So here's the second part of the post, the how to. I know most have you have heard of WAN and LAN networks, however, what I'd really like to start talking about is how this works within the framework of a BIM collaboration. For those of you who haven't checked it out, I strongly recommend looking at Riverbed Technologies, who essentially has developed a system of network WAN optimizers that allow for multiple users across multiple networks to access and update a single file minimizing the drag on your local (LAN) machines. Although there is quite a large investment involved in the Riverbed and Steelhead systems it does allow users to collaborate using a single Revit model file across the internet. Also it makes it super convenient to enable its use with mobile devices in the field and encrypts the data to meet pretty tough security protocols.
Another new technology to come to the forefront of late is the BIM server. You can apply to test drive this new plugin here. What's great about this technology is that it allows users to upload and download the latest iterations of BIM files in IFC format from a centralized location. Although this technology is relatively new, it holds the most promise in that it is being developed as a free resource for the industry to plug into and the fact that it has been developed to IFC standards as a baseline makes it a very promising technology.
Image copyright and from www.bimserver.org