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Autodesk says new cloud-based AEC tool Forma coming in May

Autodesk Forma is on its way, says the US CAD giant. Spacemaker-based Forma industry cloud for AEC marks an inflection point for the company.


Autodesk’s Industry Cloud solution, Autodesk Forma, will be unveiled and released on 8 May 2023. The new cloud was one of three “industry clouds” much heralded at Autodesk University last fall.

Autodesk Forma is, fundamentally at least, partially based on Spacemaker, a cloud-native early-phase design and development tool used by architects and developers that was acquired by Autodesk a couple of years ago.

Autodesk Forma

Autodesk seeks to reimagine BIM via Autodesk Forma and simultaneously make it the industry cloud for AEC. As everybody learned from the global pandemic, connection to people and data and workflows from anywhere is vitally important in a global society. Finding concurrent ways of working with colleagues no matter where they are is at the center of cloud computing.

MORE: AU22: Autodesk Directs Development Toward Industry Clouds

Autodesk says that Forma will “reimagine BIM by leveraging next-generation technology to connect data, teams, and workflows…”

Autodesk Forma screenshot in action. showing a project by the architecture firm Arco.

Leveraging Spacemaker’s powerful AI engine, Forma will help architects with data-laden conceptual design capacities, predictive analytics, and automation and fundamentally deliver an outcome-based design workflow.

MORE: Autodesk Begins New Era for Future of Architecture

Forma and Revit will have bi-directional data exchange, so architects can fluidly move between the world of Forma in the cloud and Revit on the desktop. Just because Autodesk is moving all its solutions and customer workflows to the cloud, investment in Autodesk Revit remains a priority.

Autodesk Forma will be officially unveiled in its first release on 8 May.

To learn more, read the blog post here.

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

To be clear, Forma will focus on planning and early-phase design workflows, while the detailed design will remain on the desktop on Revit. As a cloud-based tool, Autodesk Forma will run across platforms and even devices. This is a critical aspect of Forma, and Autodesk is working hard to modernize code bases for apps so that they either run natively on Apple’s Mac computers or run in the cloud. Revit is, for better or for worse, hinged to Microsoft Windows and the x86 Intel architecture. There is nothing wrong with the performance and advancements of the former, but Intel has struggled extensively over the past five or so years, and the emphasis on mobility in computing has given the ARM-architecture chips in the world heightened new importance, particularly since they have essentially caught up to x86 chips in general performance and at vastly lower wattages. (see: Architosh, “Chip Technology, Geopolitics, and the CAD Industry,” 21 Jan 2022). 

To emphasize this point, Apple’s upcoming A17 Bionic chip for the next iPhone is reported to possess Geekbench 6 benchmarks higher than 3,000 in single-threaded (ST) performance, nearly matching Intel’s recently released and fastest 13th-generation Intel Core processor. Apple is hardly the only chip designer making waves with ARM architecture. At the data center level, we can also note NVIDIA and its Grace CPU. In short, Autodesk is smart to move its solutions to the cloud to democratize them across emerging semiconductor disruption, the levels of which remain unclear. 


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