Autodesk is joining the ODA (Open Design Alliance) in an effort to fast track improvements with its IFC support and interoperability for Autodesk AEC products in general. By becoming a member of the ODA, the non-profit technology consortium gains a major industry supporter which will continue its mission to provide access to design file formats across both AEC, MCAD, and other CAD-based industries.
In Autodesk’s Words
Amy Bunszel of Autodesk writes, “This decision demonstrates our commitment to take meaningful steps towards improving our customers’ experience in the AEC space.”
Continuing, “In one of my recent posts responding to some of the constructive criticism we’ve received from our architecture customers, we promised to do a better job of listening to our customers, engage in an open dialogue, and do better where we’ve fallen short. One of the areas highlighted was progress with our products on international data exchange standards, specifically the need to better support IFC, an open file format increasingly used by our AEC customers. With Autodesk’s membership in the ODA, we will accelerate our progress toward supporting this need. Those of you who know the history between Autodesk and the ODA will understand the importance we put on getting this functionality to our customers at an accelerated pace.”
The IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) file format is an open industry standard for the interoperability of data in the AEC industry and has long been supported and championed by nearly every single major AEC industry software provider, along with the buildingSMART organization for international standards in buildings and infrastructure.
Our additional investments in adherence to IFC will address bottlenecks for data exchange between Autodesk and non-Autodesk products.
“ODA’s IFC toolkit provides complete and flexible IFC interoperability for any desktop or web-based application,” writes Bunszel. “The toolkit, along with ODA’s commitment to supporting new IFC standards, means we can readily integrate new versions as they become ratified, ensuring more consistent data flow and a faster, more streamlined experience.”
“ODA welcomes Autodesk as its newest member,” said Neil Peterson, ODA President. “Our tools will allow Autodesk to provide long-term support for IFC, and we look forward to working closely together to ensure the highest standards of quality are maintained.”
“We know our customers use a variety of tools to achieve their goals,” writes Bunszel. “Our additional investments in adherence to IFC will address bottlenecks for data exchange between Autodesk and non-Autodesk products.”
Continuing on, “We are committed to creating an environment where collaboration is efficient and seamless, and, looking ahead, envision a future that frees our customers from exchanging cumbersome files and embraces workflows that transfer just the data needed to achieve the desired outcome. In this future, new forms of collaboration and new ways of creating value are the norm and will extend the value of design data further downstream.”
Bunszel writes that joining the ODA is just one step of many Autodesk is taking to continue fostering an open community and build strong partnerships across the industry. She writes:
“Customers can further this effort by joining the Autodesk product research community, which enables engagement with Autodesk development teams across all products and is open to everyone—whether or not you are an Autodesk customer. We hope you join and participate because your feedback is important to us. More importantly, we’re eager to shape the future of collaboration and interoperability with you.
Architosh Analysis and Commentary
This is a significant announcement for the whole AEC industry. Most importantly, it demonstrates very clearly that Autodesk is serious about addressing the needs of its most vocal customers in architecture who penned an open letter that has drawn dramatic attention to Revit’s ongoing development velocity. In addition, the introduction of the Autodesk product research community as an open channel for not just Autodesk customers but non-customer members of the AEC industry should also be noted.
The Open Design Alliance (ODA) has taken up the responsibility of unifying and strengthening IFC implementations in the AEC industry and this is coming at a time when the whole of AEC is going to start seeing the rapidly increased utilization of new ways of exchanging data via API connections between software solutions. IFC plus APIs are arguably the future of AEC interoperability within an ever-expanding sea of point solutions across both buildings and infrastructure.