Company Spotlight: Oasys Software

Credit: Oasys
Credit: Oasys

Company Spotlight does exactly what it says on the proverbial tin. Learn all about the history, BIM journey and latest Building Information Modelling developments of some of the industry’s most-recognised names. A division of Arup, crowd simulation software experts Oasys are the focus in this instalment.

“MassMotion Flow can put 3D, BIM-compatible pedestrian flow software on every architect and planner’s desktop.” – Rhys Lewis, Business Development Manager at Oasys Software

Oasys has been enabling engineers to bring architects’ and engineers’ ideas to life since 1976. Offering a vast range of software for structural and geotechnical engineering, documentation management and pedestrian modelling, it also aids BIM workflows, having brought world-class compatible crowd analysis into the BIM fold.

BIM software allows you to complete your project virtually before even a single brick has been laid, enabling reviews and optimisation of the design; so it makes sense to also simulate how pedestrians interact in these environments. Does the building work? Can you prove the concept?

We all know that virtual reality is a tremendous tool for enabling AEC professionals to walk around their future builds, yet what happens in real life, when hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of people navigate around an area at the same time? Will congestion occur and chaos ensue? Can we identify these areas of concern before it’s too late? That is where Oasys’ skillset comes into play.

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MassMotion and MassMotion Flow are flagship software platforms from Oasys that give you the tools to tackle the issue head on. If you are building, say a state-of-the-art sports venue, can you predict what will happen when everyone decides to leave at full time? Can everyone leave in a safe and timely manner? If you need to manage a major refurbishment project, are you able to see how diversions will affect pedestrian flow? This has been the case at Birmingham New Street where MassMotion is helping Network Rail to run an uninterrupted service during major works.

MassMotion and MassMotion Flow boast an impressive array of built-in graphing, mapping and filtering tools allowing users to quickly and effectively analyse how pedestrians flow through a building or any environment you choose to simulate. They are subject to continuous development and improvement and the current release can import an array of file formats including IFC-converted AutoCAD, MicroStation, SketchUp, Rhino or Revit models and then run simulations of different scenarios within the BIM named circulation events – typically delivering results in minutes. Both tools also have their own powerful built-in 3D modelling capabilities, meaning environments can be produced within the platform, without the need for an import from BIM programs if required.

‘Agents’ (people placeholders) within the software carry out various tasks and move to certain areas within the model, mirroring real-life behaviours. The vast graphical output possibilities allow users to drill down into the results, allowing for better-informed decisions about design. It goes without saying that this software can prove invaluable for fire engineers/architects/planners and others dealing with health & safety; but commercial managers also have a keen interest in seeing how a building will function.

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So what projects call out loudest for MassMotion? Transports hubs, including airport and rail terminals, district modelling and fire and evacuation planning form the core user base; usually because of the advanced agent scheduling required for these buildings, where hundreds of thousands of passengers are moving through terminals at very precise times. MassMotion enables designers to program individual agents as personalities with unique agendas such as checking in, going to a platform or grabbing a bite to eat.

However, as seen during the last two years at BIM Show Live, where MassMotion has been used to model behaviours of delegates at Manchester Central, smaller projects are now benefitting, especially now that MassMotion Flow, with its focus on ingress and egress planning is on the market.

Oasys released MassMotion Flow in 2014. MassMotion’s sibling is able to create crowds of unlimited agents and is designed for a wider audience who are really looking to achieve quick flow simulations at the planning and design stage. There is a clear distinction between MassMotion and MassMotion Flow, based on the range of users’ needs, with the ability to deal with processes and timetabling in MassMotion being the obvious ones. Naturally, there is a clear upgrade path between the two products, and those who find they need more functionality can move from one to the other easily.

“We believe that MassMotion Flow is a tool that every architect, fire engineer and designer will need to meet their customer’s growing expectations for proof of concept with more analysis and easily-understandable visual output,” explained Nigel Rees, Oasys’ Commercial Manager.

MassMotion Flow was on display at BIM Show Live 2015, and the below video showcases the platform’s potential.

For more information on Oasys and how their software can be utilised on your BIM projects, click here. Follow then on Twitter too – @Oasys_Software.

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