Autodesk Media Summit 2012 – Opening & Keynotes (Part 1)

The Autodesk Media Summit at One Market in San Francisco was a new experience for me. It was, however, an excellent experience. Slick and well-organised, plus I bumped in to a lot of old friends and made plenty of new ones as well. My special thanks to both Angela Simoes (ADSK) and Stacy Doyle (ADSK), who made my first Autodesk media experience an excellent one!

27th March 2012 | Opening Keynote Session & Facecast | Carl Bass & Amar Hanspal

The first up at the AutoCAD lectern was Carl Bass, the well-known President and CEO of Autodesk (Twitter: @carlbass), who quoted various numbers when opening the live Facecast on the Autodesk Facebook page.

Pic.1 – Carl Bass – President & CEO of Autodesk (Twitter: @carlbass) (Photo courtesy of Autodesk)

Autodesk have done well in their last financial year, generating $2.2 billion. The predicted financial growth for that fiscal year was 10% – Autodesk actually grew by 14%.

Bass quoted, “We grew fourteen percent. Business was robust. And business was robust across geographies and industries.”

Bass went on to talk about the way forward with mobility and measurement and how the world of CAD is changing. Using an example of a mechanical part rendered in the cloud, Bass continued to discuss how the cloud is becoming the de facto standard, removing the need for heavy renders and calculations being done on the workstation and the cloud becoming the vehicle for further advancement in design.

2012 is the 30th Autodesk anniversary with 12 million (legal) users of Autodesk software with more volume than the competition combined. A statistic Bass was proud to announce.

Another proud statistic announced was AutoCAD WS. Launched two years ago, it now has 7 million users accessing the product differently on iPad, iPhone, Android and other tablets such as the Kindle Fire. It now has 300,000 files per week being uploaded which equals 30 files every minute! Not bad for two years old!

Bass quoted, “AutoCAD WS launched less than 2 years ago. Now over 7 million users are accessing it. 300,000 files are uploaded to AutoCAD WS a week, that’s 1,800 per hour, 30 files every minute. This is a proof point of people changing the way they work.”

As Bass quite rightly states, people are changing the way they work!

Bass commented that the creative web-based community is growing. Another example of this is the 10 million downloads of Sketchbook, with 150,000 downloads per week. This leads to the topic of using Autodesk software for creativity. Autodesk works closely with, a creative web-based community with over 13 million unique visitors per month, which is a hit rate larger than Pinterest.

Bass continued to talk about Autodesk’s Product Lifecycle Management in the cloud…PLM 360, which has been developed by Autodesk from the ground up. As Bass stated Autodesk is re-defining how work is done utilising cloud technology, moving your work from the desktop/laptop to the cloud….your computing is always where you are, you can log in anytime.

As Bass quite rightly commented, disruptive technology is often dismissed as “toys” and not taken seriously, especially by competitors.

As Bass states, Autodesk aims to be customer-centric with the Autodesk 360 initiative….the customer is at the centre of the circle of the workflow, hence Autodesk 360.

As Bass quoted, “With cloud, the entire computing landscape is being redefined.”

Amar Hanspal, Senior VP, Information Modeling & Platform Products Group (Twitter: @amarhanspal), was up next for the Facecast to announce the Autodesk 2013 product rollout.

Pic.2 – Amar Hanspal – Senior VP, Information Modeling & Platform Products Group (Twitter: @amarhanspal) (Photo courtesy of Autodesk)

First up was the new AutoCAD 2013 splash screen of the new LEED platinum world cup stadium National Stadium Brasilia designed by Castro Mello Architects. Castro Mello are a small to medium sized organisation utilising Autodesk software for one of the most prestigious stadiums in the world.

Hanspal discussed the democratisation of technology, levelling the playing field for smaller customers to do the same as big customers and entrepreneurial customers addressing the world’s problems with Autodesk software, addressing environmental sustainability and safe fabrication.

Hanspal quoted, “We’ve exceeded 60 million users of our software. Autodesk is here to democratize technology. We’re helping the smartest people in the world solve the world’s biggest challenges… Transporting 7 billion people, access to clean water, etc.”

Hanspal went on to comment on the manufacturing vertical, utilising more aesthetics with technology and being able to compete more effectively using Autodesk Media & Entertainment products, showcasing their designs like a movie.

Hanspal quotes, “With our Media & Entertainment products Maya and MotionBuilder, in the 2013 versions we’ve taken technology developed for Avatar, with James Cameron, and made it available to all.”

“Manufacturing has to compete in the web so they need to tell stories and create narratives about their products and they’re learning from the media and entertainment industry.”

Hanspal went on to discuss how the gaming industry is also utilising real-world data such as lifelike, urban landscapes created with real world design data in the AEC and Mechanical verticals.

According to Hanspal, “The two ways to describe our 2013 products are cohesive and cloud-centric.”

Hanspal also commented on the interoperability of products by way of workflow, the Autodesk Suites, allowing workflows between products such as AutoCAD and Inventor. He also discussed how Showcase and Navisworks are allowing users to go further with their designs than ever before.

Examples were the Product Design Suite, allowing products designed in factories to then be taken in to the Factory Design Suite. Also, there is now only one Revit, where the user can switch between disciplines; architectural, structural and MEP. In the Infrastructure Design Suite; Infrastructure Modeller allows for both visualisation and BIM with infrastructure. AutoCAD is in EVERY suite.

The interface consistency continues with the same one-click workflows between products.

Hanspal quotes, “We are here to democratize technology.  The cloud is a platform that allows us to get design and creation technology into the hands of anyone anywhere.”

“The cloud can crunch on the gnarliest design problems our customers send to it.”

According to Hanspal, the cloud is a platform getting design and technology to anyone, anywhere with infinite computing power. Autodesk 360 provides all cloud based services, providing collaboration and sharing.

Hanspal used the three words – Find, Connect, Crunch – to describe Autodesk 360.

On a personal level, all I can say about cloud rendering is WOW! This is an amazing leap forward, providing any subscription user with the ability to move large, processor-heavy renders up to the cloud and free their processors for other tasks.

According to Hanspal, there are 4 million+ cloud based users, with at least 200,000 renders already submitted to the cloud with a 22% monthly growth. Suites subscription customers get cloud services built in with their subscription.

During the Q & A session, Bass commented that making things open and more accessible is more successful, with Autodesk 360 providing a balance between power and simplicity, giving the best, optimised designs.

Most Autodesk 360 services were introduced in the Autodesk Labs and are ALL available on subscription.

Bass stated that Autodesk are not currently charging developers providing apps and services on the Autodesk App Store and that there will always be a tier of free services, providing value add on subscription.

A question was asked about performance issue on rendering in developing countries, say China, for example. Bass and Hanspal replied saying that Autodesk monitoring this to ensure all Autodesk 360 subscribers get a good service.

A final comment from Bass was that there are applications and suites for everyone with a data-centric view of everything so that it is all there. Just like working in a home workshop where you reach for a tool for a specific purpose.

Having seen the products for myself, I have to say that Carl Bass is right. Autodesk are re-imagining and with that the service Autodesk provide with the software is now customer and data-centric.

I will be following up this article with articles on the various 2013 platform and vertical product rollouts from the Autodesk Media Summit 2012.


(All photos and images courtesy of Autodesk)

Posted in AutoCAD, Quick Tips.


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