50 BUILD Q4 2019 Jun19420 Driving Innovation in the Design Space Vectorworks, Inc. is in the business of design-centric technological innovation. Following the launch of their cutting-edge ‘Vectorworks 2020’ software – and on the back of being named one of the ‘Ones to Watch in Design/Build’– we spoke with CEO, Dr. Biplab Sarkar to find out more about the company’s work, services and solutions. Ultimately, Vectorworks has become defined by solutions. In a business world that is increasingly pre- occupied with the latest aids, software, frameworks and programs, this company stands apart for one very simple reason: they understand the needs of their client base. Whether that be the architectural sphere, entertainment or urban planning, they have created an all-in-one, easy to use system that manages to exceed the highest of expectations. No easy feat considering Vectorworks’s body of work and estab- lished standard. “Our business is creating intuitive and practical software solutions for design professionals around the world. Using the most powerful technology, our products give the free- dom to model anything the designer can imagine while pre- senting it with the precision and artistic flair they require.” Serving some 685,000 users across 85 countries, Vectorworks is one of the industry’s stalwarts, with an ethos driven by ambi- tion and, above all else, innovation. For Biplab, the company’s success has hinged, crucially, on adaptability and a robust approach to their services, as he takes a moment to discuss. “The company is successful because of our flexibility, acces- sibility and client-focused vision. We’ve built a broad product portfolio across several design industries that are catered to the individual needs of those sectors, and developed highly compe- tent, full-service distribution channels. In everything else, we’ve ensured compatibility and seamlessness. For instance, our 3D modelling capabilities are supported by the Parasolid modelling kernel and our products allow customers to more easily transi- tion from 2D to 3D as and when required. “Our clients also love the fact that more than 70% of the features in a release come from the user enhancement requests. The best way to describe our customers is loyal: once they try us, they buy us, then they live and breathe Vectorworks.” Unlike many of their BIM peers, Vectorworks has dedicated its efforts in perfecting the design phase of the project. “Our BIM workflows do focus in on the design elements. The design “O ideas generated in Vectorworks can be conveyed to mechani- cal, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineers using Open BIM workflows. Once the initial design ideas go through iterations to resolve the engineering issues, the design documentation can also be generated using Vectorworks. Our BIM software has been used by Assael Architecture to complete Pontoon Dock, a mixed-use, residential tower in London, by ARP Architekten- Partnerschaft for the WBW Headquarters in Stuttgart, Germa- ny, by Daniel Libeskind for the Jewish Museum in Berlin and Antoine Predock for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Despite the company’s soaring success, Biplab is aware that the future presents a number of challenges across the greater industry. While Vectorworks has positioned itself as highly adaptable on the technology front, the greater difficulty lies in changing client behaviours, as Biplab explains. “Many design- ers in landscape design, as well as the entertainment spaces, are still using non-intelligent 2D shapes to represent objects. Moreover, while we have taken great efforts to allow for flexibil- ity with the design focus of our solutions, that very fact makes it difficult to position in the minds of the customers who perceive that they need prescribed workflows. “Then there are the other challenges that the industry is facing – things like downward price pressure due to app stores and premi- um cloud offerings, and the shift to cloud-based design solutions.” Yet, there can be no doubt that the future of Vectorworks looks to be an incredibly promising one as the company works to continuously improve their offerings. For Biplab the focus remains on two theme areas moving into 2020: “Firstly, quality and performance and, secondly, user interface and user expe- rience. We will have several features in these two focus areas across all the products. In addition, we will continue to invest in BIM for architecture and landscape architecture. We will also continue to improve the 3D workflows in our entertainment suite of products. And, we will keep innovating new ideas using our Research and Cloud/Mobile teams.” In many ways, the next couple of years are simply ‘business as usual’ for Vectorworks as they look to reinforce their indelible reputation on the global AEC market.