By Nick Harris

Last time I talked about Autodesk University and made some predictions about some of the announcements that are traditionally made there. Again, this year the industry specific technology keynotes were used to launch new or enhanced products. The AEC keynote focused on construction and the changes coming to the BIM360 platform that I mentioned in my previous article. I was less successful with the predictions I made about manufacturing and specifically the Fusion products. However, overall there is some interesting new technology on the way and I will go into more detail about those announcements next time.

New this year was a dedicated conference within a conference specifically for developers and focused on the Forge development platform. Here there were plenty of announcements about some quite significant advancements in the capability of the resources available to developers and integrators.

Here are the main ones:

  • An app type store for BIM 360 where partners can add functionality, integrations and automations.
  • ‘Headless’ versions of Inventor and Revit without user interfaces for batch processing of models using native Revit and Inventor functionality. This is in addition to the already available AutoCAD equivalent. User cases included product configurators and building model data extraction without the need for a full licence of Revit or Inventor.
  • A new rapid visual development interface which is designed to reduce the amount of time writing and testing code. The idea here is that the use of Forge can be extended beyond a development team and into consultants and business analysts.
  • Increased connectivity with other storage systems like Dropbox and OneDrive, removing some of the barriers to using Autodesk cloud services in organisations that view them as competing with the incumbent data management solution. The technology behind some of these integrations is called web hooks.
  • There is a new reality capture service that allow you to automate the process of creating 3D models from drones, laser scans and camera photos.
  • The pricing has been realigned so the developers and integrators only need a $100 annual subscription rather than an approximate $4000 currently.


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