The City University of New York (CUNY) has its own TV channel which broadcasts over the air and to a cable audience of 2.7 million people.  It is here that for the first time a BIM conference, headlined by New York City Building Commissioner Robert LiMandri and New York City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, will be on a regular television channel (Channel 75) and rebroadcast several times after the initial showing. 

The event is this Thursday February 28th at Baruch College in the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute, and it is significant for several reasons.

Finally the viewing public can see a discourse on BIM with three panels and a thorough discussion of everything from standards, design, means and methods, facilities management and more. 

Down in D.C. and around the country, our elected representatives really know very little, if anything, about BIM and its uses.  That is changing as the technology, processes and their benefits become clearer and clearer.

In the U.K., the BIM effort has been funded from all the way to the Prime Minister's cabinet level, whereas here the decision makers are really in the dark about it.

Last summer we had the pleasure of sitting with Rep. Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, a few weeks prior to his selection as Romney's V.P. nominee.  We mentioned to him the term BIM and the fact that Wisconsin was one of the first states, if not the first state, to have a published BIM Guide back in 2009.

He had never heard of BIM. When I said it saves millions, if not billions, in facilities management for an Owner like the federal government (with its 400,000 buildings), he looked at me with those piercing blue eyes and said, "John, I don't deal in millions, I deal in trillions".  There went the BIM discussion and he was off to another question from the room.

This is no slight on Rep. Ryan, he seems like a good man who wants to do right by the country.  It's an indictmtnet of the AECOO industry and how fragmented we are that we can't tell a coherent story or one that has enough legs to get the funding necessary for open information exchange standards between agencies and project stakeholders.

All the federal budgets have been cut, but this is an area Republicans (good government, efficiencies) and Democrats (best prectices, enegry savings) can unanimously get behind.

It's just that they don't know what to get behind because they have not heard of the methodology.  It's hard to comprehend for us BIM true believers but stick your head out of the sand and see that we are still really talking to ourselves.

That's why this broadcast is so significant.  It's not a webinar, it's not a YouTube video, it's not a PowerPoint or a goto meeting.  It's not a soundbite on a TV newscast.  This is on a TV channel for the full duration of the conference (it will be edited in three chunks for viewing purposes). 

Think of it like the obsession people have watching the real estate shows on TV where a couple looks for a house or an apartment to live in (how fascinating!). Or it's like one of those fixer upper shows where they come to your house and do a home makeover in a day or two (wow what productivity!).

But here we have a complete industry makeover, an evolution, a revolution and yes, a real solution.  Only if the industry machas (Yiddish for bigshots) get off their phones, stop with the endless calling back and forth, and take a hard look at their in house data, will this take hold. The industry data is the grease that will drive this virtual engine.  And in the end, Virtual will be tied to Actual!

Yes we have come late to the technology party, but check us out on TV-75 in New York City soon.  It may be that the TV clicker actually gets put down by some who are interested in our treasured assets known as real property and in the progress of its advancement.