BIMcrunch Editorial – RTC Europe 2015 Review: “We like to Revit, Revit!”

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Never experienced a Revit Technology Conference before? That was me too just over a week ago, and let me tell you, I for one am glad that I was in attendance for the 2015 European instalment.

No other Building Information Modelling conference can boast such a calibre of speaker and availability of free Revit training matched with entertainment and networking opportunities of RTC’s magnitude. Whilst other events may be home to yellow cows, they can’t compete with live horses. That was not a typo, it actually happened! A couple of oxen were on the scene too.

Before the conference officially began on October 29th, speakers, exhibitors and Media Partners (aka me) were invited to attend a reception the evening prior, an extra, early opportunity to reconnect with peers and make new connections with BIM professionals who are far from beginners. This was a relaxed, low-key affair evening filled with conversations between some of the industry’s biggest names. Very humbling to be in such fantastic company.

Another aspect of the conference I can be complimentary about was the venue. The Corinthia Hotel, inspiration for the hotel featured in the Ralph Fiennes movie ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel‘ was a mesmerising venue. Housing a conference in a building as royal really did set the tone for the quality of discussion on offer.

What I loved about the roster of speakers at RTC was that everyone seemingly had a unique part to play. Each of those standing in-front of their fellow BIM enthusiasts had a different story to tell or original piece of advice or expertise to share with their class. Hats off to the RTC committee who know how to throw one hell of a party to book a conference alright.

Credit: RTC
Credit: RTC

As a journalist, I thought it was best for myself to select a wide series of sessions for BIMcrunch’s readership to get the most out of. If you guys couldn’t be there, I tried to best reflect the diverse range of lessons to be learned. It was crucial I didn’t sit through a similar speech (not that there was much chance for that due to the standard of the programme) and actually try and learn as much as possible for myself too. Whilst tweeting the best content possible you loyal readers, it is rewarding to feel that I got a second benefit from all of this, which was expand my own knowledge of the field.

Credit to RTC Europe‘s organisers once more; despite being a little technical, most sessions are certainly accessible and digestible for those at varying levels of BIM adoption. I didn’t attend any labs (can you imagine?!) but the entirety of the symposium’s agenda outside of those was certainly easy for someone like myself to understand, coming from a non-technical background. Whatever your level of competency, this event features a wealth of knowledge to unlock and I am glad I was able to have a key!

RTC is all about learning too, and answering those questions that people want to hear. There are no sales pitches here. If companies want to promote their products, the Exhibition space is there for doing just that. The forum rooms had sales motives left at the doors. Each was simply about providing a rich, engaging demonstration of how positive and negatives experiences of the speaker could help listeners not make the same mistakes. Instead of answering questions with even more questions that need clarifying, RTC Europe was all about talking the talk that would then lead to walking the walk.

Day One featured a series of addresses to begin, with RTC Committee Chairman, Wesley Benn starting proceedings. Autodesk, Panzura and HP | NVIDIA followed, until the morning session was main evented by Keynote Speaker, Lee Watanabe-Crockett. Lee discussed The Age of Disruptive Innovation in a stunning presentation. His discourse was inspiring and perfectly set the tone for the next few days.

The second half of the first day was super enjoyable also. My highlight was the refreshingly honest presentation from RTC Committee members and BIM power couple as I like to call them, Martin and Silvia Taurer. The pair run their own BIM consultancy, LivingRoomCraftZ and brilliantly, their session was all about their “epic fails” as a business. Instead of going on and on about how good they have been and successes they have had in the past, Martin and Silvia presented a humorous look back at mistakes they have made and how they overcame them.

This was the perfect class to put over what the following days would be like. We’re all human, and we’re all constantly learning. This was The Taurers putting their hands up and confessing what had gone wrong in projects gone by, which resulted in their audience putting their hands up and clapping thunderously. This was the most authentic, genuine presentation across the three days and was definitely a favourite of mine.

The inaugural day of action ended with a slightly self-indulgent Revit + | Project Performance address from Autodesk, but after all, this conference is all about Revit, so it made sense to see the latest happenings from their team. Finally, Wesley, Bob and Martin conducted a tongue-in-cheek version of RTC mainstay, Glorious Gadgets. Monty Python they are not, but a fun effort nonetheless to round out the day!

If you thought Day One sounded jam-packed, then you will be bowled over to know that 32(!) presentations and labs filled out the second day. What a line-up!

I started the day in the Grand Ballroom as Lauren Schmidt of landarchBIM talked about… BIM for landscape, obviously.

This was a glorious session. Lauren held nothing back when it came to sass, and she roasted the big software companies for ignoring the perils of landscape professionals who desperately want to utilise BIM processes properly for their work too. Her confidence was matched by the plethora of solutions she provided too. She talked through one bugbear after another that landscape architects come across on a daily basis, and she showcased her workaround for that particular problem. This was such a helpful session and I applaud not only Lauren, but also the RTC Committee for giving this type of presentation a chance to happen.

Our newest Crunch Time interviewee, Rebecca De Cicco would be impressed with this day as it really was the Women in BIM who captivated me the most.

Autodesk’s Elizabeth Grant explained how Autodesk used BIM to retrofit the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel. Quite a tongue twister, but that didn’t phase Elizabeth. The subject matter here was remarkable, and having spoke with delegates afterwards, it was clear as to how helpful the session had been for them.

JLL‘s Kelli Lubeley continued the conversation slightly by looking at Rehab in Revit, looking at renovating using the popular platform. Grant’s case study juxtaposed nicely with Kelli’s multiple examples of best practice and the witnessing the two talks back-to-back put over how BIM really isn’t just for new developments. Far from it.

Credit: RTC
Credit: RTC

The evening’s entertainment was held 45 minutes from the hotel site at Lázár Equestrian Park, and I and the #UKBIMCrew members I sat with did not know what to expect. Think Eurovision campness mixed with Hungary’s Got Talent. More My Little Pony than Black Beauty, the team at the equine centre flaunted their whip techniques and also got the horses to sit like dogs. Well except one stallion who was having none of it.

Random appearances from some oxen right at the end of the demonstration made for laughs, as did the immortal line “Like Michael Jackson, only sideways” when a lady was showcasing her mare’s dressage techniques. The rather bizarre series of events may not have enthralled everyone for the reasons intended, but it was certainly interesting to hear about some Hungary’s war history. You certainly wouldn’t get to experience fun and games like that at any other BIM event.

Let’s just not mention the traditional folk singing and dancing that followed. That was performed by humans and not horses by the way.

Credit: RTC
Credit: RTC

The highlights from Day Three included two male/female duos presiding over delegates. The duo of Margarida Jerónimo Barbosa and Arne Folkestad Bjelland got everyone up to speed with photogrammetry in what was a highly insightful topic. The aftermath boasted the largest number of Q&As I had seen at the conference too. The subject matter was new and exciting to most and the results and advice were exceptional.

Rounding out the day in the Grand Ballroom were committee members Silvia Taurer and Phil Read who presented the Top 10 things that they had learned whilst at the conference. Two words: absolutely hilarious!

RTC drew to a close with a spectacular evening at the Hungarian Railway Museum. A Gala Dinner and Awards Evening was hosted by Autodesk Evangelist, Lynn Allen. Her humour split opinion, yet the inevitable joke about Syria was up my alley.

The food was as exquisite as the steam engines that filled the auditorium everyone was lucky enough to be within. Spirits were high and spirits were flowing as The Cool Miners (lost in translation?) took the stage to perform some classic and modern hits into Halloween night. Guys were enjoying themselves that much, they were chanting “I like to Revit, Revit!” ala this 90s track. Again, another example of how RTC really does push the proverbial boat out.

All-in-all, I feel enriched and revitalised after my trip to RTC Europe 2015. The programme was of a superb standard and the entertainment lived up to expectations and definitely exceeded them at times too. I went into the event not knowing what to completely expect, but after my experience, I can do nothing but recommend you sign up to RTC Europe 2016 in Porto, Portugal next year. The amalgamation of excellent networking opportunities, chances at free Revit certification, top-quality tutelage to be had and the additional bonus of light-hearted entertainment make this an event not to overlooked.

Many, many thanks to the RTC Committee for enlisting BIMcrunch as a Media Partner. Ten years in to your successful endeavours, you certainly did not need a Media Partner but I am very appreciative for the opportunity to come along for what was a wild ride. Here is to future collaborations!

See you all in Porto next year! Cheers!

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