Autodesk AEC: CIM could save industry $1.7tn within the next decade

Regional manager expects city information modelling (CIM) to be the future of smart cities

Leading industry analysts believe that city information modelling (CIM) is the future of smart cities. Building information modelling (BIM) has already been implemented for individual projects like The Museum of the Future and Louvre Abu Dhabi. Hence, analysts are confident that scaling from doing BIM for individual projects to digitising entire cityscapes will be the next step for the built-environment.

These trends were discussed at the recent Autodesk Futures’ Forum event in Abu Dhabi where Hassan Helmy, regional manager for AEC/Government for Middle East at Autodesk said: “BIM is about having data for a building but imagine having data for everything from facilities and utilities to bridges to streetlights on BIM. Once it covers the entire city, it can be called city information modelling or CIM.”

BIM and CIM not only help with the design process but is carried over to construction, and operation and use as well. This helps with planning smarter cities that involve many layers.

Older technology such as geographical information system (GIS) which is already in place for municipalities and government buildings can be counted as the first step. The next step is to add BIM on a building level and then extend it to a city-wide infrastructure. Further along, sensors can be added to the city over the Internet of Things and the final step will be smart applications to generate Big Data.

“For older buildings that were built without BIM models, point cloud or laser scanning can be done to get the geometry and then added to the CIM,” explained Helmy.

Once this is completed the entire city can be mapped to perform preventive maintenance and mitigate risks, but to make this transformation, collaborative work between government agencies and the private sector play a pivotal role. Adoption and usage by citizens are also crucial for a successful interaction.

In fact, cities have already started planning for this; Abu Dhabi recently launched the pilot phase of a five-year project for smart-cities and artificial intelligence called the Zayed Smart City Project. Initiatives of the project include the launch of BIM e-Submission and BIM e-review systems. Adoption of such projects enable city-planners to better plan connected, sustainable and smarter

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