Design software giant, Autodesk Inc, has made a strategic investment in iOFFICE + SpaceIQ, a leader in the digital transformation of places of work and organizational asset management. This latest announcement helps close a critical loop in the AEC industry (see Analysis section below) and furthers Autodesk’s investments into the “digital twin” market. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
iOFFICE + SpaceIQ
This investment follows both companies’ recent combinatory mergers. As a single market entity iOFFICE + SpaceIQ deliver unequaled solutions for organizations to analyze and optimize all aspects of their real estate assets including mission-critical physical and digital infrastructure.
The global pandemic has changed the workplace environment in both negative and positive ways, but high-performing organizations have gained deeper understandings and formed strategic plans to capitalize on pandemic-driven change. Increasing facility efficiencies, reducing core costs, and keeping employees happy with their changing work environments are top of mind according to industry surveys from analysts like Verdantix.
The current and pre-pandemic context is one of the fragmented operations and occupancy data making it difficult to capture and analyze data to improve the situation for asset owners. Autodesk hopes to leverage its BIM leadership to address these challenges.
“Combining design, operational, and performance data and workflows in a single platform to improve the comfort, safety, and efficiency of building assets has never been more important,” says Nick Stefanidakis, General Manager, Archibus, an iOFFICE + SpaceIQ product. “This strategic investment from Autodesk allows us to deliver the solutions organizations need to meet this demand.”
Archibus Key Application
At the center of this investment is Archibus, one of Autodesk’s first development partners. More than 10,000 global customers leverage this application to manage more than 2 billion square feet valued at more than 64 billion USD.
Archibus is a global leader in integrated workplace management system (IWMS) software, helping over 170 thousand technicians manage facilities and respond to over 1.3 million work orders per month.
“Users of both Archibus and Autodesk products will see value in a tighter integration of BIM-based design and construction data with operations insights and workflows to optimize facility performance, comfort, and sustainability,” says Stefanidakis. “Owners and occupiers can leverage these operational data to make better, more informed, design and construction choices.”
Autodesk has recently launched Autodesk Tandem™—a “digital twin” application that aims to be a centralized hub for building information and operations data. Along with Innovyze®—another asset management application that fits under the “digital twin” umbrella—Autodesk views this strategic investment as another key step in the company’s efforts to bring BIM and digital twin technologies to the full project lifecycle, from design through operations and maintenance.
“BIM is at the core of Autodesk’s AEC business and serves as the foundation of the digital transformation now underway in the building industry from design through operations,” says Nicolas Mangon, Vice President, Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry Strategy at Autodesk. “Owners and operators play an increasingly significant role in combatting climate change through improved building efficiency and creating flexible and resilient workplaces when working conditions suddenly change. Our investment in iOFFICE + SpaceIQ recognizes the importance of giving them the tools they need to meet these challenges.”
Architosh Analysis and Commentary
In discussion with Autodesk’s Nicolas Mangon, he noted that 80 percent of the cost of facilities to an owner/operator is in the post-construction phase over a 20-year cycle. “A lot of value can be created in the post-construction phase over such a cycle,” he noted, saying that Autodesk sees significant value in understanding how things are actually performing in a building. “Do things really perform as they were intended and designed?” he expressed.
The digital twin industry has multiple ROI arguments. One such argument is that there is significant value in constant uptime and the ability to predict when some system will fail is huge. Downtime on systems can be punishing financially to innumerable businesses and their facilities, including infrastructure facilities.
One area where Autodesk will seek to benefit from this investment is bringing operations data from iOFFICE + SpaceIQ to the front-end (design phase) of a building’s lifecycle. This investment, like the Innovyze acquisition, both leverages and adds value to Autodesk’s design applications and investments in pre-design and early-stage apps like its SpacemakerAI acquisition. Tools like SpacemakerAI today can perform remarkable generative analysis on the data that is inputted by the architect or urban designer or development team, but such tools are not connected to the type of performance data now being generated by IoT sensors connected to building systems like MEP, fire and life-safety, AV, voice and IT, facility security systems, and other types of occupancy data. That’s what lies ahead for Autodesk as it continues to close the loop on design, construction, and operations in AEC, as it builds out and acquires additional companies and applications.