Here’s how you can get the new ‘Channels’ to show up in Unifi so you can immediately start using all of this free, new content:

  1. Ensure you are running Unifi Desktop app version 2.2 or newer.
  2. Log in at Log In : UNIFI Portal (you will have to be an admin)
  3. Click on Subscriptions
  4. Click on ‘Subscribe’ next to the Channel you want to use

  5.  Flick the switch to allow user groups to have access

  6. Back in the Unifi Desktop App… we can now search across the newly added channel

This shows how the ability of Unifi to search across channels and libraries is quite powerful indeed…

Just right-click on any content to Copy it to one of your own libraries (if you want to edit or add extra shared parameters):

You can also see some of this process in this video:

    We all know Revit is the best, right?

    But … there are a handful of people using other platforms 🙂 And I guess even the most dedicated Revit user has to use other content creation tools from time to time. That is why UNIFI has decided to develop and release multiformat support, initially for these platforms:

    Also, UNIFI are offering a free copy of their “How To Create and Maintain BIM Standards” guide to everyone who registers for their upcoming webinar. Here are the details:

    • full title is:  “Accelerating ROI from Your Firm’s BIM Investment By Leveraging Analytics To Effectively Implement and Maintain Your BIM Standards
    • date and time:  May 3rd at 11amPT

    Find out more and register here

    BIM breeds information. In many cases, we probably generate too much Bimformation. It can become difficult to manage and analyse all of it. When it comes to content specifically, Unifi have already provided a brilliant solution for storing, distributing and accessing your Revit and BIM content, and it comes with lots of nice features.

    But what about Reporting and Analysis? What is the point of a cloud content repository, without a cloud web app? Why can’t we manage our content outside of Revit, and make it useful and accessible to everyone in our company?

    Happily, Unifi have developed a new portal web app that aims to do all of those things. And, it looks really really nice so far 🙂

    But what is it, how does it work, and how can it help you manage your content more efficiently? Steve Germano, Chief Development Officer at INVIEW labs, has given me a sneak Alpha peek, prior to its imminent release next week at AU2015. The word is that it will be going live to Beta next Monday… shhhh 🙂

    When it launches officially, you should be able to find it here:
    https://app.discoverunifi.com

    So, what can the Unifi app do? After logging in, the left sidebar provides links to a number of main screens:

    sidebar.png

    Dashboard
    This is a one-page summary of all of the other portal pages. It gives you a quick overview of Unifi and general content use in your firm. Keep in mind that this portal is gathering live data from all of the users of Unifi across your entire firm. You may have hundreds of users in many offices worldwide, and all of the interesting information comes together here, in one place. Also, there are lots more data visualizations coming in 2016…

    dashboard1.png

    Analytics
    Here you can see recent popular searches across your company content, along with a Top 10 of recent downloads. These metrics are invaluable for being able to determine what content is most utilised by those working at your firm. What’s your Most Popular Family? This type of information has previously been a matter of rumour, but now we have real data to back it up.

    analytics1.png

     

    analytics2.png

    Analytics – Reports: This piece isn’t quite ready for the wild yet, but specific reports will be able to be generated and accessed from the web app in coming updates.

    Notifications
    On this page, you can see what content has been requested and the recent uploads that have occurred:

    notifications1.png

    Also, it allows you to manage content requests and submissions, such as:

    • Batch and Single file upload review and
    • Approve / Reject
    • Content Request review process workflow


    Libraries

    This area of the site is still under construction, but a recent ‘leak’ from Unifi has already revealed that they are going to allow inter-company sharing of Libraries. This is a huge deal! Rather than hoarding content in our individual silos, we could establish a more open approach. And maybe this provides a new way for professional content creators to deliver good content to a large audience of consumers. I noticed that Aaron Maller already expressed interest… this could provide a way for guys like him to share and maintain a quality set of content for small-medium offices, possibly with a reasonable price tag attached?

    This Library sharing has been born out of real-world demand, and here is what Steve has to say about it:
    This is completely new to our industry, the ability to share a library of BIM content with a partner/consultant for a project use can raise the consistency of data in BIM models across the world. One of our biggest beneficiaries of this feature is building owners directly, who will take their inhouse libraries and share them with consultants across the globe who are working on delivering designs for their properties. This enhances the total usable data across their portfolio, seamlessly, efficiently, and at global scale.

    libraries1.png

    You will also be able to move content from library to library.

    Tags
    I have to admit, this seemingly simple feature is to me one of the most powerful things we have seen in Revit content management in recent years. It essentially allows you to manage and add intelligence to your content without having to be in the Revit environment. It also allows you to browse your content using all of the nice, intelligent tags that Unifi has automatically added for you. Imagine spending some of your time directly adding tags to content, which is in effect making your entire content database more intelligent, with benefits to all downstream users.

    Available functions:

    • Search across tags
    • Batch apply tags
    • Edit tags
    • Remove tags
    • Merge tags
    • Rename tags etc.

    tags1.png

    Consider this scenario:
    you could be sitting on a bus or train wondering if your firm has a specific piece of content. You start browsing using the Unifi Portal, and you click through a few tags trying to find the content that you want. Then, you decide to check out the Notifications to see if anyone else has requested this piece of content recently – perhaps it is already under construction by one of the professional family creators at your firm? You can see that a similar piece of content has almost reached completion, so you go home happy, knowing that the exact family you need should be built and ready in the morning for you

    So, here is my current Favourite Features in the Unifi web app:

    • Ability to view a one page snapshot of the content utilization in your entire firm
    • Ability to share content libraries between companies (more details at AU2015…)
    • Batch edit tags for your Revit library from anywhere in a web browser!

    Also, some more cool stuff coming in 2016:

    • User Management (batch utility) – adding in the ability to add/remove users from user groups with the same intuitive interface
    • Licensing – New payment portal and processing
    • Project Data!

    Personally, I have enjoyed working along with Unifi for a while now, so sometimes I take for granted that people know who Unifi is and what they are about. If you are new to Unifi, and if you want to know more about recent developments, this little Q and A provided by Unifi may help…
    ____

    Unifi mission statement: The essential platform to organize, analyze, and distribute the worlds Revit data.

    Why did we build the Unifi web app?
    To provide a web app that would be globally accessible from any device. Our customers have consistently requested to have instant access to workflow task alerts and other realtime analytics that may need their attention. The Unifi web app provides a home for an abundance of analytics, reports, and batch utilities.

    What type of analytics and reports are available in the Unifi web app?
    At the time of launching the beta we are providing usage analytics on every piece of content, by every user, in every library, across your entire firm. You will be able to visualize not only usage, but user ratings on your content which is one of the key indicators to quality across your library. On almost every page there is a “Reports” section with a list of various reports you can view. The intent is to provide slices of commonly requested data analytics that will be useful to firms. Want to know which content is rated the lowest across a particular library, or see which employees are actively rating and providing feedback on content, or which library of content is being used most, there is a report for it.

    Each report can be easily customized in the web app so you can drill down to see just the exact data you would like to. Interoperability is also important to our customers and is why we have provided formatted exporting and printing capabilities for reports.

    We currently have around 40 premade reports planned to roll out early 2016 to all customers, and will be taking requests during the beta period.

    Who can access the Unifi web app?
    Currently the app is limited to only the Company Administrators in a firm. As the Beta period progresses access for Library Admins and normal Users will be added. We have plans to add value for normal level users around the areas of content discovery and other project related data and analytics.

    How does the Library Sharing feature work?
    “Collaborative” Library sharing is the ability for two Unifi companies to share a library amongst their teams. This feature has been a high request from various customers who would like to collaborate for specific projects with their partner design firms. We also have building owners who want to own their own core library of content to maintain consistency in the data they will receive from their various building designs. Library sharing allows them to share their library of core Revit content with various design teams for easy access and use amongst their design projects. Unifi provides them the ability to maintain consistent data from their portfolio of properties which can be mined and used for the operational phases of the building. There are many use cases for this sharing type and we are currently exploring the value of this feature with several various stakeholders within the BIM lifecycle.

    There are two other Library sharing types coming to the portal soon. In addition to “Collaborative”, firms will be able to share a library as “Patron/Client which has a limited permission set, and also a “Public” library where any firm can discover and subscribe to a published Public library. Lots more about this coming in 2016!

    What else is planned for the Unifi web app?
    A library analysis tool – We need to provide better tools for our customers during the initial setup phase of a firm implementing Unifi. The first thing every customer wants to do is “purge” their existing library by manually going through and evaluating thousands of families. This is a lengthy time consuming process. We believe we can assist this process by providing an automated QA tool directly in our cloud.

    More batch tools – Batch file renaming utility, Batch moving content from library to library, and a batch user management utility. We understand that in order to properly manage dozens of offices, personnel, and their access to tens of thousands of pieces of content you need the right tools to do so and we plan to make those tools intuitive and a joy to use.

    The “stage 2” of our platform maturation includes several other large scale value adds for our existing customer, and new markets which will all in some form or fashion be integrated into the Unifi web app. There’s a lot of exciting projects planned!

    To summarize, the Unifi team is very excited to start providing the necessary tools, analytics, and access for design firms to organize, analyze and distribute their Revit content globally in an effort to make Unifi an essential tool for every Revit user.
    ____

    Learn more soon at AU2015

    au2015.png

    Unifi 1.6 is out today, with support for Revit 2016. If you want to automatically update Unifi before you open Revit, simply add a Unifi shortcut to Windows Startup, like this:

    Note: depending on your currently installed version, it may be more appropriate to launch from:
    “C:UsersUSERNAMEAppDataLocalINVIEWlabsUnifiLauncherUnifi.exe”

    The next time you open Revit, Unifi will already be nice and updated and ready to go.

    If you are wondering “What is Unifi anyway?”, check out my review at this link.

    I’ve been waiting for this one for a while…
    Admin Automation Features, Batch Delete, & More

    This release added several Administrator related functions for managing hundreds of users with ease. A new warnings section has been added to assist Admins with identifying users without access to libraries. New batch delete feature added to enhance library management duties.

    You can read the full release notes here: https://www.discoverunifi.com/release-notes.html#version-153

    via email…

    My top three new features:

    • Revit 2015 Integration – export from Revit 2015, and easily load families straight into 2015 projects
    • keep your legacy content available for older projects while still being able to take advantage of new Revit features
    • Library Reports – export to CSV

    Tip: if you want to create a Saved Search for a given tag, use [tag name] in the Search term box. The square brackets tell Unifi to search tags.

    Release notes

    To learn more about Unifi, click the banner at top right or check out my previous post:
    New way to Share, Store and Search Your Revit Content

    Exact version number as of today v1.5.0.35051

    I had the opportunity this week to spend a bit of time with Unifi. What is it? Well, in simple terms it is a way to store all of your Revit families in a secure location online. You just batch upload all of your current family library, and Unifi then goes ahead and indexes all of the important family related data. Then, you can do fast and intelligent searches of your entire content library whenever you want to find and load specific families into your Revit projects (using the Unifi addin for Revit).

    However, it does a lot more than just ‘store’ stuff. It handles users and permissions in an efficient yet elegant manner, and guess what… because your cloud family library is now globally accessible, you can share it with project team members inside and outside of your domain or organization. You can set up different “libraries” based on their purpose (for example, the standard Revit Imperial/ Metric content can live in one library, while your “Essential” company content may be another, Healthcare families in another library and so forth). Tags can be applied to families, and the search function actually has learning algorithms, so it gets smarter as your team uses it.

    What about different Revit versions, you say? Well, after you upload a Revit family from a given version (say 2012), the Unifi servers will automatically create 2013 and 2014 versions for you (automatic upgrading). In this way, there is a single point-of-truth for each family – you don’t get file folders full of different family versions with different functionality (a problem that BIM managers have been dealing with for years).

    How many family professionals are in your team or company? Usually there are one or two users who are really at the top of the family tree, and they do your family development, content creation and the like. How can you quickly connect these highly skilled users with the actual day-to-day BIM technicians in your office? Unifi handles that too. Any user can “request” a new family if one doesn’t exist for a particular purpose, and this request is automatically passed onto the family creation people (by Unifi). When they login, they see a list of content requests, and can then handle them in a logical and methodical way. They make the family, upload it, and then the entire team has access to the new content.

    Unifi is what Revit content management has needed for some time, in my opinion. You can easily download the trial, upload your content and see if you like it. Many Revit teams are struggling with a core set of challenges when it comes to content; Unifi provides solid answers to many of these questions.

    I spent some time with Steve Germano (Director of Product Development) this week, and I was excited to hear about the plans to expand and upgrade the already-compelling feature set of Unifi (including branching out into the Sketchup realm). The development team over there clearly has a good view of what Revit users need, and they are already well on track to provide a solution that could easily become a key part of the Revit content management system in your organization. Additionally, they are listening to the current user base, and continuing to build the feature set with each new update.

    If it sounds like these Unifi folk know what they are doing, it might because INVIEW labs is behind Unifi. And INVIEW labs does lots of Revit content development for Autodesk Seek. Are you getting the picture? (This is one of those times that you probably could just stop reading and go get the trial… or) Read on for a brief summary:

    Unique, powerful features of Unifi:

    • your folder structure is automatically tagged onto your content when you Batch Upload it
    • batch user creation (is very fast!)
    • tracking of content requests – content creation can be centralised and distributed to key users
    • Shared Search Keywords (learning algorithm)
    • Smart Folders / Saved Searches
    • automatic upgrading of uploaded content (single point of truth for each family)
    • automatic versioning of changes to families (backup / rollback abilities)
    • extract any Revit System Family Type from an existing Revit Project and store them in the Unifi cloud – Wall Types etc (this includes complete MEP systems with required supporting families from Routing Preferences)

    Latest release notes are at https://www.discoverunifi.com/release-notes.html

    A few thoughts on the UX:

    • interface is very clean and smooth, and it fits the Windows 8 “style” of frameless dialogs etc
    • simple deployment – you don’t have to set up new local database instances or deal with local domain / file permission problems
    • auto updating feature works seamlessly and quickly
    • the Unifi pane can detect which Revit version is running and adapt to the current environment

    You may be interested in this:
    Case study link

    Some final points of a somewhat geeky nature:

    • Steve mentioned that they have no server-side concerns with handling the bandwidth of company library uploads and downloads – the actual storage space is not an issue for them. Its interesting to consider really, because its something that might currently be a struggle for your company: trying to store and backup 100gb of Revit content on your local domain, and mirror that globally between offices, and keep it all in sync. That can be hard. But uploading it to Unifi and getting them to handle it all – much easier from an IT perspective.
    • A number of large firms have already made a commitment to the Unifi system. If it makes $$$ sense for the big guys, I think it will make sense for SMBs too.
    • There appears to be some validation in place, that will stop the upload of very bad Revit families (like the Room category family I made a while back) Video here.  
    • You can open the Unifi pane in headless mode (without Revit) by using the shortcut, which will likely be installed to this path:
      “C:Program Files (x86)INVIEWlabsUnifiUnifi.exe”
      This will allow you to drag and drop from Windows Explorer to directly batch upload to Unifi without opening Revit.
    • There is some good Unifi overview at this link

    http://bit.ly/1spd0jt

    Give it a go, and feel free to reply via comment to this post or tweet me @lukeyjohnson with your opinions!

    Update 1:
    Some people have expressed concern with having to download their families from the web to insert them into projects. Consider the following points:

    • you never have to deal with the upgrade screen as Unifi always inserts the native Revit version of the family (a good time saver)
    • Unifi has a local cache of any family you’ve downloaded (it internally stores the last 50 families you’ve downloaded) so you insert these from local HD anyway.
    • if you’ve already inserted a family into your project from Unifi, the next time you use Unifi to “insert” that family into your project it actually knows if the family in your current Revit project is the same revision as the one on the cloud, and it simply starts the family place command, it doesn’t actually download again. No reason to as it is already in the project
    • office to office bandwidth may be extremely expensive compared to internet bandwidth. Multi-office AEC firm CTO’s may prefer the fact that Unifi uses internet bandwidth and not their network bandwidth.
    • Unifi provides monthly full database downloads for customers, meaning that a rare internet outage is likely a very low risk to affect workflow.

    Update 2:
    If you want to clear your upload queue for Unifi, go to:
    C:UsersUSERNAMEAppDataLocalINVIEWlabsDiscoverClientSettingsUploadQueue

    Close the Unifi Pane, then delete all of the files in this folder. After restarting Unifi, your upload queue should be clear.

    Update 3:
    Download Unifi admin tutorial here:
    https://discoverunifi.com/unifi/tutorial

      Some of the old-school Revit users may already be familiar with this process, but here it is…

      https://discoverunifi.com/unifi.html

      … you want to make your own RPC, perhaps to signify an existing tree to be retained, and you would like it to show in a render.

      These are actually very useful in Realistic views too, because (as you probably already know) Revit shows the RPC image when a view is set to Realistic.

      In simple terms:

      1. Use the free RPC Creator utility, a photo of the tree, and an image mask (a black and white image created in Photoshop or a similar tool, where white is the part of the image to be rendered)
      2. After you have created the RPC file, you need to put it into the appropriate location, probably:
        somepathCommon FilesAutodesk SharedMaterials2013assetlibrary_base.fbmRPCs
      3. Restart Revit
      4. Your RPC will now be available in the RPC library, and accessible when creating or modifying a Family based on the RPC template.

      I used an old version of the RPC Creator installer that I had, but you can download the ‘current’ free version at:
      http://acm.archvision.com/support/downloads/RPC_Creator_1610.exe

      One key thing – you need to enter size units in cm when using the RPC Creator.  For a full tutorial, check out:
      Creator Pro Tutorials

      Also, to help size the ‘width’ of your tree, you might want to measure the aerial image on Google Earth (using the Google Earth measure tool).  At least then you know that the image will be in the right ballpark for size.  The size can be easily modified in the Family Type Properties once you have the RPC installed in the right folder.

      Notes:
      RPC location for XP 64 bit:
      C:Program Files (x86)Common FilesAutodesk SharedMaterials2013assetlibrary_base.fbmRPCs

      You need to exit and restart the Revit program each time you add or modify an RPC file in that folder

      If you want to activate RPC creator (this should be free), use the ID number submit tool at:
      http://archvision.com/products/plugin#rpc-creator-pro

      I actually posted about RPC Creator way back in 2009.

      Enjoy 🙂