This is our last report on the 2018 Vectorworks Design Summit, which took place in Phoenix, Arizona back in November.
The Vectorworks Design Summit takes place at a different location every year. Typically these have been urban locations but the event in 2018 chose the desert of Arizona instead. And it was the farthest event towards the west coast as well.
Event Photos with Notes
I heard from Vectorworks staff that almost immediately after the Design Summit in 2017 a team selected a short list of potential locations for the 2018 conference. Narrowing down the list the small team flew out to each location to check out the facilities up close and evaluate the suitability for the conference.
The location for the 2018 Design Summit was breathtaking—the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass. How is that for a name? About 30 minutes from the Phoenix International Airport, Wild Horse Pass is secluded and tucked away into the Sonoran Desert and celebrates the Gila River Indian heritage and culture. The architecture of the hotel represented this with native-inspired forms and materials and beautiful ceiling murals celebrating native history.
While not a masterwork of contemporary architecture reflecting a native past—that kind of work attendees would see at the Antoine Predock design keynote talk—the hotel had a lux southwest feel that quickly shifted attendees minds towards something new in learning about Vectorworks, networking with peers, and taking hands-on training classes.
Taking time off to attend software user conferences isn’t always easy but this particular type of location—and located deeper into the colder late Fall—makes for an ideal short family get-away. I met several attendees who brought their spouse or family along for an extended stay before or after the event. The hotel had fantastic pools, nature walks, horse riding, tennis, and two beautiful resort golf courses with excellent clubhouse lunch fair. Some attendees went architecture touring in nearby downtown Phoenix and to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West school.
This year I was told that the show slightly exceeded its record attendee levels from recent shows, with more than 600 Vectorworks professional and student end-users, consultants and trainers in attendance.
This year I was hoping to see more users from Asia at the event, being that it was a bit closer than an East Coast location. That was not the case, as I only saw a few attendees from Japan. In order to get those Japanese customers to come to the Design Summit, the event may have to be much closer, like Vancouver or Alaska. Why emphasize Japan?
Take a look at the next image. During the keynote Vectorworks CEO, Dr. Biplab Sarkar put up a slide that showed their global markets. Asia has roughly 30% of their global users and most of them are in Japan. However, as learned in a post-keynote interview reported here, major-sized users are also in countries in south-east Asia. Asia has 10 percent more share of users than all of the Americas combined. After the United States, Germany is the next largest country market for Vectorworks users, followed by the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
Third Parties at Design Summit
A typical Design Summit begins one day before the first day with an evening cocktail event for networking and strategizing with colleagues. This networking takes place in the long gallery circulation spaces directly in front of the major presentation halls. During the conference, these spaces are also where a small third-party exhibition space is held. Between major talks, folks can mingle and check out third-party applications, services, and hardware.
In the past, there have been a good dozen third-party companies setting up for the Design Summit, but this year the number was smaller, which was surprising given the attendance numbers at over 600. Canon, Bluebeam, and ALLPLAN, and Transoft’s AutoTURN were all present, with a few others.
Speaking of third-parties, this year’s keynote showed that Vectorworks continues to expand features in their solutions by tapping into third-party connected apps. This was also reiterated on in my interview with the executive team during the event and already reported here. During the technology keynote, Dr. Sarkar noted several key third-party integrations. For Vectorworks 2019, Transoft’s AutoTURN Online was a big one. The solution is a vehicle turning analysis solution that helps architects and planning professionals test parking lots and drives and delivery bays for workable layouts for real vehicle operations. Transoft is actually a major software company working across multiple transportation domains, including commercial aviation.
Deersoft was also mentioned at the Design Summit. The German software company based in Berlin makes a product that is called Braceworks, and a version of that software is a comprehensive “add-on” to Vectorworks Spotlight. It should be noted how important Spotlight is becoming to the Maryland-based subsidiary of the Nemetschek Group. The CAD market for the live events, film and theater industry is reportedly massive. And Vectorworks Spotlight according to ComputerWorks in Germany is the “undisputed standard.” It is the undisputed leader in just Germany? Perhaps. But Germany is the second largest enterprise software market in the world after the United States and it may likely be the second largest in the CAD verticals. Check out the video on Vectorworks Spotlight below (in German).
A few final comments about the 2018 Vectorworks Design Summit. In the image below it is important to point out that the AEC industry is now accounting for just over 50% of all revenues and users for Vectorworks. While initially, the Landmark product was the product that would drive new users, Spotlight has completely overtaken that industry segment. (see image 06).
It should be noted that this year at the conference there were more sessions and users (in attendance) focused on Spotlight than any year in the past, according to sources at the event. Vectorworks Spotlight growth is clearly a strong growth driver and it will continue to make this conference more multi-dimensional over time.
To learn more about the Vectorworks Design Summit you can visit the official website here. Our other recent reports on Vectorworks include this feature interview from the event. (see: Architosh, “Back Stage at the Design Summit—Vectorworks CEO Opens Up,” 4 Jan 2019).