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    Autodesk University 2009

    by Susan Smith

    At Autodesk University 2009, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass said he was encouraged by signs that the economy seems to be improving. He also acknowledged that Autodesk customers worldwide are being challenged to stay competitive. He suggested that this translates into being able to work more efficiently and being able to do more with less — an idea echoed in every presentation at AU 2009.

    It also seemed apparent that Autodesk is regrouping, drawing upon its most successful resources. The predominant topics at the conference were architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC), and sustainability, with other industry segments, such as manufacturing and geospatial, taking a back seat this time around.

    The CEO's Keynote

    In his keynote address, Bass suggested that technologies often follow a common trajectory. When a new idea or technology is first proposed, most people consider it impossible. Later it is deemed only impractical, then eventually it becomes accepted, and later people start to expect or even require its use. For example, Bass pointed out that air travel, once considered impossible, is essentially a requirement in today's industrialized societies.

    The timing of implementation of a technology is a critical factor, said Bass. There is often an optimal moment, a "sweet spot" at which people are ready to receive the technology, when it fills a need. He suggested five design capabilities that are currently moving from "impractical" into this sweet spot: exploration, analysis, storytelling, collaboration, and access.

    Bass said that exploration is enabled by building information modeling (BIM) and digital entertainment creation, and pointed out that analysis can now be found from concept to finished product. Storytelling is inherent in a BIM model as well as the more obvious digital entertainment technologies.

    Collaboration is facilitated by products like Navisworks. "Access" is the ability to work on your projects from multiple platforms and from multiple computing environments, also afforded by Navisworks and ultimately by cloud computing.   >>>

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    About 5,800 people attended Autodesk University 2009 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, with another 16,000 "attendees" participating remotely.
    Photo: Shaan Hurley Extra Large Image

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    Discussing Autodesk's current software lineup and future plans in his keynote address, CEO Carl Bass said, "The Mac is a very important platform for us."
    Photo: Shaan Hurley Extra Large Image


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