October 22, 2018

The VueOps Facilities Management Solution is based on Autodesk Forge

image source: VueOps

Today's blog post story comes to us from the Forge team. Forge is our application program interface (API) platform and supporting materials (sample code, manuals) as well as a community of developers who uses those APIs. Although Forge is intended for our customers and 3rd party developers to be able to use our web services, we use Forge for our development of the cloud-based services that we offer.

VueOps helps customers maximize facility uptime by integrating their building information through via a platform that optimizes facilities and the teams that support them. VueOps improves the workflow of managed equipment to save valuable time looking for information and planning the work. The time savings helps customers increase resource allocation to preventative maintenance, higher equipment reliability, and profitability. The VueOps visual platform uses intelligent, 3D models to enhance how even the most complex buildings operate.

Owners came to VueOps looking for practical ways to take advantage of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in operations and maintenance. The 3D models used to construct the buildings contained a wealth of information, but they were difficult to link to operational data and enterprise systems. Plus, people without design experience had difficulty navigating the massive files. The VueOps team decided to develop a solution that provided model viewing, data management, and integration with enterprise solutions (such as work-order management systems). So it's no surprise that VueOps adopted the Forge platform to connect cloud-based facilities management with 3D models, equipment data, and enterprise systems.

Forge is defined by 7 groups of APIs:

VueOps developers are making use of 4 of them:

ForgeAPIsV12
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  • Authentication

    Authentication for Forge is based on the industry standard OAuth, specifically OAuth2, that provides for token-based authentication and authorization. The basic flow for using OAuth is:

    1. An app makes an HTTP call to an OAuth REST (REpresentational State Transfer) endpoint and provides its credentials.
    2. A token is returned to the app.
    3. In making subsequent HTTP calls to various APIs on the platform, the app includes the token in a request header.

    Since Forge authentication is based on industry standards, the VueOps developers were able to implement security for their solution in a straightforward way.

  • Data Management API

    The Data Management API gives VueOps a unified and consistent way to access their data across BIM 360 Team, Fusion Team, BIM 360 Docs, A360 Personal, and its own Object Storage Service. The Object Storage Service allows an application to download and upload raw files (such as PDF, XLS, DWG, or RVT). Using the Forge Data Management API, VueOps manages data within the model.

  • Model Derivative API

    The Model Derivative API lets VueOps represent and share your designs in different formats, as well as to extract valuable metadata into various object hierarchies. 60 different file input formats are supported. With this API, VueOps can translate your design into different formats, such as STL and OBJ, but the key one is that they can have it translate their designs into SVF for extracting data and for rendering files in the Viewer. The Forge Model Derivative API provides a way for the VueOps team to separate model construction data from operational data — accelerating end users' implementation process. How much time has Forge saved? Leaders at VueOps estimate that Forge has saved as much as 2 years of development time.

  • Viewer

    The Viewer is a WebGL-based, JavaScript library that VueOps uses in 3D and 2D model rendering. The Viewer communicates natively with the Model Derivative API to fetch model data, complying with its authorization and security requirements. The Viewer requires a WebGL-canvas compatible browser:

    • Chrome 50+
    • Firefox 45+
    • Opera 37+
    • Safari 9+
    • Microsoft Edge 20+
    • Internet Explorer 11

    The Forge Viewer API makes building models in a variety of file formats viewable as lightweight, 3D visualizations. This is a hassle-free way for the VueOps team to share data without having to deal with all of the peculiarities of the various browsers.

VueOps has used the time savings gained with Forge to do more than just go to market sooner. The VueOps team has been able to devote more time to high-value functionality, such as search-driven model viewing — a plus that lets users navigate large models very quickly. And with less time spent on basic development, VueOps can apply more resources to customizing the solution to meet customer needs.

Autodesk has always been an automation company, and today more than ever that means helping people make more things, better things, with less; more and better in terms of increasing efficiency, performance, quality, and innovation; less in terms of time, resources, and negative impacts (e.g., social, environmental). Autodesk Forge is an integral part of our automation plans.

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