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Autodesk University 2023: A Glimpse into the future of Design and Manufacturing

Autodesk University 2023 was one of the most important conferences in the construction industry this year.

We were thrilled to exhibit there and connect in-person with the wonderful crowd, alongside Graitec, Applied Software and our partners Howick LTD.

There were several exciting moments throughout the show, but we wanted to focus on the transformative updates shared during the General Session on Day 1. 

AI Takes the Centerstage at AU 2023

The world is zooming by, uncertain and unrelenting. What’s your next move? Are you going to accelerate, or get left behind?

With those challenging questions began the Autodesk University General Session. As the show’s inaugural event, the General Session serves to welcome all participants, inform them about key developments, and sets the tone for the rest of the conference. 

The script began shifting to a more optimistic note. “Not to worry. We’re right there with you, delivering agility and creativity.”

“…Keeping everyone seamlessly connected.” The narrator continued “using AI to enhance how you work”.

It’s arguably been the biggest buzzword of 2023, and it only took 35 seconds for the now ubiquitous term ‘AI’ to get mentioned. The narrator welcomed the Autodesk CEO on stage. “For better or worse, AI has arrived.” said Andrew Anagnost shortly after greeting the packed venue.

Autodesk Focuses on AI and Cloud Technologies

Artificial Intelligence was the central topic of the keynote session. Various Autodesk executives unveiling new tools that will power the company’s multiple solution lines, including those for the AEC industry.

Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost introducing Autodesk AI at Autodesk University Day 1 General Session

New technologies unveiled at AU 2023

Autodesk AI: Autodesk’s overarching AI platform.
Autodesk Flow: Industry Cloud and AI platform for media and entertainment industry professionals.
Autodesk Forma: AI powered tool for early-stage design and planning, for AEC professionals.

Another key theme of the hour-long presentation was Autodesk’s emphasis on shifting to cloud-based solutions, which in turn would be powered by AI technologies.

The shift might come faster than expected, with the recent appointment of Rami Rahim, CEO of Juniper Network to Autodesk’s board of directors.

Juniper Networks is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of IT products, and brands itself as a provider of AI networking solutions.

The Autodesk AI and the Design & Make Platform

Autodesk AI was introduced as the company’s artificial intelligence solution, set to power Autodesk’s software and their industry cloud solutions.

Based on what Andrew Anagnost shared, it was apparent that both the AI and industry cloud platforms would work together synergistically.

The cloud will become the space where entire project life-cycle data is stored, including the data generated by different software tools.

In other words, production will move to the cloud. With this transformational shift, Autodesk’s AI models would be able to connect fragmented processes, help users perform fluid workflows, and connect teams in a new way.

AI for Design and Entertainment Professionals

Diana Callella at Autodesk University General Session

Flow—Autodesk’s Industry Cloud for media and entertainment was introduced next. Autodesk’s Diana Callella described Flow’s ability to connect different production stages and software tools. It would allow users to track data through each phase of the project, and drive AI powered workflows.

AI for AEC: Autodesk Forma

Perhaps saving the best for the last, and what most of the AEC crowd was waiting to hear about: Autodesk’s AI tool for AEC, named Forma.

Forma was introduced as a cloud based tool for early-phase design and conceptualization stages of construction projects.

Autodesk's Amy Bunzell on stage at Autodesk University General Session Day 1

Autodesk’s Amy Bunzell highlighted Forma’s ability to leverage AI for the analysis of project data, and predicting the implications of design decisions.

Forma will be compatible not just with Autodesk’s construction software such as AutoCAD and Revit (woohoo!), but also 3rd party applications and data sources such as Dynamo, for maximum interoperability. More interestingly, it will allow teams to re-use existing data from past projects.

The Role of Data in AI

The final segment of the General Session saw Autodesk’s CTO Arasu highlighting the fundamentally critical role that data plays in driving the success of AI. We were introduced to Autodesk Platform Services, formerly known as Autodesk Forge.

Autodesk's Raji Arasu on stage at AUtodesk University Day 1 Session Day

APS will offer a suite of services and tools allowing users to manage data and integrate AI across Autodesk’s platforms. Developers will have access to APIs to help them integrate 3rd party applications with Autodesk’s AI and create unique cross-platform workflows.

Looking Ahead 

As the session concluded, the message was clear—the world has is changing fast, and as the tools we use evolve, so must our approach to using them. As the global leader in developing construction technologies and software, Autodesk’s word carries weight. The next step in the digital transformation of the AEC industry and indeed the future of work, is AI. What’s your next move? Are you going to accelerate, or get left behind?

 

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