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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

From the Exhibit Floor: Autodesk University 2015

December 18th, 2015 by Susan Smith

“If we are to bring the broad masses of the people in every land to the table of abundance, it can only be by the tireless improvement of all our means of technical production.” – Winston Churchill, MIT, 1949.

Little could Churchill predict how timeless his comment was, or perhaps he could. He probably would be amazed at how that insightful comment would show up in the technological creations of today.


The Exhibit Hall at Autodesk University is really a microcosm of technology for the industry, with amazing products and services that have been developed over the past year or years to address the ever-increasing need for collaboration tools, workflow enhancements, file and lifecycle management and training.

Practical Application of Technology

Joe Hedrick, infrastructure solutions team manager, of IMAGINiT, said that in terms of data management, firms are trying to collaborate internally or with sub contractors, mostly using Autodesk Vault, what he calls “the most complete end-to-end solution.”

Issues encountered along these lines includes, visibility, process issues, such as if a company wants to integrate into something database driven, they may have used Vault and Deltek Vision. It may have automatically been created in Vault. The military requires integration, he said.

IMAGINiT has developed utilities for Vault and have a tool to create PDFs and email them to others. On the server side, they can automate backups.

All integrations are custom, said Hedrick. Military integrations are custom, and the user interface doesn’t look at all like Vault.

In the future, Hedrick said the whole idea of collaboration will continue. Civil 3D is the longest running product they have had. “There is still a huge explosion of people moving to Civil 3D,” said Hedrick. “Civil is still about five years behind architectural.”

In the owner/operator space, the military are owner operators. Their solution is not work-in-progress because it is outsourced. Vault is a facilities management and project management tool combined.

Carl Storms, senior applications expert, Building Solutions Services Division based in the Calgary office of IMAGINiT, said they are still ‘bringing people from 2D to 3D kicking and screaming.”

They are working with the Revit to BIM lifecycle with bigger players such as the government.

“We deal with Revit and Revit LT,” said Storms. “Revit LT is good for individual firms. It is cloud based like Revit cloud-based, the A360 platform, and FormIT 360 and can work on the web interface using the RVT file format.”

Scan-to-BIM is an IMAGINiT product that is used mostly from the contractor’s side after something is built.

Storms says there is less animosity today between designers and contractors. It used to be they did not want to share intellectual property but today there is less concern. “The big change leading to that is getting together at the execution stage. The bigger companies tend to drive it, but smaller companies are doing it to distinguish themselves from others,” he said.

The BIM workflow allows you to do more with less people.

Software like IMAGINiT Clarity 2016.1 and Clarity ODP can access data in BIM and pull out data so that owner operators and facility managers can understand it.

A new version of Scan-to-BIM, 2016.1, was released during the conference. It sports two new features: Autofind Walls to turn into Revit Walls, and CreateMesh, where you can now take objects in Revit that are already shaped and can create a mesh of the shape.

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard


Matt Davis at Dell said they use AMD FirePro in their Dell products. Dell provides machines for engineering, file management manufacturing and GIS.

What they were showing at the conference were two main things: Autodesk Workflows – CAD, visualization new products, and virtualization.

Dell has a rack workstation which can be used in data centers, is mountable and can connect to them remotely. You can virtualize the machine so it looks and acts like multiple machines. You can work on the desktop via Ethernet. For huge datasets, all data stays on one machine.

Davis said, “there is much better security when you’re not moving data, and no client at the desktop. There are more capabilities, and management can spin up more machines.”

The advantages are: mobility, manageability and security.

For visualization, VRed re-renders in matter of seconds, with no experts needed.

Dell’s mobile workstation is under 4 pounds in weight. They also have larger precision mobile workstations.

HP demonstrated their five new HP DesignJet technical printers, including the flagship HP DesignJet T830 Multifunction Printer (MFP) and the HP DesignJet T730 Printer,designed for AEC professionals to print, scan and copy. These new models are designed to be used in tough job site environments and facilitate the large-format-printing from the office to construction sites. Great abilities for mobile printing capabilities and collaboration are part of the package, to keep up with the needs of increasing workplace mobility.

Bridging the gap between the architectural drawings of the office and the contractor in the field, the HP DesignJet T830 MFP can affordably produce high-quality, large-format prints in-house, while HP mobile printing allows you to print, edit and pick out files from any where.

From company materials: “Recommended for tough environments where the MFP must endure dust, frequent transportation or potential hits, such as in mobile offices at construction sites, an optional HP DesignJet Rugged Case offers enhanced damage and dust protection. In addition, reinforced wheels and feet on the device’s stand make printing at job sites more convenient.

A 36-inch wide, integrated scanner enables users to modify, scan and share plans in the office or on construction sites from a mobile device,(4) and its intuitive touchscreen offers realistic print preview and document cropping.

Sharing many of the same features of the HP DesignJet T830 MFP, the HP DesignJet T730 Printer provides:

  • Increased ease-of-use and competitive speeds, delivering high-quality A1/D-size prints in as few as 25 seconds.
  • An automatic sheet feeder, enabling easy printing of half-size drawings up to 13 inches wide, avoiding paper waste and extra labor for cutting the roll output.(5)
  • Off-axis ink delivery, allowing flexible ink cartridge sizes from 40 – 300 ml that adjust to the actual usage profile of each customer, avoiding big expenses and expiration issues in low-usage environments.
  • An Econofast print mode, saving ink and time spent printing working documents and drafts.
  • A detachable stand, making moving the printer from office to office easier.
  • Wi-Fi Direct, a built-in Wi-Fi network for easy connectivity,(6) allowing the device to create its own Wi-Fi network for direct mobile printing without other infrastructure.
  • An intuitive front panel with a touchscreen, which works like a smartphone.

The HP DesignJet T730 Printer and T830 MFP help eliminate traditional printing pain points, enabling users to economically deliver prints for meetings, mark up real-time changes, and easily share documents with key stakeholders to streamline workflow.

HP DesignJet technical portfolio boosts productivity and enterprise security
Also advancing HP’s large-format technical portfolio, three other new HP DesignJet printers help AEC professionals reach new levels of quality, ease of use, mobility and collaboration:

  • The HP DesignJet T930 Printer, designed for small- and medium-sized AEC teams. The device boosts team productivity and offers enhanced security protocols to help safeguard information, while providing superior print quality with six HP Original inks, including gray and photo black inks.
  • The HP DesignJet T1530 Printer, a dual-roll 36-inch printer featuring six HP Original inks, an integrated 50-page output stacking tray and advanced security protocols, maximizing workgroup productivity and enterprise security in high-volume environments.
  • The HP DesignJet T2530 MFP, an easy-to-operate MFP featuring one intuitive control panel for print, scan and copy functions and two rolls. It provides advanced design and engineering workgroups A1/D-size prints in as few as 21 seconds and 2.5 inch-per-second color scanning capabilities to maximize productivity. The device also offers secure printing and is easy to manage from upgrades to network integration.(7)

New mobile printing capabilities enhance collaboration
The new HP All-in-One (AiO) Printer Remote is a free mobile application that enables easy, convenient printing and scanning to HP web-enabled printers and MFPs whenever or wherever(8) from both Apple® and Android™ devices.(9) Built-in mobile printing features, including printer discovery through wireless Internet, Wi-Fi Direct and NFC as well as e-mail printing to HP ePrint-enabled printers,(8) make printing in the field as easy as printing in the office. The HP AiO Printer Remote application makes mobile sharing and scanning easier, offering a direct connection to online repositories, such as Dropbox, Box and Google Drive.”

AECCafe Voice has covered the Epson next-gen family of large format printers in a past blog and it was great to get a chance to see the real deal at AU.



In a meeting with Pluralsight’s Andy Rahden, VP of Design and Engineering, we discussed the company’s genesis as a training company, offering training for Autodesk products. Rahden worked at Autodesk and felt there needed to be an easy way to provide training making use of the cloud. In 2004, he and two founders began looking at Digital Tutors, and a year and a half ago, Pluralsight bought that company. Digital Tutors develop IT to sell into the game and film industry.

Pluralsight now creates online for Navisworks, Revit and teaching an approach to design in the U.S. and Europe that focuses on how to communicate design using Revit and other tools. Pluralsight is now looking for people in industry jobs to teach the courses. They currently have 100 authors of curricula but are aiming for 500.

“The demographic of people we’re training is changing,” said Rahden. “We are now including the maker community.”

For additional Autodesk University 2015 coverage see AECCafe’s Autodesk University 2015 Report

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Categories: 2D, 3D, 3D PDF, 3D printing, AEC, AECCafe, apps, architecture, Autodesk, BIM, building information modeling, Civil 3D, Cloud, collaboration, construction, data archiving, Deltek, display wall, engineering, field, field solutions, file sharing, geospatial, infrastructure, integrated project delivery, interactive display, managed services, mobile, mobile printing, rendering, sustainable design, terrain, traffic simulation, video surveillance, virtual reality, visualization

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