Reply To: Architects use of technology
I beleive the lack of technology vision in the architectural field has been more a question of economics rather than a luddite mentality. Traditionally slim profit margins and a scarcity of commissions does not lend itself to huge technology investments.
That said however, Architects who ignore the Web will miss out on an enormous opportunity. It its the ideal forum for AEC projects. Colloborative online applications such as Bluelineonline (http://www.bluelineonline.com) and Frameworks (http://www.frametech.com) are hugely popular on large scale projects. But the concept can be easily applied to small projects. It is relatively simple to create a project or production web site for yor client where all correspondece schedules and drawings are posted. It is a tool that I use as a web site designer and information architect . The client response has been positive and it was obvious that it could be equally well applied to architectural projects.
BuildOnline is a excellent concept. There are many great sites out there for spec. information but none allow for tendering or bidding for products. This is the aspect I would choose to develop. The difficulty facing the developers will be in getting manufacturers on board and enticing them to provide the necessary electronic information without feeeling they are giving it away.
I am currently working on the interface for a software startup company who are devolping a desktop/online application that will attach intelligence to 3D object oriented CAD models. These intelligent objects will be provided by manufacturers and inserted into the model. Team members will interface with the model online and extract or upload information. It is a progressive concept but then so was CAD. The mechanics of delivering and managing construction projects is destined to be Web based.