AEC Tech News (#268)

15 Apr, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

The Future of Software for AEC? Autodesk's Direction Offers Some Clue

At an international media event, the company reveals insight and trends that are driving its product development.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

"This is one of the biggest releases of products I think we've ever had." Those were the words of Jay Bhatt, Autodesk vice-president, AEC industry, about his division's 2011 product line introduced in late March. Speaking at a recent media event dubbed AEC Tech Day, Bhatt added, "People are really amazed at the amount of functionality we've added to these products." Product updates for the 2011 line focus on key issues of collaboration and information management for global workflows, design analysis and visualization, and sustainability for new projects as well as renovations and retrofits, he said.

During the event at the company's AEC headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, Autodesk managers walked members of the media through extensive updates throughout version 2011 products, including AutoCAD, Revit, Navisworks, Plant 3D, and Civil 3D.

Building Information Modeling

Bhatt told me during a one-on-one interview that 35% to 40% of U.S. architects have adopted building information modeling (BIM), as have 10% of engineers and less than 10% of building contractors. Where is the greatest demand for BIM today? "The contractor has awakened," Bhatt said. Now the understanding of BIM value is better than ever before as BIM models represent design intent, offer constructability analysis, and help increase construction efficiency and reduce errors, he explained.

During the early days of building information modeling (BIM) technology, when people talked about the information, they usually were referring to data embedded in elements of the 3D model, such as windows, doors, and furniture — and the value of that information once it became widely available and used. Today, that "I" refers increasingly to collaboration and improved exchange of project information among all stakeholders, and that is the value that Autodesk sees and promotes for BIM going forward. "That information is becoming more and more critical to the [building] process," said Bhatt, and it's not just happening in AEC, but also in plant, infrastructure, and other industries.

Technology is one way people are dealing with the challenges of globalized workflows, Bhatt said. For many projects, BIM is required for capturing and delivering information whenever it's needed and in the form it is needed, "just in time." Software such as Autodesk Buzzsaw supports this information coordination across the chain, Bhatt said. "BIM is about the process change that stems from the technology." Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.

AMD Strengthens Foothold in Professional Graphics Market with New ATI FirePro V8800

New card with ATI Eyefinity multimonitor technology supports up to double the display real estate with 2.6 teraflops of compute performance in a single card.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

AMD has announced its most powerful professional graphics card to date, the ATI FirePro V8800. Incorporating ATI Eyefinity multidisplay and Microsoft DirectX 11 technologies, it is the first in a new family of professional graphics solutions and is available for order immediately from AMD and its partners.

At a media event at its San Jose, California, headquarters early this month, AMD emphasized the performance/price value of this new card.

The top-of-the-line card delivers 2.6 teraflops of raw computing power with what is said to be the highest memory bandwidth (147.2 GB/s) available in any single-card professional graphics solution — more than two times the compute power of the previous generation, AMD reports. But at $1,499, the price of the V8800 is equal to or less than previous high-end models in the FirePro line. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


Webinar: Autodesk Seize the Opportunity Virtual Event
April 19, 2010
7 a.m.–2 p.m. PT
This event will demonstrate how to design, visualize, and simulate ideas in the digital world before they're in the real one. Topics include building projects more economically and with minimal environmental impact using Autodesk Revit software for building information modeling (BIM). Read more »

Webinar: Introduction to Bonzai3d
April 21, 2010
12–12:45 p.m. ET
During this webinar, Matthew Holewinski from AutoDesSys will demonstrate and explain how bonzai3d can accelerate the 3D design process with its interface, modeling tools, and visualization capabilities. Read more »

Get Your Hands on BIM
May 13, 2010
Irvine, California
Attendees can learn the basics of building information modeling (BIM) from industry experts, including green building applications and construction documentation. 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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