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The Mirage hotel in Las Vegas set the stage for members of the surveying, construction and engineering professions to come together at Trimble Dimensions 2006. With an increase in attendance of 60 percent from last year, more than 2,000 attendees from more than 47 countries gathered from Nov. 6-8, 2006 to participate in a wide range of educational sessions (more than twice as many as last year), an enhanced hands-on partner pavilion and an exhibit hall with 28 vendors.
Integrating the Work ProcessThe theme of the three-day conference, “Building Your Connected Site,” focused on how to integrate new technology and solutions throughout the surveying and construction professions. Since the company’s founding in 1978, Trimble has focused on applying technology solutions to the surveying and construction worksite. Its concept of the connected site, defined as the management of all relative data, explains how integration and intelligent positioning technologies enable professionals to reduce rework, increase productivity, utilize assets more efficiently, accelerate design updates, and improve bidding, planning and billing cycles.
Steve Berglund, president and CEO of Trimble, kicked off the event by leading an inspiring series of keynote speakers who shared their visions for the future of positioning technology. In his opening address, Berglund stressed Trimble’s motive to offer “total solutions from concept to completion. Our intention is to develop the conference to leverage the transformational capabilities which technologies advise.” He added, “We want to build the highest value future for all of us.”
Dava Sobel, former New York Times science reporter and author of three books with significant importance to the world of positioning science and satellite navigation, offered the idea that today’s professionals can still learn from our country’s forefathers and from their pursuit of achievement and success. Daniel Burrus, founder and CEO of his own company, Burrus Research Associates Inc., offered valuable insight into the present and future opportunites made possible by rapid advances in technology. Dr. Jill Tarter, director of the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research, SETI Institute, took an in-depth look at attempts to find inhabited worlds with the help of Trimble GPS equipment to pinpoint antenna locations and provide a reference frame for the Earth’s positioning.
Three core technologies were emphasized at the conference to support Trimble’s concept of the connected site: positioning technology (GPS, optical measurement, 3D scanning), communications technology (wireless communications, Bluetooth, cellular) and data processing technology (total station processing, data set processing). According to Berglund, these technologies have blurred the boundaries between work in the field and the office and have provided users with more flexibility, which in turn, has increased productivity. Trimble’s recent acquisitions of XYZ Solutions (3D software), Meridian Project Systems (project management and lifecycle software) and Quantum (transportation route optimization software) provide even more solutions for users. The conference’s 200 educational sessions covered topics on how surveying and construction professionals can grow with these rapidly evolving solutions.
Advancing through EducationThis year, Trimble doubled the number of educational sessions from last year, continuing to offer attendees many opportunities to obtain Professional Development Hours (PDHs) toward state continuing education requirements. Sessions were categorized into separate tracks for surveying and construction topics. Surveying Track 1 concentrated on the changing survey landscape; Track 2 on expanding infrastructure; Track 3 on 3D laser scanning; and Track 4 on solutions strategies. Construction Track 1 concentrated on data prep specialists; Track 2 on GPS/3D technology managers; Track 3 on machine operation specialists; Track 4 on site positioning specialists; Track 5 on construction executives; and Track 6 on outdoor construction sessions. Additional combination tracks included the Construction Services Track, which focused on managing assets for improved construction operation; and the Connected Site Showcase Track, which emphasized Trimble’s connected site.Trimble included translations to this year’s sessions for Spanish-speaking attendees.
Attendees heard from a range of presenters, including Trimble users and Trimble technical experts. Several sessions also offered hands-on use of Trimble equipment. In one surveying-based seminar, attendees were offered a hands-on demonstration of the Trimble GX 3D Laser Scanner.
Another surveying-based seminar, focusing on tips and tricks for solving GPRS/GSM connection issues, put the spotlight on a particular hot topic for attendees: the proposed difficulty of configuring a cell phone with an RTK system. The presenter of the session, Richard Brush, Trimble technical expert, offered suggestions on which wireless providers and plans have been proven to work best and tricks for speeding up cell phone setup and overcoming troubleshooting connectivity issues. A common thread of attendees in this session was the desire to accomplish more work in less time in order to grow their practices in the mobile world.
Showcasing the Connected SiteThe partner pavilion gave professionals a chance to get hands-on experience with the latest positioning products and solutions, and connect with Trimble executives and industry partners. Highlighted solutions and technologies in the pavilion included GPS, total stations, field and computing data collection, 3D scanning, pre-design construction planning, 3D visualization, wireless communications, data transfer, and field and office software applications.
Attendee feedback revealed that this year’s conference provided an arena for more networking among professionals. One attendee from Frontier Precision Inc. in Minnesota, a distributor of Trimble products, noted that customers and dealers had many opportunities to interact freely throughout the conference. Chip Berniard, Trimble sales representative for the geomatics and engineering division, commented that this year’s conference provided more room for customers to meet face-to-face with Trimble employees and offer their feedback to enhance future Trimble products.
Looking to the FutureThe key message of the conference, to build the connected site with scalable, integrated solutions, reemphasized Trimble’s dedication to users and changing technology. Trimble Dimensions 2006 not only focused on integrating the connected site into the workforce, but it also served as a forum for members of the surveying, construction and engineering professions to discuss where they are going and what is new and changing in the industry.
“We are extremely pleased with the strong interest demonstrated in Trimble Dimensions,” said Byrn Fosburgh, vice president and general manager for Trimble’s engineering and construction business segment. “It is truly a unique conference focused on how advanced technology solutions are transforming the surveying, engineering and construction industries in the way they work.”
Overall, conference attendees were impressed with the amount of networking and interaction that was offered at Trimble Dimensions 2006. This year’s conference acted as a catalyst for building future relationships to extend beyond the floors of the conference.
Trimble users can expect to see more solutions from Trimble and its industry partners as new data and technology continue to emerge. Dates and location for next year’s user conference will be announced soon; check back to POB Online at www.pobonline.com for details.