With restructuring at Autodesk due to the downturn largely behind them, yesterday’s AEC Technology Day provided some insight into the morphing of geospatial under the infrastructure label, and a clearer picture of the company’s overall strategy. While the messaging from the company has dropped the term geospatial, there is still a rich toolset and a geospatial underpinning to all of the company’s foundational products.
The extension of the concept of BIM toward informing the entire digital representation process is at the core of all AEC products, according to Jay Bhatt, senior vice president of the AEC group. With an intelligent model, users are analyzing performance, increasing collaboration, providing detailed documentation, and improving the efficiency of the building process. The tools and approach for model-based design has now extended beyond building design into road and highway design and the plant world.
Concurrent with the uptake of BIM is the increased interest in sustainable design that seeks to reduce the impacts of buildings and infrastructure on the environment. The need to better manage storm and sanitary water conditions is one key target with a need for better storm management. There’s also a need to retrofit and redesign existing buildings for greater efficiency, with an estimated 30% efficiency gain across old building stock that would drive down energy needs and emissions. The drive for continued urbanization plays neatly into the core competency of both users and products.
The company looks at global stimulus spending as a key driver for both customer success and more innovative processes. It’s estimated that less than 10% of the dollars have been spent on infrastructure to date, so there’s a good deal still to be gained from current commitments across the globe. The company also has its eye on the $500 Billion federal highway stimulus bill that is making its way through Congress.
Globalized work teams has been another growing trend that hasn’t been impacted much by the recession. The ability to work across the globe with teams in different countries is made possible by a model-based approach, and continuing enhancements of collaborative processes will only strengthen the benefits of global work teams.
Paul McRoberts, the senior director of the infrastructure modeling product line, is responsible for the full geospatial product line: Map 3D, Civil 3D, LandXplorer and Topobase. The markets that Autodesk has identified as key for their geospatial offerings are transportation, land development, water/waste water, and power/energy. In all these markets there’s a push toward more holistic approaches to address challenges and technology advancements such as machine control and laser scanning that greatly speed and improve work quality.
Autodesk has been hard at work on a storm and sanitary analysis extension to both Map 3D and Civil 3D that applies BIM approaches to automate the analysis workflow. This new extension is planned for release to all users on subscription in the near future.
On the larger visualization scale, there was an emphasis on enhancements that incorporate Navisworks with a more direct connection to Primavera scheduling for 4D construction workflows. I heard from one Autodesk insider that the Digital Cities campaign has now morphed into the concept of Sustainable Cities. This new message is a more practical approach given the current pressures on municipalities. The concept and message appears to still be coming together as there wasn’t mention, and when quizzed about the concept, no detail was provided.