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AU20: Autodesk—announces new AEC Cloud tools for design industry

Autodesk introduces the latest updates and features to its cloud offerings aimed at the design side of the AEC industry, discussed and shown at AU 2020

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Autodesk University (#au2020) kicks off today in earnest with multiple announcements about new acquisitions and new products for the global AECO industry. Architosh has already noted Autodesk’s acquisition of AEC cloud-software company Spacemaker in this report here. The new USD 240 million buy gains Autodesk leading-edge AI-powered, generative design tools accessible from any modern web browser.

Along with Spacemaker, Autodesk today is announcing a new offering associated with its Autodesk Construction Cloud and its BIM 360 offerings for AECO pros. In addition, they are adding cloud-enabled document management to the AEC Collection. Let’s look at the details.

Autodesk Construction Cloud

Built on a unified platform (Forge technologies) and a true common data environment (CDE), Autodesk Construction Cloud consists of a series of products that connect data, workflows, and teams throughout the entire building lifecycle from design through to operations.

Key Takeaways

BIM 360 Design is becoming Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro, while Autodesk BIM Collaborate is a new product for users who do not need authoring tools access (eg: Revit) but do need collaborative functionalities, including clash detection. These types of users will not need an Autodesk subscription license either. 

Early next year, Autodesk Docs will join the AEC Collection. Autodesk Docs is aimed at providing users a single source of truth (SSoT) across the entire project lifecycle. This new change opens up hundreds of thousands of AEC Collection customers to share, manage, and review designs and models in the cloud.

Autodesk introduces Autodesk BIM Collaborate and BIM Collaborate Pro solutions for the design side of the AEC industry. These are cloud-based tools you access through a modern web browser on Windows, Mac, or Linux platforms. (Image: Autodesk. All rights reserved.)

Autodesk is also launching Autodesk BIM Collaborate for the users of the non-authoring app in AEC who include project managers, owners and owner-reps, VDC and construction specialists, estimators, and others. Built on the Autodesk Construction Cloud platform, BIM Collaborate will extend the larger AECOM stakeholders onto a unified cloud-based CDE.

The third piece of news for the design industry is that Autodesk’s growing BIM 360 Design offering is now going to be called Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro. Unlike the new BIM Collaborate offering, Collaborate Pro is for customers who have access to Revit and other authoring applications for model coordination, plus Insights and connections to Autodesk Construction Cloud.

In addition to these changes, available today AutoCAD gains a new Autodesk Docs Extension that will allow CAD drawings to be published as PDFs directly from AutoCAD to Autodesk Docs or BIM 360.

Clarifying These New Items

Autodesk BIM Collaborate is now offered to enable AEC stakeholders and professionals the ability to conduct design reviews, monitor project progress, and even do model coordination with clash detection. It offers a project timeline, change-review insights, and comprehensive issue management to help the whole team play a role in better AEC project outcomes.

Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro launches next year and existing BIM 360 Design (the product evolving into Collaborate Pro) customers will gain coordination and advanced project analytics capabilities, in additional Insights and existent model coordination functionalities. Revit Cloud Worksharing, Design Collaboration, and Collaboration for Civil 3D and Plant 3D are also included.

To learn more visit here.

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

Autodesk announced in its event for the media that they now have over 1 million construction professionals (subscribers) on their platform. The CAD giant is essentially unifying disparate software tools (most from SaaS company acquisitions) into one single platform. This includes Assemble, PlanGrid, BIM 360, and BuildingConnected. As part of the evolution of the design applications among this unified single platform, features of PlanGrid now come over to Autodesk BIM Collaborate, which does not require a user to have an Autodesk subscription or access to Autodesk authoring software tools like Revit. 

We have questions about how existing PlanGrid customers evolve under this new unification and understand that existing customers of the popular SaaS project collaboration tool can remain simply PlanGrid customers. We are looking however to confirm this and specific details about this. 

Autodesk in our view still needs to simply their cloud-based collaboration offerings. They simply have too many overlapping offerings all with different product names. In our next report on AU20, we cover their additional announcements as part of the Autodesk Construction Cloud. 

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