Autodesk says it won’t leave 2-D users behind

While Autodesk is pushing “digital prototyping” – an engineering process that uses 3-D modelling and reams of data to visualize and analyze designs without making physical prototypes – the company isn’t abandoning its traditional 2-D computer-aided drafting (CAD) customer base.
The push is evident across product lines, but “there’s still a tremendous amount of 2-D workflow,” said Jim Lynch, Autodesk‘s vice-president of marketing for its architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) division during the company’s worldwide press event.

Digital prototyping manifests itself in AEC products as building information modelling (BIM), which Autodesk defines as the use of co-ordinated, consistent and computable information about a building project. Autodesk is trying to move the construction industry toward BIM, Lynch says, “but we recognize that 2-D processes will be around for many years,” and Autodesk will continue to support 2-D workflow.

“We’ll help (customers) through the transition. We won’t force the transition . . . the last thing you want to do is force your customer to go somewhere when they’re not ready.”

More intelligent building design is critical – the world faces 30 per cent population growth by 2025, and buildings consume 36 per cent of the world’s energy and produce 30 per cent of its greenhouse gases, says Jay Bhatt, vice-president of Autodesk’s AEC division. Half of the buildings Americans will live and work in by 2030 haven’t been built yet. China is building 300 new airports on the scale of Beijing International.

“This is a time of huge change for the building industry,” Patrick MacLeamy, CEO of architecture and engineering firm HOK, said. “The next decade will be a very telling one for the industry.”

Autodesk announced updates to its Revit BIM platform, purchased four years ago, branding discipline-specific products in the Revit and AutoCAD lines. Revit Building has become Revit Architecture 2008; the Revit Systems product has now become Revit Structure, for structural engineering, and Revit MEP for mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering. The AutoCAD portfolio now includes AutoCAD Architecture, Civil 3-D (civil engineering) and MEP products.

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a technology journalist with more than 15 years' experience. He has edited numerous technology publications including Network World Canada, ComputerWorld Canada, Computing Canada and eBusiness Journal. He now runs content development shop Dweeb Media.

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