AEC Tech News (#308)

8 Dec, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

Autodesk University 2011, Part 3: BIM Is Everywhere

With the help of the cloud, Autodesk is extending building information modeling in new directions.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Autodesk University (AU) is an annual conference that caters to all of the company's varied users, providing education and inspiration for architects, automotive designers, and animated filmmakers alike. During AU 2011, held last week in Las Vegas, Nevada, the big news for those of the AEC persuasion was the confluence of BIM (building information modeling) and the cloud.

During a press briefing, Jim Lynch, vice-president of AEC solutions for Autodesk, pointed out some key trends that are influencing the AEC industry: BIM is gathering momentum, especially in the infrastructure space. Owners are becoming more interested in the technology, and Autodesk is working to expand BIM across the building lifecycle, extending it into operations and maintenance. And of course, the combination of the cloud and mobile devices is making BIM tools accessible in new ways. "Let's face it — BIM is everywhere," said Lynch.

Although BIM adoption is accelerating around the world, Lynch acknowledged that the company isn't seeing much movement at the low end of the market. That's the motivation behind Autodesk Labs' Project Spark, a technology preview of a simplified 3D BIM solution. The attempt to create a lower-end BIM tool has roused interest among price-sensitive customers, Lynch reported.

Mark Strassman, vice-president of the Construction Solutions Business Unit, commented on the notable BIM uptake among builders, who benefit from the insights it provides about costs, schedules, and the like. He also noted that 75% of AEC workers perform their jobs in the field, not behind a desk — a number that makes mobile solutions even more resonant. Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.


Autodesk University 2011, Part 1: Surfing the Waves of Disruption

At the annual user conference, attendees learn about the powerful trends reshaping Autodesk and the CAD industry, from infinite computing to digital fabrication.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson and Cyrena Respini-Irwin

A tide of technological change is sweeping across the CAD landscape. Mobile computing, the cloud, the maker movement — you can't run from developments of this magnitude. The only question is, will you get hammered by these monster waves, or ride them to new opportunities? At Autodesk University 2011 (AU), held November 29–December 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the company's leaders strongly urged the latter.

During a preshow media briefing, Senior Vice-President and CMO Chris Bradshaw explained that Autodesk's customers are dealing with a time of unprecedented change. As one example, he shared the projection that ten billion mobile devices will be in use by the end of the decade — far more than the number of people on the planet. "It's a little bit scary," he acknowledged, "[but] at the same time it's a huge opportunity."

Steve Blum, senior vice-president of worldwide sales and services, quoted a prediction from IT market advisory firm IDC: By 2014, 46% of all professionals will be "mobile only." That trend will profoundly alter workflows, software development, and even the traditionally centralized IT environment as users become IT consumers — selecting and purchasing their own iPads, for example. "The cloud and mobile are changing the way people are thinking about getting their jobs done," said Blum.

Blum explained that an expanding consumer design market, supported by social media networks, is changing the competitive landscape. With the help of new marketing and funding resources such as Kickstarter, tiny startups are able to go head-to-head with well-established firms. "Ecosystems that didn't exist in the past are changing the game and leveling the playing field," he noted. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief. Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.

Amid Canals and Bridges, Bentley Honors Inspiring Infrastructure

The software developer invites AEC professionals to share their finest work at its Be Inspired: Thought Leadership in Infrastructure event in Amsterdam.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

"How can we make the world a better place?" H. Kit Miyamoto, structural engineer and CEO of Miyamoto International, presented this question to an audience of AEC professionals and media representatives at Bentley Systems' recent event, Be Inspired: Thought Leadership in Infrastructure. If the quality of life for world citizens is directly proportional to the quality of their infrastructure, as put forth by Bentley COO Malcolm Walter, then the answer is: by improving infrastructure.

That's a goal shared by keynote speaker Miyamoto, who provides earthquake engineering and post-disaster reconstruction services around the globe, and all the Bentley customers attending the invitation-only event, held November 8–9 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Whether they plan greener buildings, design safer highway interchanges, or construct more efficient power distribution networks, these users are devoted to improving infrastructure.

Cream of the AECrop

The projects showcased at Be Inspired were chosen from 270 organizations' submissions by independent juries. The finalists in each category traveled to the conference to present their projects, sharing best practices with colleagues and helping the juries make their final selections for the Be Inspired Awards. Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


Vectorworks 2012 Tour
Through December 20, 2011
Various cities
At these free events, designers in the architecture, landscape, and entertainment design industries will have the opportunity to experience hands-on test drives of Vectorworks 2012 software. Read more »

ENR FutureTech: Applying Advanced Technologies to Drive New Solutions
December 12–13, 2011
San Francisco, California
At this event from ENR, industry leaders will discuss how they are leveraging improvements in business processes and engineering data coordination and exchange to accomplish their projects. Read more »

RTC Australasia
May 24–26, 2012
New South Wales, Australia
RTC is an independent conference covering all things Revit and BIM (building information modeling). Business leaders, thought leaders, innovators, and implementers will share their secrets to aid in the quest for a better, smarter industry, and a stronger, more sustainable environment. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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