The CDE platform is a digital tool for managing information in BIM methodology. It is a hub for sharing data in tools and documents created in BIM. CDE stands for Common Data Environment. One of the available and popular CDE environments is the Autodesk BIM 360. At HydroBIM, we use the Autodesk software suite, so we have a lot of experience with configuring a CDE platfrom created on BIM 360.
What is a CDE platform?
As BIM standards are defined and described in the ISO 19650 series of documents, we will therefore stick to the definition provided there*. An explanation of what a CDE is can be found in the third section, where all the terms and definitions used in the standard are included.
Common Data Environment
An agreed source of information for any project or resource, to collect, manage and share different containers of data and information, through a manageable process.
The CDE platform describes the processes and the IT solution used to support these processes.
In other words: the CDE platform is the process by which we define the rules for information management. The CDE in a BIM project is the ‘single source of truth’ . This means that the complete project information – for example models, estimates, plans, schedules, tasks, notes, etc. – is gathered in one place and made available from one place.
It is worth emphasizing that the CDE platform is not strictly a software solution, but a process, and the software used only supports this process. The point is, that it is not enough to buy software from Autodesk, Bentley or any other supplier to have a CDE platform. Software only supports the CDE on the technical side.
If a common data exchange environment is to work, it needs to:
- clearly specify the functions of the Platform in relation to the information requirements of the Investor, as defined in the EIR document
- be configured – giving access, permissions, ensuring IT security
- manage documentation at four levels:
- working files
- shared documents
- published documents
BIM 360 as an example of CDE in the Digital Twin
At HydroBIM, we work using software from the Autodesk family. One of the solutions we propose is to design and implement a CDE platform using the BIM 360 package.
This is a suite of software for integrating multiple data sources and for managing the flow of information. The natural environment for BIM 360 is the Autodesk software family, such as Revit or Civil 3D. Importantly, and perhaps even more importantly, the system allows integration with external data sources. BIM 360 also has an Android and iOS interface, which also allows mobile devices to be used in a common environment.
One of the most important advantages of BIM 360 is its ability to work in the cloud. This gives virtually unlimited access to the CDE platform from any location and almost any device. All that is required is a stable internet connection, and this is not difficult in the era of 5G solutions. On the other hand, easy accessibility creates the need to ensure the highest standards of cyber security. In this area, BIM 360 can serve as a model for other solutions.
Security of information exchange on the CDE platform
The issue of information exchange security in cloud applications is crucial. All BIM 360 applications are security certified to ISO 27001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018 and SSAE-16 AT 101 SOC 2. What does this mean in practice?
- the highest security standards of the Amazon Web Services cloud
- user authentication system
- two-step access control
- 24/7 data protection and disaster recovery
- Systematic audit and vulnerability scanning
All of the above IT security systems are included in the Digital Twin we have developed. To access the information available on the CDE platform, each user must have an account on the platform. The administrator assigns each user individually access and editing rights to specific directories and data folders.
Moreover, if we integrate sensitive data into the system, i.e. data to which access requires separate authentication, our system fully respects these access rights and nothing needs to be changed here.
Therefore, we can state with full responsibility that the CDE platform used in the Digital Twin by HydroBIM meets the highest IT security standards.
If you wish to find out, how you can better manage information in the design, implementation and operation of an infrastructure project
- Here you will find exceptions from the information section of ISO 19560-1:2018 (en)