Autodesk University 2016, Part 2: What's New for AEC, Manufacturing Tools

15 Dec, 2016 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson

Event report: Product Innovation keynote session delivers latest software news, including a sneak peek at Project Quantum, a fully integrated, collaborative, cloud-based platform for AEC.


What's New: BIM 360

Sarah Hodges, director of the BIM 360 business line, was next on the stage, sharing news about cloud-based BIM 360.

Sarah Hodges, director of the BIM 360 business line for Autodesk.
Sarah Hodges, director of the BIM 360 business line for Autodesk.

"Our vision for BIM 360 is to create a holistic experience for construction management," Hodges said. "With BIM 360, we put your project at the center. We connect your teams to that project, giving them access to any info they need whenever they need it, wherever they might be. We're getting closer and closer to a single source of project truth. ... There is enormous opportunity to solve construction challenges with technology."

BIM 360 Docs is now available for Android in addition to iOS devices, Hodges reported, providing access to models, documents, specs, and reports. Starting December 19, RFIs will be available in BIM 360 Docs, and a standardized, integrated process for submittals is in the works for future release.

BIM 360 Project IQ, now in pilot testing, uses machine learning to make informed decisions about current as well as future projects, transforming project data into actionable, reliable, prioritized information, designed to help reduce risk on project sites. The app provides intelligent assistance by mining construction project data and applying machine learning and analytics. It learns continuously from expert feedback, becoming smarter every day.

Newest of the New: Project Quantum

Hanspal returned to the stage to give a sneak peek of Project Quantum, a cloud-based platform that will integrate building design, engineering, analysis, fabrication, and construction management into the common data environment, side-stepping the traditional, file-based AEC workflow, he said.

"In Quantum, we're doing something different. We're giving each person their own dedicated workspace ... that lets them do the thing they're responsible for but stay in sync." For example, as an architect fleshes out a design based on the inspiration of the client, the structural engineer could begin preliminary work based on that information — two different applications working from the same up-to-date information at the same time. Those updates and suggestions are available to the fabricator to evaluate the implications of various design decisions, in parallel to the other work, all regardless of any team member's location.

"Quantum will close the gap between all the various roles in the process, which are long-standing barriers in the AEC industry," Hanspal continued, "so everyone on the project will be able to share data quickly, and all the pieces of the process are now connected.

"Just as Fusion is becoming the one place to design, simulate, analyze, [and] collaborate, Project Quantum as part of BIM 360 really completes our vision for BIM 360 to be that integrated platform that spans design, make, and use for the AEC industry. This is more than putting Revit in a browser — that's easy. This is about fundamentally changing the way BIM works in the era of the cloud." (Hanspal's Project Quantum sneak peek is available online.)

Later, in a breakout session with journalists, Hanspal said Project Quantum will work with Revit as well. "Whether you call it compatibility or integration, Quantum will be part of the Revit environment. ... We're building a framework so you could use desktop Revit with the Quantum app.

"For Quantum, it's very, very, very early. We don't even have a name for what stage it's in. We'll probably roll it out to four or five customers initially in the development process," Hanspal added.

He went on to discuss fabrication and automation — "the next big things to come to construction." He predicts the next generation of products, in the next 12–18 months, will demonstrate integrated construction and manufacturing. "Construction is looking more and more like assembling planes, that sort of approach, as opposed to the traditional stick-built approach."

Editor's note: The full Autodesk University 2016 Product Innovation Keynote is available to view online.

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About the Author: Nancy Spurling Johnson

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