SolidWorks World Day 3 General Session is typically the time that various members of SolidWorks talk about Model Mania, Top 10 Enhancement Requests, and the Sneak Peak of what is to come in the next version of Solidworks (2012 this time around). Last year this was when SolidWorks announced "SolidWorks PDS" which has now been named SolidWorks n!Fuze, so this year a new product was announced as well.
About mid-way through today's General Session, Fielder Hiss, SolidWorks VP of Product Development, explained how there are companies out there designing entire buildings in SolidWorks. He continued to explain how SolidWorks was interested in why companies were using SolidWorks in the building industry and determined that it was because many of the tools in this space were "under-serving the market". Sound familar to SolidWorks' beginning?
Enter SolidWorks Live Buildings. SWLB is built on Enovia's Online Platform and gives designers and planners an immersive environment to quickly design structure, floor layout and even place furniture and other decore. SWLB can also assist in planning the proper orientation of a building by approximating how the sun will cast shadows at different times of the year, possibly optimizing the design's sustainability. The UI has the community aspect for collaboration and online libraries of commonly used models that can be searched and dropped into the design quickly.
At a glance the tool feels like Google's Sketchup and/or 3dvia Shape with a similar simple drag/push/pull UI and intelligent intersection trimming. (ie. drag a wall past the exterior walls and it trims automatically). At this point all we saw was a 10 minute demo but the product should be available later this year, according to Fielder.
Here are a few screen shots we took during the live blog of the general session. ~Lou