Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 1 – Inaugural RTCUSA

So after 8 years, RTC has finally made it to the USA. The first RTC conference was held in the Auz in 2005 & was the brainchild of Wesley Benn. It has grown in size year on year & it seemed timely to bring RTC back (in terms of country) to the birthplace of Revit. I remember speaking with Steve Stafford at AU in 2009 & their where plans back then to try & bring RTC to the USA. However, the economic downturn put pay to that. A year on & a slow improvement in the globally economy; 2011 suddenly looked a good bet for RTC in the USA.

So why RTC you may ask? I have attended AU for the last 5 years, it’s a great event, I have even been involved in co-presenting, but its big, to some extent its too big. Also, in my humble opinion, it’s the wrong time of the year. The Autodesk portfolio is released mid April each year, AU is at the end of the year. For a firm who is utilising Revit & BIM, this is not a lot of good to you. You want to know about the current release, what’s new, how it’s going to affect your business & what steps you need to take to implement the new release. Come the end of the year you have gone through that pain & are thinking about the next release! So to have RTC so close to the annual release date of Revit is actually a smart thing.

I managed to tie my RTC attendance in with a family vacation. Holding it at beach resort is sheer genius as the family can do the beach & pool thing whilst I geek at Revit “stuff”. It also gives the event a total different feel to the dry air condition environment of Las Vegas.

Wesley Benn opened the inaugural event with some history & background about RTC. Wesley also mentioned that they are looking to move the event around the country, so maybe next year it will be on the east coast. Lets hope they also consider Europe.

RTC was fortunate enough to get Autodesk CEO Carl Bass to give a keynote address. Carl has always been passionate about Revit & was one of the key decision makers in the purchase of the Revit product. Carl avoided getting involved in Revit technicalities, as he openly acknowledged it was like being in the Revit lions den, realizing the room was full of Revit experts! Instead he wisely focused on new technologies, in particularly the concept of infinite computing. It was a great speech & you realize how much things have changed in the last 10 years. Its kind of scary & exciting to think what will be possible in the next 10 years!

After a short break, it was onto classes. I attended Dave Conants class on Design a Revolution. Dave gave us a history lesson on the humble beginnings of Revit to where it is now. If you are a Revit geek like me, it was one cool class. To see prototypes of the original Revit concept as well as interface designs made you realise that you have been involved with something which is very, very special. Did you realise the original mockup for the Revit concept was drafted up in AutoCAD? ironic? Maybe? Much like many others, when I first encounter Revit I was fixed, I realised there was no going back.

Next up was Kelly Cones class on conceptual massing where he gave a case study of a project he has been involved with in South Korea. Be sure to check out his chapter in MARA 2012, where he showcases this particular project. 

After lunch I attended Jeffery McGrew & his wife Jillian Northrup’s class on Five Common Pitfalls of Digital Fabrication from BIM. Jeff & Jillian are doing some amazing work; Jeff made some very interesting comments. Whilst Autodesk highlight that Inventor is ideally the tool of choice for digital fabrication, the Becausewecan team buck that trend & instead choose Revit. They have worked hard to establish their tool workflows. To be honest, if you see their work & understand that Revit is indeed a solid modeller with a parametric design pedigree, you will release why they choose Revit over Inventor. Just because it says BIM on the box, doesn’t necessarily mean it should be confined to designing buildings only!

After a tea break it was onto Harlan Brumm class on how to find solve common Autodesk Revit Architecture problems, or as I liked to call it, how to fix things when users screw up! Some great tips here. The finally class of the day for me was Jay Zallans session on Revit for planning & programming projects. I kind of knew a fair amount of this stuff, but it was always good to get a different perspective on how others utilise Revit for this type of work in their practice. After classes it was onto the welcome function, sponsored by Kelar Pacific. I meet up with my family, got pizza before going back to the welcome function. It was strange seeing my two young children, Elliot & Bethan & my wife Becky mingling with so many Revit geeks. In the hallway the children both bumped into Phil Read. Uncle Phil then sat with them for a good half an hour keeping them entertained on his ipad! Or maybe he was explaining the merits of thinking different?? :-)

Overall a great first day. The calibre of classes were excellent, the social aspect & connectivity could only be achieved at an event of this scale & this looks set to continue for days two & three. The RTC committee should be congratulated for pulling off what looked the impossible. Finally, be sure to follow me on twitter where I will giving an hour by hour update of RTCUSA 2011.


Ben May said...

Thanks for the great write-up, as a regular at the OZ events its great to see the format over in the States.

Letizia Simoni said...

Thank you Dave for such a interesting and detailed update of RTCUSA, you make us feel like we are there, or better still, you make us regret not to be there!Looking forward to attend next year!