IDEA from 4M Solutions is a BIM application for architectural design built on top of IntelliCAD®, which is best known as the low-cost alternative to Autodesk® AutoCAD®. The development of IntelliCAD is regulated by the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC), which does not market or sell IntelliCAD itself but, instead, grants access to the source code of IntelliCAD to commercial and non-commercial members. The commercial members pay a fee to join the ITC and can develop and sell commercial versions of IntelliCAD, while non-commercial members can freely use the IntelliCAD source code for internal or academic use. All members are required to submit the fixes and improvements that they make to the product back to the consortium. Thus the development of IntelliCAD is distributed across developers from different organizations, making this joint effort truly unique in contrast to other strictly proprietary CAD software products developed by individual vendors. IntelliCAD is currently in version 6.6, with a beta of version 7.0 currently being tested by ITC members.There are a large number of commercial companies world-wide who are members of the ITC and supply and support retail versions of IntelliCAD. One of the leading ITC members is 4M Solutions, based in Greece; others include BRICSNET, Autodsys, Inc., CADian, ZwCAD, and many more. The complete list can be seen at: https://members.intellicad.org/members/index.php.
4M was established in 1986 with the objective of providing the engineering community with advanced CAD verticals. It now has a wide range of solutions for all the building design disciplines including architecture, structure, and building services (HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing, referred to as MEP in the US). All of these are built on top of IntelliCAD and include 4M FINE for building services, IDEA for architectural design including model creation, rendering, and virtual walkthrough, STRAD for structural analysis and design of 3D concrete frames, STEEL for analysis and design of steel structures, and some additional specialized applications. In addition, 4M also sells its own version of IntelliCAD and an IntelliCAD Viewer application. Its applications, all of which are affordably priced compared to other building design applications, are sold in over 25 countries around the world, including many in Europe as well as countries like Brazil and India, where cost is a key criterion. 4M doesn’t have much of a US presence yet, but with the recent releases of its building applications incorporating more BIM capabilities, the company feels that the time is right to break into the US market.
To read the full article, see http://www.aecbytes.com/review/2010/IDEA.html.