MCAD Tech News (#319)

8 Dec, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

Autodesk University 2011, Part 4: Autodesk Takes the Plunge into PLM

Annual user conference delivers plenty of news for the manufacturing community, including a surprise announcement from the company that once denounced product lifecycle management.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

At Autodesk University 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week, Autodesk officially abandoned its stance that it wouldn't offer a product lifecycle management (PLM) solution because it didn't see the need in the market and announced its plans to launch 360 Nexus, a highly configurable, affordable, cloud-based PLM solution.

Before a gathering of CAD industry media and analysts, Stephen Bodnar, vice-president of PLM and data management, said, "Autodesk is now officially entering PLM," but promised that it was an approach that is completely different from what we know as PLM today.

Autodesk set lofty expectations when it announced its cloud-based PLM solution.
Autodesk set lofty expectations when it announced its cloud-based PLM solution.

"What's different, and why now?" Bodnar asked. "It's pretty clear that our customers recognize that there's value in PLM," he explained, but the barrier to PLM adoption has been that the technology and predominant business models in the marketplace haven't really allowed customers to get that value. They've been waiting for the right solution to come along, he said.

360 Nexus, Autodesk claims, is the answer. Written from the ground up as a cloud-based platform, it is designed for companies of all sizes to use in conjunction with the on-site Autodesk Vault product data management (PDM) solution and cloud-based Autodesk Buzzsaw for collaboration with outside partners and suppliers — collectively called Autodesk 360 for PLM. 360 Nexus builds on CAD and extends beyond PDM but stops short of encompassing CAM/CAE. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.


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.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Customizing SpaceClaim Using Its API
December 14, 2011
1 p.m. ET
In this webinar from SpaceClaim, attendees will get an overview of what the solid modeling application API can do, an introduction to the basic concepts of 3D MCAD programming, and learn how to get started with customization and tools. Read more »

Leveraging Teamcenter UA with Site Consolidation
December 20, 2011
9:30 a.m. ET
In this Geometric webinar, PLM specialists will take viewers through the most effective ways to realize the potential of the Teamcenter UA PLM application. Read more »

Solid Edge Customer Success Series: Oil and Gas Equipment Designed Better in Solid Edge CAD
January 24, 2012
2 p.m. ET
In the third webinar in the Siemens PLM Software series, co-hosted with Swoosh Technologies, two leaders in the United States oil and gas industry will discuss design success in the challenging and critical oil and gas sector. 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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CADspeed Blog Post:
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Now that you've upgraded, we'll look at what to do with hardware systems that are surplus or simply too outdated to be reused. Read more »

First Look Review: ArchiCAD 15
New Shell tool and renovation workflow support aim to improve the 3D modeling experience for architects. Read more »

First Look Review: HP Z210 CMT Workstation
Desktop system offers upper-midrange performance for an entry-level price. Read more »

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