360 Team automatically and made available to other project members using Desktop Connector, mobile app or web client.

Autodesk BIM 360 Team Desktop Connector - Kelar Pacific

One feature that makes the synchronization process efficient is that even though you might be a member of multiple hubs and projects with large number of files, Desktop Connector caches only the files that are actively used on your desktop and will not sync down every single file. This saves local storage and bandwidth consumption, setting Desktop Connector apart from other solutions.

#2 – Work directly on your cloud files

Previously, if you needed to work on the files located on your BIM 360 Team project, you had to do it on your local copy of the file, and upload the final file manually as a new version to BIM 360 Team using the web client. Now, by using Autodesk Desktop Connector, BIM 360 Team can be your actual working drive meaning you can open files directly from and save to the BIM 360 Team connected drive using any authoring desktop application. This way, the latest files are available to you or invited project members from anywhere and you are no longer bound to your local office file server. You can even work offline and upload changes when the Desktop Connector is back online.

#3 – Collaboration for Revit (C4R) files can now link to other cloud references

Collaboration for Revit has been a revolutionary solution enabling Revit users from different geographic locations to work on a cloud-based central model. However, a Revit file is often linked to other entities, such as DWG backgrounds, Keynote text files, etc. Previously you had to use other generic file sharing solutions to replicate those entities for all team members so the whole team have access to them. By using Desktop Connector, you can now upload all those entities to the same BIM 360 Team project folder structure and link them to the cloud-hosted worksharing Revit model from the connected drive.

You can also link a non-workshared Revit model from a consultant who is not on C4R to your cloud-hosted C4R model. Note that this workflow is supported in Revit 2018.2 and newer releases.

#4 – Move your detail or family library to the cloud

Creating a centralized CAD detail or Revit family library AND making it available to remote team members has been a challenge for the AEC industry as it is critical to use the latest version of the library components when inserted into the project files. You can now move your entire DWG and RFA (Revit Family) library to BIM 360 Team and make the latest and greatest library components available to all project teams no matter where they are located. Each time a component of the library updates, it can simply be uploaded as a new version to the existing file and will be available to other members within minutes. Team members can then directly insert it into the project from the BIM 360 Connected Drive.

 

In summary, because the BIM 360 Team Connected Drive shows up as a drive on the OS level, it can be accessed by Open, Save, Insert, etc. dialogue boxes of any application. Therefore, Autodesk Desktop Connector opens a whole new set of possibilities, helping you improve your cloud collaboration workflows. If you are currently subscribed to BIM 360 Team, it is available to you at no additional cost; download it today and give a try!

To learn more about Autodesk Desktop Connector, or speak to one of our representatives about Autodesk Products, contact us! 

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