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Next Era BIM from Autodesk

Friday, August 1st, 2014

At AIA, Autodesk’s Phil Bernstein spoke about “Next Era BIM” and how technology is evolving in the building industry. In an example, he said a Chinese developer built a 30-story building in seven days. The same developer wants to build a 202-story building in a week. The delivery implications of this are quite mind-boggling.

“Design became separated from construction in the Renaissance era,” said Bernstein, with Alberti. Now digital technology has drive ideas of construction/architecture with the following concepts:

1)    It took analog and translated it to CAD.

2)    The transition from electronic drawing to digital – making files into models

3)    Context – the advent of the cloud, social networking, design and construction in a systems context.

The evolvement of this went from diagrams to prototypes to integrated simulations. Now we can build new spaces with new types of data, according to Bernstein.

The concept of “archetypal relationships” was touched upon, but I’m not sure what was being referred to here, an Oedipal complex or the relationship between documentation and the way things are connected?

“The way I see it, the computer puts architects back in the driver’s seat, because we can control all that information,” said Frank Gehry.

Anthony Houch of Autodesk introduced Project Skyscraper, a new cloud-based collaboration software for Revit that allows architects, engineers and contractors to collaborate on the Autodesk 360 cloud platform. This allows extended teams to search, view, and provide feedback on project models on any device. The tool is in beta now with full commercial release of the software expected by the end of the year.

In addition Autodesk spotlighted Dynamo at the conference, exploring computational BIM with Dynamo and Revit, as well as generating different design options for varying elements including façade systems.

In discussion about the Case Building, the discussion turned to how architects put data to work. And how do they leverage building data in order to set the bar for future content?  Autodesk’s interest in reality capture continues on, while they work on figuring out how to turn that information into something meaningful for architects as well as the movie industry.

Houch said that Autodesk is “agnostic about how people access information.” This appears to extend to the new way that Autodesk is delivering information to the media as well. One PR person said they don’t send out as many press releases; everything is available on their site and on their blogs, and Autodesk Labs. This presumes that we are all going to go looking for press materials rather than them arriving conveniently in the newsfeed.
Perhaps the “new spaces with new types of data” that Bernstein envisions will be places that we will all readily visit, just as we open our email each morning.


Autodesk’s first quarter results look strong

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Autodesk reported financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 on Thursday, May 15.

From the press release, here are the following primary results:

First Quarter Fiscal 2015
• Total billings increased 10 percent, compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2014.
• Total subscriptions increased by over 89,000, compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014.
• Revenue was $593 million, an increase of 4 percent, compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2014 as
reported, and increased 5 percent on a constant currency basis. Revenue contribution from the recent
acquisition of Delcam was immaterial to first quarter results.
• GAAP operating margin was 7 percent, compared to 14 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.
• Non-GAAP operating margin was 17 percent, compared with 24 percent in the first quarter of fiscal
2014. A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP results is provided in the accompanying tables.
• GAAP diluted earnings per share were $0.12, compared to $0.24 in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.
• Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share were $0.32, compared to $0.42 in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.
• Deferred revenue increased 13 percent to a record $964 million, compared to the first quarter of fiscal
• Cash flow from operating activities was $219 million, compared to $224 million in the first quarter of
fiscal 2014.

The full press release, complete with predictions and webcast presentations can be found here.

Reality capture for building innovation

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Josh Lowe, senior innovation advisor and Mike Whaley, president of TURIS Systems,spoke at Autodesk University during the session entitled, “BuildX: Construction Site of the Future.” Lowe and Whaley talked about the scanning revolution, or “reality capture” as it is now called.  TURIS  develops and implements project-specific Building Innovation Systems that utilize a technology-based modular approach for knowledge management. Laser scanning or reality capture has become more accessible, portable and more applicable.


Autodesk University 2013 Report

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Robots for the future jobsite, flying drones for delivering packages and reality capture were all part of the show at Tuesday morning’s Mainstage presentation at Autodesk University 2013. The event kicked off with a short little skit by Penn & Teller, who will apparently provide an entire show for AU attendees on Thursday.

Iris the robot


Tekla’s BIMsight 1.8 distinguishes itself by allowing users to work remotely

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Mike Gustafson, Product Manager, Tekla answered some questions about Tekla’s BIMsight 1.8 release, a free construction collaboration tool. This new version makes BIM collaboration LIVE and allows you to share models and communicate through the client instantly. The model sharing that was introduced in BIMsight 1.6 is now enhanced by the note sharing capability, thereby eliminating the need to send notes in email.


Autodesk announces “pay-as-you-go” rental plan for software suites

Monday, September 9th, 2013

This morning Autodesk announced a pay-as-you-go model for all the company’s desktop software including the latest Design and Creation Suites, Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya and Autodesk Maya LT. A “hangout” was held this morning on Google this morning where Andrew Anagnost, SVP, Industry Strategy & Marketing for Autodesk and other industry specialists, discussed this new offering.

Businesses are increasingly adopting this type of model for consuming services and products as opposed to owning software. Options generally include renting, sharing or purchasing subscriptions such as this “pay-as-you-go” model. This way designers, engineers and architects no longer will have to be concerned about purchasing the next version of the software. New comers will also be able to get up and running on the software with few up-front costs, and get projects started with this software.

Options include quarterly and monthly or annual rental plans for customers who want to stay current with product updates, use of Autodesk 360 cloud services and support. This is a similar option to what Autodesk Subscription customers already enjoy. The rental plan will be available beginning September 2013 and applies to Autodesk AutoCAD Design Suite, AutoCAD Inventor LT Suite, AutoCAD Revit LT Suite, Building Design Suite, Entertainment Creation Suite, Factory Design Suite, Infrastructure Design Suite, Plant Design Suite, Product Design Suite, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya LT.


Getting off the Cloud

Friday, August 16th, 2013

A recent article in Wired profiled some companies that have decided to move off the cloud and instead move most of their computing to some basic computers they can manage themselves. MemSQL, a Silicon Valley company founded by Eric Frenkiel, did exactly that about two years after it was founded, taking the company assets off the Amazon cloud, and saving money on managing their own computers.

‘I’m not a big believer in the public cloud. It’s just not effective in the long run,” said Frenkiel. While the cloud is great for many tasks, including launching a startup or running a small website, it may not sense for all applications. Zynga’s online gaming empire grew to monumental sizes in 2012, and promptly shifted a large portion of its operation off the Amazon cloud into its own data center.


Bentley Map Mobile debuts for infrastructure professionals

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

The first version of Bentley Map Mobile, a Bentley app that empowers infrastructure professionals to share Bentley Map geospatial information with field technicians via Android-based mobile devices, was released recently.

In a conversation with Richard Zambuni, global marketing director, geospatial and utilities at Bentley Systems, he said that the Bentley Map Mobile project was initiated through an engagement with a telecommunications company who requested they start development work on it. “Although it works with any class of infrastructure that is managed geospatially it was an engagement with telecommunications firm that initiated the project,” said Zambuni. It is “very much a first release, and it will be available in the future on other operating systems. For upcoming releases, we are looking at including redlining, inserting special objects, editing object attributes, to support different workflows.  Bentley is working on closed loop workflows in the cloud for bringing in data. Users can publish spatial data as an i-model and it can be consumed on the Android device. They can use very large datasets and the performance is excellent.”

“A lot of our users will want to support specific workflows with this technology on mobile devices, so we have an SDK to help them develop what they need,” said Zambuni. “This will be able to be tailored to individual organizations. We will provide redlining, and object editing out of the box in future releases, but the more specific forms-based interaction with the data will probably have to be created by the users themselves using consultants. Some will have programming resources in house.”

Spatial information on smart devices is something Bentley has been moving toward for some time as the consumerization of physical formats  has coincided with the ability to view and interact with very large datasets. Plans for further releases on different operating systems are in the works; next on the list is the iOS platform.

Bentley Mobile Map is available publicly but users can only publish to Bentley Map Mobile from Bentley software. There is a free publishing utility to create i-models which works with Bentley Map Enterprise, Bentley Utilities Designer, and Bentley’s communications products, including Bentley Coax, Bentley Copper, Bentley Fiber, and Bentley Inside Plant. These are Bentley’s geospatial products that are application-specific.

“Although you can’t publish from Esri products such as ArcGIS or ArcMap directly,” explains Zambuni. “You can bring in shapefiles to Bentley Map and publish out through Bentley Map to Bentley Map Mobile, but you have to bring the data into a DGN environment to publish out.”

When this technology is deployed , it will mostly be at a departmental level to support departmental workflows, which may require that users develop their own “flavor” of the app on top of the SDK. The SDK enables organizations to make the app as light and simple to use as possible – to be used in the field by many people inside and outside of the organization who are not GIS professionals, such as construction and engineering teams, installation and maintenance teams, and inspectors.

From the press release:

Bentley Map Mobile provides the following functionality:

  • fast access to large geospatial data sets;
  • easy-to-use, standard tablet-based gestures such as pinch to zoom, swipe to drag, point to select features, etc.;
  • simple query mechanism to look up features quickly;
  • GPS integration for fast location in the field;
  • Google Maps integration for directions to located features (with network connection);
  • disconnected, view-only operation for access anywhere, without a network connection;
  • raster and vector display.

The advantages of Bentley Map Mobile include:

  • improving the quality of decisions made by field personnel by providing quick access to accurate, up-to-date asset information;
  • increasing worker safety by having access to current information as well as information on adjacent utilities that might have an impact on the work they are completing;
  • increasing the return on investment in geospatial data by making this valuable data available to an entirely new group of users.

Bentley Map Mobile is available to all Bentley Passport holders at no additional charge and can be accessed at


Developers take note: most iOS apps are free

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

According to a report from Flurry Analytics, 90 percent of all iOS apps available in the App Store are free. Flurry’s data is collected from the 350,000 apps that use its analytics platform. The company states that since 2010, the number of free apps in the App Store has stayed between 80 and 84 percent, but this year the number has gone way up.

Many companies, particularly software companies, have free apps that are lighter ad-supported versions of a paid app or product they sell, with less functionality. Generally companies offering these free apps are hoping that they will entice users to buy the paid version for more advanced functionality.

The report states that “People want free content more than they want to avoid ads or to have the absolute highest quality content possible.”

Some users are concerned that a free ad-supported app may allow access to their data that they don’t want. With a paid app, users have more control and can demand a certain value for their product

Flurry’s report also revealed that many developers who originally sold their app decided to make their app free after doing A/B pricing experiments. In 2010, 65 percent of price-tested apps were free. As of April 2013, that number is up to 80 percent.

For users of both Android and Apple devices, the average price of an app as of April of this year was $0.06 on Android, $0.19 for iPhone apps, and $0.50 for iPad apps.

Autodesk CEO Carl Bass on Autodesk Financials

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

In a webcast this week, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass addressed the company’s financials. “As we near the 2-year anniversary of the launch of our design and creation suites, we couldn’t be more pleased with their progress and growth. Revenue from Suites increased 50% over that 2-year period. Suites now represent 30% of total revenue, up from 23% just 2 years ago. We’re delivering exceptional value to our customers, who get to utilize and experience more of our broad product portfolio. What’s more, we have seen a meaningful increase in our ASPs. It’s a win-win. Growth in our Suites help drive the record revenue results in both our AEC and Manufacturing business segments.”

Bass went on to say that the investments made over the past couple of years in major account direct sales continue to pay off. In the fourth quarter, Autodesk had a record 45 transactions that exceeded $1 million in value. This is up 25% year-on-year. The total value for these large deals increased 36% year-on-year. For FY ’13, large deals increased by 18%.

Autodesk’s AEC business had record quarterly results. Strong growth in AEC Suites to the growing implementation of BIM across all disciplines of the AEC industry, including infrastructure. BIM 360 wins in Q4 were concentrated in construction, reflecting Autodesk’s leadership role in providing cloud and mobile technologies to that industry.


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