Monday 2 September 2019

Twenty years

In the first week of September in 1999 I took my first job after leaving university to work on software products. These software products were for a company called NBS. We were taking paper based workflows and digitising them.

Twenty years later - I am still very much working on defining the next generation of software products for NBS.

Back in 1999 it was a small research centre (Construction Informatics Research Centre) that was connected to Newcastle University. In September 2002 this research centre moved into the NBS business to become the R+D department.
The old CIRC building on Claremont Road
Of the team that moved down, Andrew B, Emma H, John M, Mark W and myself are all still with NBS. AT NBS, we also still work with Richard Watson and Kay Rogage (Northumbria University) and Steve Lockley (co-founder of BIM Academy) on projects and they are very much part of the North East BIM Community.
The newly formed NBS R+D team
Richard Waterhouse who led the digital developments for NBS back in 1999 and who brought us down in 2002 is now CEO of NBS and my boss. Helen Whitfield was part of the finance team back in 1999 and is now an Exec Director at NBS. It's been fantastic to have some great continuity over the years,

Since 1999 I have worked on pretty much all of the NBS software products - from NBS Specification Manager to NBS Plus to NBS Create to NBS National BIM Library to NBS Chorus. But the first development I worked on was called NBS Office - it never got fully released, but a part of that project was NBS Scheduler which did - and I've dug out some screenshots from an early beta release I worked on the code on.

The branding changed slightly prior to the first release - so these screenshots from the 2000 beta have never been seen before :)
NBS Office - for all of the needs of an architectural office
A new innovative method of browsing specification content from standard drawings

Using new web technologies to offer users drop down suggested values when specifying
As a twenty something starting off as a software developer it was a great time with new technologies coming out each year and the internet really starting to take off. I'd say the first ten years were about changing our information delivery products to be web based, the second ten years have been about integrating work flows and then moving information production products to be web based and collaboration. Let's see what the next twenty years bring.

Some highlights of the twenty years have included:

...and a web cam picture from 1999 of three of the developers who worked on the code
(and had the occassional game of 5aside/ beer/ night out)
The team back in 2004 working on Building, Scheduler and NBS Plus
So - that is 1999-2019 in a blink of an eye. Let's hope there are many more interesting products to work on over the upcoming years!

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