The recurrent theme at the annual A/E/C Systems trade show in Anaheim, Calif., where vendors were sparse and visitors relatively few, was a discussion of a long-term shift in the industry’s regard for design data.

RIPPLES Cleveland, Bernstein muse. (Photo by Tom Sawyer for ENR)

The idea of mining the unrealized business potential of conveying data developed through the design and construction of a facility–and charging for it, was the subtext of many discussions, including one intimate panel between software officers from Autodesk and Bentley Systems.

(Photo by Tom Sawyer for ENR)

"We are on the cusp of a fundamental change in the basic proposition," said Phillip Bernstein, vice president of the building industry division at Autodesk Inc., San Rafael, Calif. He said the whole building enterprise is being redefined by the idea of representations of data, rather than automation of old processes. The session, on "The Ripple Effect," was with A. "Buddy" Cleveland Jr., senior vice president and general manager of Bentley Software, Bentley Systems Inc., Exton, Pa.

While Bernstein defined the ripples as waves kicked up by the impact of technology, Cleveland defined them as the use and reuse of information. "People treat information as an expense they need to make smaller. They need to think of it as an asset," Cleveland says.