November 28, 2011
This Week at Autodesk University 2011
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News
This Week at Autodesk University 2011

By Susan Smith

November 28 Autodesk University 2011 kicks off at the Venetian/Palazzo in Las Vegas.

There are a number of topics that I expect Autodesk is going to cover in their presentations -- here are some to keep on the look out for, some of which have already been written about in AECWeekly or AECCafe Today:

Partnerships –

New World Symphony, Miami, Fla., Gehry Technologies

Autodesk has been busy with partnerships – one of those is a relationship penned with Gehry Technologies. Gehry Technologies is a sophisticated AEC team that has been associated with Dassault Systemes as their software of choice. But they also have customers who are using Autodesk products.

In a recent interview with Phil Bernstein, vice president, industry strategy and relations, Autodesk, said, “From Autodesk’s perspective we feel we need to begin to work with partners who can enable dramatic process changes in our customers technology infrastructure. Gehry Technologies were working on exactly the kinds of projects we thought were important for that.”

“Gehry Technologies had the image in the industry of being tied at the hip to Dassault Systemes and only working on our own technology and neither of those was true,” said Dayne Myers, CEO of Gehry Technologies. “We have been doing projects in Revit and given our mission and Frank’s vision to improve the industry through technology; it made complete sense to work with Autodesk.”

Both companies are interested in how technology improves the entire continuum of the process, said Bernstein. “ We’re talking about more than just working on the design problem, we’re talking about engineering problems, energy optimization, construction efficiency, digital fabrication, facilities management,” adding, “we think our visions overlap pretty well, in the sense we think the kinds of technologies we provide can help the whole building process.”

Autodesk Cloud -

Dr. Andrew Anagnost, Suites, Subscription and Web Services, Autodesk spoke on their recent announcement of Autodesk Cloud.

According to Anagnost, Autodesk has created a business model on top of an existing set of service. They also expanded and commercialized some experiments that were out of Autodesk Labs that were broadly accessed by customers, then turned them into commercial services.

“What we’re doing with Autodesk Cloud is trying to extend the desktop to do things with the Cloud that have not been possible using desktop applications,” said Anagnost. “We’ve attached the Cloud to our subscription program.”

Users of Autodesk Cloud can enjoy a free level of the initiative related to storage and access to certain types of sharing and viewing services. However, for those on subscription, there is a whole other set of services. “Someone on subscription is getting a whole new initial set of functionality off their desktop that they previously did not have as part of their subscription contract,” Anagnost noted.

Autodesk Cloud is not the first cloud offering the company has embarked on. According to Anagnost, the product Buzzsaw, which has been in existence since 2000, has been a successful way of delivering a cloud offering to AEC Customers. Their Green Building Studio (GBS) for energy analysis is also in the cloud. Other experiments on Labs included a set of services offered to customers for feedback, experimentation and modification.

These services covered three areas: 1) general collaboration viewing and sharing, a set of services that help people share information. AutoCAD WS for sharing DWGs in the cloud and using them on mobile devices. “As part of the cloud release we released the mobile and online version of Design Review, the popular DWF viewing and markup tool,” said Anagnost. “That’s now online and all of those are connected together with simple sharing workflows that are compatible with more controlled sharing environments like Buzzsaw and other applications that we’ll have in the future.”

2) Visualization – Project Neon, a visualization tool service for doing high quality photorealistic rendering in the cloud, has been on Labs and is popular with the AEC space. Now, with Autodesk Cloud, it has a Revit plug-in and is integrated with Revit and AutoCAD. With the service they can basically populate an entire portfolio of renderings in a very short time -- minutes as opposed to hours or days. They can get access to a large compute server farm or expanding compute server farm and they get many renderings as they like simultaneously computed. They can also get great 360 degree travels around the design as well.

“It’s actually encouraging people who have not previously created a portfolio of visualizations to do it, and to do it in such a way they weren’t able to do it before,” Anagnost pointed out.

Cloud applications such Autodesk Cloud documents provide users with the freedom to work where they can be most effective, and to view, edit and share designs anywhere and with almost anyone. (Photo: Business Wire)

3) Simulation and optimization, GBS and conceptual energy analysis application. These are attached to the cloud and to Revit and to the subscription offerings. “We have also rolled out an mechanical optimization tool on top of Inventor which essentially does the simulation simultaneously and tells the users what the best answer is, same type of concept from the conceptual energy analysis,” said Anagnost. “This gives them lots of options simultaneously to help them figure out what the best answer is. On the desktop this would consume large amounts of compute power and actually may not be possible in the time frame they have to work in.”

Autodesk is making an announcement about entering into the Product Lifecycle Management market.

Electronic Delivery of Software –
Autodesk Subscription holders can now download their software.

Acquisitions -
Expect to hear about recent acquisitions, one of which is Autodesk’s acquisition of Alice Labs. Alice Labs is known for its Studio Clouds 3D Point Cloud editing software. They currently have a plugin for Maya and Max and are developing new features all the time.

Top News of the Week

Autodesk, Inc. reported financial results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2012.

“Our cash flow from operating activities remained strong, growing 20 percent, and helped fund a number of small, but important, business and technology acquisitions and strategic investments during the quarter. Our balance sheet remains solid with over $1.5 billion in cash and marketable securities and no debt.”
  • Revenue was $549 million, an increase of 15 percent compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2011.
  • GAAP operating margin was 16 percent, compared to 15 percent in the third quarter of fiscal 2011.
  • Non-GAAP operating margin was 25 percent, compared to 21 percent in the third quarter of fiscal 2011. A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP results is provided in the accompanying tables.
  • GAAP diluted earnings per share were $0.32, compared to $0.23 in the third quarter of fiscal 2011.
  • Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share were $0.44, compared to $0.32 in the third quarter of fiscal 2011.

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-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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