What would you pay for information? It isn’t a tangible object, you can’t hold it, sometimes you can’t even use it, but people pay for it all the time. In the gaming community alone in 2011 $3.7 billion was spent on virtual items. Intangible objects which only exist virtually in an artificial environment. How can these items have this kind of value?
Of course information is a very broad term, for example what are your medical records worth? A lifetime of photos? How about that email you sent which gets you out of that prickly situation? In these examples information often has little value at the time it is generated, but it is very easy to see how it quickly appreciates.
In the construction industry virtual modelling tools are filled with elements. What would one of these elements be worth? Lets take a virtual chair and say it takes an hour or so to create, what does that cost? Maybe a little more than $100 dollars, is that its value? What if that chair is supplied by a manufacturer and used in a virtual environment which informs a sales order for furniture, perhaps 100 chairs at $300 each. What has the manufacturer made on the back of that content? What if that chair is then shared or downloaded, perhaps 1000 times, used in say 5000 projects in only a few months. Does this kind of exposure help the manufacturer? Introduce them to new markets? Impact sales? Now what is the value of that content?
Is it that hard to imagine someone paying $10K, or even $50K for a single piece of geometry. What if that geometry represents something worth millions? When people talk about changes in the construction industry there is real opportunity to reflect on what it is we do and how those services give value to clients.