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In the AEC sector (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction), leaders and workers need to access and collaborate on a variety of document formats and sizes. Discover how an effective content viewing software can help mitigate poor information management to power any range of AEC projects and workflows.These range from straightforward permits and invoices to large, cumbersome PDFs and CAD files.  

Easy access to complex CAD and PDF files is difficult even when using a fast, high-powered network. When compounded with remote operations—employees and contractors working with limited capabilities and bandwidth on offshore sites—bottlenecks are common, and IT costs can spiral.  

Collaboration on these documents needs to include all relevant stakeholders,  and processes need to be simple enough that dedicated training isn’t necessary. Security and compliance are also critical factors—particularly with data protection regulations becoming increasingly stringent.  

An effective content viewing software with enhancements for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction can help mitigate these pain points and other issues that come with poor information management to power any range of AEC projects and workflows effectively. 

Better Overview and Fast Access 

A strong AEC document management software allows for centralization of project workflows and a clear, accurate understanding of the health and progress of any given project, the relevant team members, and stakeholders. But a high-performing ECM solution is not always enough. 

To keep operations running smoothly, workers require fast, reliable access to documents stored in different business systems to do their jobs. This includes immediate access to detailed, high-resolution technical project plans or technical schematics and inspection records for specific machinery.  

Traditionally, these documents would be downloaded and viewed on users' available equipment. However, this is time-intensive, requires significant bandwidth, and relies on equipment to be capable of accurately rendering the document.  

A web-based document viewer solution with high-speed streaming technology (similar to the streaming technology used in systems like Netflix and Spotify) can help tackle both issues. It streams content to a device in milliseconds, allowing fast access to complex files. For example, the document viewer can display an AutoCAD file on a laptop that doesn’t have the requisite software pre-installed; as long as the worker can access a web browser, they can view the files they need.  

Improved Communication and Cross-site Collaboration 

Communication is fundamental to the success of AEC project delivery. High-performing document viewer software can streamline communication by enabling real-time collaboration on files across internal and external stakeholders, clients, and suppliers. 

Not to mention, powerful content viewing solutions include embedded collaboration features such as version tracking and real-time reporting to help avoid any confusion around which users make updates and when. You can also compare two sets of documents and navigate through modifications to easily view the differences between versions.  

In addition, on-site workers and remote users can annotate and update even the most complex file formats and CAD drawings in real-time without downloading the original file and re-opening it in its native application. Instead, workers can open the document from any device and  annotate, comment in real-time, and share files, even while working on limited bandwidth. 

This can prove invaluable when the document in question is a large, complex file that could take a long time to download and then upload again—at the risk that multiple users in the interim could potentially make any changes. In short, it prevents the issue of information silos and accumulating multiple file versions while increasing visibility across the board. 

Continuous Compliance 

The AEC Industry is increasingly regulated by government-imposed mandates, including development licenses, building plan approvals, environment clearances, safety regulations, etc. Failure to meet industry compliance regulations can result in huge fines and reputational damage, but having a system with built-in security features helps mitigate this risk. 

In addition, cyberattacks are an increasing threat — Accenture research found attacks on businesses rose by 31% in 2021. Organizations deal with a vast amount of sensitive data, and even a small, remote operation will likely handle several confidential company documents and personally identifiable information (PII) on contractors and employees. By streaming files using a web-based document viewer, rather than downloading the original file, content can be accurately rendered without sacrificing document integrity.  

This, in turn, mitigates security risks associated with users downloading and saving sensitive files while ensuring greater traceability throughout the document lifecycle. On top of this, users can configure the solution to automatically redact PII based on the specific user or document, reducing the possibility of accidental compliance breaches.  

Enhanced Security and Traceability 

Access to technical content needs to be secure, often requiring expensive software licenses for each user, even those who only need brief periods of access. Centralizing access to and control over all enterprise information helps minimize risks associated with unauthorized access, third parties, and even malicious hackers. A document viewer solution that sits on top of any ECM or document management system ensures an added layer of embedded security and data protection. 

Web-based document viewers allow complete control over which users can and cannot access content to ensure security and prevent unauthorized access. At the same time, detailed audit trails and user activity records help track any modifications or annotations of content while ensuring the integrity of the original file. 

A Final Word on Collaboration 

In the AEC industry, any individual task for any given user is inevitably part of a larger-scale project, typically involving multiple stakeholders across different geographical sites. Simply put, if users can’t effectively collaborate across sites and departments globally, they likely face challenges delivering projects on time.  

By adopting a high-performing document viewer solution for AEC, on-site or remote workers on any given project can easily view complex blueprints, update important PDFs, or swiftly share documents, even while working on limited bandwidth.  

The result is that effective collaboration breeds productivity, more engaged teams, and more successful projects that best meet customer demands.  

Organizations trust ARender globally to deliver documents and content quickly and securely to users worldwide. Our solution for AEC organizations streams content, meaning users can view any size or type of file from any device in milliseconds, offering enhanced transformations like redaction and watermarking or device-specific rendering. 

Post by ARender
June 21, 2022