In October 2008 we started to build a ‘simple BIMserver’. Everybody told us it was impossible to store IFC in a central database and have multiple AEC project partners connect ‘live’ to that database. But nobody could tell us why that was impossible. In the margin of a research project about Augmented Reality, we decided to do some experiments to find out what the fuzz was all about. We found that indeed due to the nature of IFC (a network structure) it was very difficult, but with lots of creativity and intelligent programmers we managed to have a proof of concept at the end of 2008.
And then something strange happened. We actually published it under an open source license to share the knowledge. Something very ‘undone’ in our industry. We anticipated this would stir up things in the BIM world, but we couldn’t imagine it would have such a huge impact as it has today, almost 5 years later.
Lot’s of things happened in these 5 years and because we had the luxury not to have the requirement to make a profit with BIMserver, we could focus on the quality of the software. Our goal always was, and still is to help others make a profit with BIMserver. Today, BIMserver is seen as a solid start for others to build on. And many others take the benefit of the strong foundation that BIMserver is. There are many people that make a living with BIMserver ‘under the hood’ of their software.
We started with the idea that BIMserver would be the central point of contact of all AEC partners. Thanks to good research and feedback from the industry we now know that working with aspect models and federated data is much more effective. Somewhere along the way BIMserver transformed into a plugin driven framework with lots of other developers hooking in. It is not a surprise that we joined the open source BIM collective to make a strong fist for innovative BIM solutions. At the moment we feel the good times for open source BIM and BIMserver are yet to come. We have a strong believe in the federated BIM concept and the BIMSie standard. More and more commercial spin offs are starting and we thing we are at the verge of a new business model for BIM and BIM software. We are very excited and look forward to a bright future for the AEC industry!