Will Lumion Make My Job Irrelevant?
A few days ago I received an email in my inbox promoting a product that I actually was excited about. Crazy, I know!
It was the announcement that Lumion 5 will soon be released, an upgrade to the version 4.5 that I have been using heavily as of late. Several new features were announced including better textures, lighting and new character models. One feature that particularly caught my eye as I spend considerable time on transportation projects was mass placement and movement which will allow massive amounts of objects (read: vehicles) to be placed or moved with just a few clicks.
The best part of my job just got easier.
Which is a intro into a larger discussion: will the tools get so good that I will someday be irrelevant? Will Lumion become so good and so easy that anyone willing to make the initial investment be able to quickly visualize their project?
I would imagine that you have feelings one way or another on the subject. Either way, this is something I have heard several times over the next year or two. It usually comes in the form of “Don’t let anyone know about Lumion because we will lose our advantage” or “How can you get into 3D visualization when everyone will be able to do it in a few years?” I’ve heard similar phrases in regards to the speed of modeling offered in InfraWorks.
This is a valid concern. Technology evolution has been the cause of many (many) jobs and careers to be completely irrelevant. To stick our heads in the sand and say “no, I’m okay” is just plain dangerous.
Let’s take a typewriter repairman for example. Fifty or so years ago this job was highly in demand with no end of demand in sight. Everyone was using these modern appliances to do everything from produce technical documents to write letters to granny. Then along came the personal computer and suddenly an entire workforce had to rethink their career path.
There are countless other examples including the developer who made an amazing task manager app for iPhone only to have Apple release their own (free) version that was even better as part of the next software update and Blockbuster who took the blunt of market change when Netflix and Redbox completely rethought the delivery of movies.
But to bemoan the tragedies left in the wake of technological innovation is short sighted. For every blockbuster and typewriter repairman is a Google who continued to innovate, even in the face of change. What if Google had simply been comfortable staying as a search engine? How relevant would they be today? Instead, the company continues to reinvent itself and take risks in new markets.
I’m not scared of Lumion, InfraWorks or any other software program getting too good. In fact, I highly encourage it and refuse to hide these advances. They will make my job easier and my clients happier.
Will the entire 3D visualization continue to evolve and the quality expectations continue to rise? Absolutely! If I am satisfied with my current product will I quickly become irrelevant?
I’m not scared of advances in technology. I’m scared of settling. I’m afraid of the moment I finish a project and say to myself “That couldn’t have been any better!”
It can always be better and instead of focusing on where my competition is right now I will instead focus on where the industry is going in the next 5-10 years and make sure I get there faster than anyone else. If Lumion, InfraWorks or even Civil FX moves the industry closer to that point faster than it would have otherwise then… great! That means I will have tools that much better to take 3D visualization in civil engineering to the next level.