Why Develop the Next Generation EI&C Design System?


Why Develop the Next Generation EI&C Design System?

At ABC Data, we believe that a start-up company is a perfect environment for creating something innovative, extraordinary and unprecedented – no legacy impediments. The software and system we have developed is dataTrust™. The aim of dataTrust™ is to change the way engineers and designers think about the engineering, construction, commissioning, and operations processes and deliverables. No longer is the focus on lines, circles, and text on paper but managing project data and its relationships and utilising that data throughout all project phases. Deliverables are reports and drawings from that data.

Personally, I wanted to be part of building the next generation Electrical, Instrumentation & Communications (EI&C) design system, from the ground up, not only from the technology side, but also from the business model side.

Besides the frustration of dealing with the ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions that didn’t live up to the sales pitch, the main reasons for starting on such a challenging journey were these:

  1. The engineering design process has changed – The way engineering design teams work together has changed. Teams used to be in one office and now are split between offices, companies and in some cases globally spread. Teams are now dynamic teams, with engineers / designers being moved onto and out of projects throughout its life. The traditional way of executing projects was never meant to be done in a dispersed way.
  1. Computing technology has changed – We are living and working in a major period of change in the computing platform technology area, from the old world of desktop PCs to the new world of cloud and mobile computing. The ‘internet generation’ or ‘millennials’ have grown up in a post-desktop world and have different computing expectations. They expect their employers to have an updated system of technology. When they are employed, they are not thinking “I wonder what type of computer will be on my desk” as we did, but “how fast is the wi-fi and what is the password”. They adapt to new technology quickly and more effectively than we ever did. They expect computing to be modern and available anywhere, anytime on any of their mobile devices. Cloud and mobile technologies are our exciting new format and will become the norm.
  1. Compete for our engineering in a connected world – It is not an entitlement that engineering for in-country projects will stay in the country of origin. We must compete by increasing our productivity and reducing our costs. If this means sharing it with other offices from different regions, then so-be-it. For the project owners, we must increase the level of confidence to show how we can deliver their project accurately and on-schedule with minimal re-work on-site. One of the ways we can do this is to work methodically with a cloud-based engineering design software using configurable rules. We are not the only ones with the idea to share our design data to multiple offices in different world regions at the same time. Others are now enhancing their file-based systems and replicating on different servers. It is a step in the right direction, but it is not a true cloud solution. You cannot fully take advantage of the latest cloud, web and mobile technologies unless you design your system from the ground up specifically for the cloud, web and mobile. That’s what we are doing here at ABC Data. The cloud is not an afterthought – it’s what we started out to do.
  1. I want to contribute to the Electrical Design Industry – I feel a strong connection to the engineers and designers who have endured the manual transfer of data via multiple spread-sheets, drawing and re-drawing symbols, templates etc. At ABC Data, we truly think we have a solution to help engineers, designers and drafters improve the way we design, construct, commission and operate projects in the EI&C space.

Designers provide the relevant information that managers, engineers, construction and commissioning teams, operators and maintainers use to successfully build and operate facilities.

I’m not a BD person but I love being a designer and I believe that dataTrust™ is the missing piece in the EI&C design process puzzle. One integrated package. For me, there is no greater thrill than seeing others use dataTrust™ and saying “wow, this is what we have been wanting for a long time” and knowing that you had a hand in building it.


The author, Bernie Coughlan can be contacted at bernie.coughlan@abcdata.com.au or through our enquiries page at www.abcdata.com.au .

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