Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Autodesk University - Day Two AEC Main Stage

Here we are at Day Two of Autodesk University. This morning's first event for me was the AEC main stage presentation. Jay Baht began the presentation with a discussion of the forces and issues that will drive the creation of the built environment in the coming years: the increase in population movements from rural areas to cities, globalization, regionalization, and scarcity of labor, materials, and energy.

Jay was followed by Phil Bernstein who introduced a team of developers from Autodesk that played the roles of architect, structural engineer, MEP engineer, civil engineer, and so on, to demonstrate the interoperability between Autodesk's various products.

Once again, if you paid close attention, Autodesk dropped several hints about future directions, as well as making several announcements. For example, in addition to prominently showing off recent acquisition Navisworks, Autodesk also announced that it had just acquired Robobat, the structural analysis software developer. I would expect to see Robobat tools eventually find their way into Revit Structure.

The company also announced that hydrology functionality from Hydroflow would soon be available to Civil3D subscription customers.

The team also briefly showed what appears to be a new product called Autodesk Quantity Takeoff. Based on DWF, the program enables estimators to do accurate material takeoffs from Revit BIM models and then apply cost data to develop complete estimates. Autodesk first showed this product two years ago at Autodesk University in Orlando, Florida. At that time, it was just a brief glimpse during the mainstage presentation, and absolutely no mention was made of what the product was. This time around, the product name was clearly visible.

The high point of the morning, however, was a presentation by Bill McDonough, the award winning architect who has been promoting environmentally sensitive design for most of his career. My favorite line from his presentation, "Being less bad is not being good. It's still being bad...just less so."

Now on to a full day of classes. I'm teaching two classes today, one on Autodesk Design Review and one on rendering in AutoCAD, which is actually the first of two parts. I'll teach part two tomorrow morning.

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