Autodesk University kicked off today in Las Vegas, with a media day briefing that spoke frankly about technology disruptions facing their customers. Customers are being pushed to do more with less in an uncertain economy, with a greater focus on sustainability. Even in the face of these challenges, this year’s event has drawn more than 8,000 attendees from more than 80 countries that are taking in 900 classes as well as an online virtual attendance of 30,000 participants.
Autodesk began 30 years ago when computing technology was undergoing a great disruption from mainframes to personal computers. The low cost of computing saw a major increase in number of computing units, a trend that is being repeated today with mobile devices and cloud computing capacity. Cloud and mobile are taking hold, with projections that by 2014 46% of professionals will be “mobile only” according to the 2011 IDC Perspective, related by Steve Blum, senior vice president, worldwide sales and services at Autodesk.
With cloud computing, and with Autodesk’s move to harness this power, customers can conduct what-if designs, changing how we approach manufacturing and construction. The way we communicate with customers using social media also is changing how we do business, with all-new expectations. These trends are being pushed along by massive global urbanization and the demand for all-new infrastructure in emerging countries that look to leapfrog the technology of the developed world.
Autodesk, as a global company, are at play across many disciplines and are increasingly making their products more accessible to more users. Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, Platform Solutions and Emerging Business, spoke to helping get design technology in the hands of everyone to imagine, design and create a better world. With their applications for the iPad, and with their 123D tools aligned to makers, Autodesk is helping to spread these tools more broadly. What started as computer aided drafting, morphed to computer-aided design, is moving to cloud-aided design.
Today, we’re being forced to look at how we conduct our workflows with everyone connected at every time. We can now easily move with our data, models and revisions following from our desktop to mobile at the job site, and there’s also the added benefit of collaboration across disciplines. The cloud aids this connectivity, with portable content, connection to infinite computing to improve performance of compute-intensive analysis, and with seamless tracking of revisions on multiple devices. The cloud also brings information, with connectivity to product catalogs that lets users search against available components, bringing back the idea of a data center with centralized resources.
The infinite computing capacity of the cloud solves the time-wasting issues of rendering, where customers can harness power from the cloud to greatly speed their work, and receive several renderings rather than just one. The simulations also relate to analytical processes where stresses or heat management in manufacturing can be quickly modeled using the cloud, greatly speeding workflow and improving the design.
The mobile platform democratizes these tools by providing an extension to the cloud, with web-centric tools that provide basic 3D design functionality. Autodesk’s embracing these trends, and providing tools to the public, and in doing so is shaping the next generation of professional customers.