Free Zoom virtual backgrounds

Free Zoom virtual backgrounds

Virtual backgrounds are one of the most popular features to hit the video conferencing world lately.

As the “work anywhere” movement continues, people want the freedom to tune into meetings without having to worry about what’s going on behind them in the video feed. Virtual backgrounds are the solution to this common problem.

Rather than just blurring your surroundings into a grey blob, you can replace your environment with a high-definition office, beach, or summer field. Recently, Microsoft Teams and Zoom have earned plenty of attention for their virtual background feature.

How to setup a virtual background in Zoom

How to setup a virtual background in WebEx

To download: Click on the image, then right-click and use the “Save image” option.

Backdrounds rendered by Autodesk. Check out the AEC Collection. 

Making adjustments: Working from home technology

Making adjustments: Working from home technology

My Home work environment.

Due to current events lots of us are working from home. While this is usually setup automatically for mid/large sized corporations. It might be more of a challenge for smaller companies that lack the necessary IT resources. Bellow you’ll find some general tips that might be helpful to you.

Using Autodesk Software from home

If you use recent Autodesk software you are able to install the product on your home PC and sign-in with your Autodesk account to use your license at home. 
Downloading Autodesk software for home use

If use Network licenses at work. You can borrow a license on your work laptop and bring the laptop home.
How to borrow a network license


Remoting into work

There are lots of tools available for remote access to your office PC. (Always check with your IT before trying these options.)

Simple quick setup options:

Logmein is a paid service that allows users to remote into their PC’s. You can star a free 14 day Trial:

Chrome remote desktop
Chrome remote desktop is a free plugging that allows you to remote into your remote PC via your Google account.

More advanced options:

Microsoft’s Remote Desktop
You can easily setup a firewall rule on your office router to allow Microsoft Remote Desktop access to various PCs. This simple approach allows users to login with their office credentials and use their work PC right from home. There’s nothing to install. We recommend setting up two factor authentication to further secure the connection.
Setup example by Windows Central

VPN solutions
Deploying a VPN is a great solution. Its a secure way to be part of the office network from your home PC.
There are lots of software and services available for VPN. Having a VPN is the most secure option. It also gives you the most flexibility. There are many providers that have options available. Cost varies.


Other convenient things to have at home.

Having a decent webcam makes a great tool. You’ll be able to have video conferences and have a live chats with co-workers. Its a more personal touch than just chatting via messenger.
Webcams have been sold-out since the crisis started. GameStop has some in-stock:
Gamestop Webcams

USB headset
Having a good headset its crucial part of working from home. USB headsets are cheap and they sound great. Look for one that has a nice boom mic.
Sample option #1
Sample option #2

Online chat tools
Having an instant messenger type tool is a must to be able to quickly chat with co-workers. Tools like Google Hangouts offer Video calls, text even desktop sharing free of charge.



If you have any questions about any of these tools. Feel free to send us an email we’ll be happy to help you.





Creating the Conditions for Convergence

Creating the Conditions for Convergence

For years, architects, engineers, and contractors have talked about converging manufacturing and construction processes. AECOM is working to make it happen.


Creating the Conditions for Convergence

While working on a recent client project, AECOM architects and engineers realized that designing a simple staircase required them to make at least 150 distinct decisions. But, once those decisions have been mapped out, many of them can be automated — making the design process more focused and effective, and creating an opportunity to bring manufacturing concepts to bear on construction projects.


Stair detail: a simple staircase can involve hundreds of repetitive design decisions. AECOM is creating staircases as fabrication-ready building components held in a digital library to reduce these decisions to just one.

“That idea tumbled out from a project for a client, but it was more about us thinking about the whole design management process and understanding the sheer volume of decisions that we make on every individual project,” says Dale Sinclair, director of technical practice for AECOM. “We became interested in how we could start to take these different manufactured elements and integrate them together more effectively from a manufacturing perspective.”

A staircase, of course, is a relatively small component of a major construction project, but it illustrates the larger possibilities around converging manufacturing and construction. In addition to saving time and money, Sinclair says, such a convergence would help architects grapple with increasing building complexity – allowing them to focus on innovation and design decisions, rather than the minutia of systems integration.

While the convergence of manufacturing and construction processes has long been a hot topic in the AEC industry, movement has been slow. AECOM design leaders see the following five factors as being crucial to pushing convergence forward:

Factor 1: Early Action

To successfully incorporate manufacturing processes into construction projects, Sinclair says, design teams must begin with a converged approach in mind. That includes designing to a level-of-detail that will allow suppliers and construction teams to begin sourcing manufactured components early on.

“The current level of detail is not typically as high as we would want,” Sinclair says. “One of the challenges for us is really going right down to the last screw of some of the components in a building. Take a door, for example: If a door is fitted into a partition, it has different challenges than if it’s fitted into the floor. So understanding how all of these construction challenges have been dealt with earlier allow us to solve them once, and then be confident that we won’t have to go back and revisit all these objects.”

“I think the key is really trying to give architects the knowledge that they need to try to work with these new manufacturing technologies,” Sinclair adds. “You really need to think about them quite early on, because otherwise you’re hard-baking traditional construction into a building.”

Factor 2: Supply Chain Development

“The challenge for us is that we have the ideas, but we don’t have the manufacturers who can produce our ideas,” Sinclair says. He adds that AECOM is currently working on a major healthcare and research project in London and is planning to work with suppliers to find ways to manufacture elements such as ceilings off-site, rather than erecting them via traditional construction methods. “Really, we’re taking each element of the building and looking at opportunities to increase manufacturing. For some of the projects that we’re designing, no manufacturer exists, so the biggest challenge for us is how to create the supply chain for the products of the future.”

Factor 3: Prototyping

“What we’ve realized is that construction is really a different beast from manufacturing,” says Matthew Scammels, associate director of architecture for AECOM. “We’re doing many projects that have more of a bespoke nature, and it’s much more difficult to apply modular principles to those.”

YMCA Thames Gateway, Romford, Essex. 39 one-bedroom flats, designed to support residents as they move on to independent living. Designed, manufactured and assembled off-site by AECOM and Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners.

One route to solving this is through testing and evolving design through prototyping. This helps AEC firms to learn lessons about what does and doesn’t work, and also means digital libraries of components and elements can be built and determined and linked to specific building product manufacturers. “Having a digital library means we’re not reinventing the wheel every time we do a concept design,” Scammels notes.

Taking learning on this, a prototype for a modular two-bedroom apartment, developed by AECOM and RSHP, was manufactured using Revit sufficiently detailed for use in the fabrication process. “We found that not only did we have a digital library of manufacturing components, but we had pre-defined layouts for the apartments making the design process far more efficient and effective,” Scammels says.

Factor 4: Innovation Through Information

Detailed BIM models, Scammels says, are key to unlocking the innovation necessary to develop new processes. “It’s about being able to create options and variations that allow us to pull in multiple supplier information or approaches, and still give us choice,” he says. “There’s a lot more onus on managing a digital library.”

Rather than commoditizing architectural design, Sinclair expects the convergence of manufacturing and construction to make architects more efficient and effective. “Commercial clients want buildings that are different and distinct,” he says. “For us it’s not about commoditization of design. It’s about, how do we design more effectively using digital libraries. It’s about using those libraries to create unique architecture.”

Sinclair also stresses the importance of adopting software tools that are capable of bringing together manufacturing and traditional building design processes. “In order to embrace this new way of working, where we’re adopting more manufacturing processes in design, we need access to tools like Revit and Inventor that support interoperable workflows,” he says.

Factor 5: A New Mindset

“People have been constructing buildings for thousands of years, and I think the process of doing that is hardwired into most people,” Sinclair says. “Trying to get them to change is quite difficult.”

AECOM, with 90,000 employees in more than 150 countries, is using its influence as the world’s largest AEC firm to try to get clients to see the benefits of change. For instance, the company worked with a client whose design called for equipment that is manufactured as a kit of millions of small parts, but the client still planned to have those systems constructed on-site. AECOM intervened, explaining how much time could be saved by first manufacturing larger components and then installing them at the project site.

“We’re realizing now that it’s really about the client’s awareness and their uptake of these ideas,” says Scammels. “As much as we can try to be clever, if the client doesn’t understand what we’re trying to do, we’re going to go nowhere.”

“To cross this chasm with clients, you need case studies. Right now, I’m quite happy to work with different clients in different sectors if it can even just move forward one piece of the process,” says Sinclair. “I suppose what we’re trying to do with some clients is to just demonstrate the art of the possible in terms of manufacturing,” Sinclair says.

Ted Talk for CRE and FM: How We Can Find Ourselves in Data

Ted Talk for CRE and FM: How We Can Find Ourselves in Data

Corporate Real Estate and Facility Managers are often looking for ways to use data for making decision on real estate, processes automation and making changes that affect employee experience in their workspace.

In this Ted Talk, Giorgia Lupi uses data to tell human stories, adding nuance to numbers. In this charming talk, she shares how we can bring personality to data, visualizing even the mundane details of our daily lives and transforming the abstract and uncountable into something that can be seen, felt and directly reconnected to our lives.

Managers will benefit from understanding the connection between data and human behavior and the ways it affects employees in their workplace.

Windows 7 support ended on January 14, 2020

Windows 7 support ended on January 14, 2020

Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on October 22, 2009. This 10-year period has now ended, and Microsoft has discontinued Windows 7 support. The specific end of support day for Windows 7 was January 14, 2020. Technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your PC are no longer available for the product. Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.

What does end of support mean for me?

After January 14, 2020, PCs running Windows 7 no longer receive security updates. Therefore, it’s important that you upgrade to a modern operating system such as Windows 10, which can provide the latest security updates to help keep you and your data safer. In addition, Microsoft customer service is no longer available to provide Windows 7 technical support. Related services for Windows 7 are also also being discontinued over time. For example, certain games such as Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkers as well as Electronic Program Guide for Windows Media Center are scheduled to be discontinued in January 2020.

Click to learn more on Microsoft’s Support page