While you might not be au fait with Autodesk it’s hard to look anywhere and not see the firm’s touch.

Autodesk’s software is primarily thought of as being used for design work and by that we mean the design of cars, cities, and boats among others, but the company is on a mission to change that by giving users access to a greater variety of tools with which to design.

The way we build and shape cities is quickly changing as city planners and regulators are able to access data that gives them greater insight into certain things. For example, while we might assume that living next to a highway is bad for your health, having access to data that verifies this is invaluable and might change where city planners allow apartment blocks to be built.

The age of big data and smart cities is upon us and Autodesk has arrived with bells on.

We sat down with Sales Development Executive at Autodesk, Marek Suchocki, to discuss how the firm’s Building Information Modeling (BIM) process is shaping the future of design today.

“We provide a framework that allows you to present an urban or rural design that is much richer than before,” Suchocki explains.

Autodesk, the manager tells us, is increasingly being used to as a tool to disrupt sectors such as construction and as that use case becomes more popular so too does reliance on cloud computing.

“We’re moving towards running complex design models to the cloud which changes the game entirely,” says Suchoki. “The world is changing very quickly thanks to Amazon Web Services, Google, and Azure and we’re having to do a lot of work to make processes smooth for users.”

Marek Suchocki, Sales Development Executive at Autodesk speaking at the Autodesk Futures’ Forum in South Africa. Image/Supplied.

Disrupt, not disrupted

As digitalisation moves forward those who do not take note of it are seemingly doomed to fail. Take Kodak for instance, a once household name all but disappeared once folks started carrying digital cameras in the form of smartphones with them everywhere.

Autodesk doesn’t seem to be doomed, much the opposite in fact.

The firm recently partnered with Esri, a mapping, and analytics firm.

“The partnership allows us to enrich our datasets and provide “colour” for users. So, for example, you could add data such as how many two-bedroom dwellings are in an area or how many buildings are suitable for solar. The more data you have, the more opportunity you have to run different queries,” says Suchoki.

The manager goes on to say that as these use cases arise Autodesk looks to competitors and new players that are entering the market in order to fulfill potential needs of customers.

“We kickstart a number of projects and have our own labs community where we play with ideas from others,” he adds.

The firm is deadset on providing the best experience to customers, so much so that it released a product called Forge – a cloud-based app layer that allows users to “play”.

“If you have a very large 3D model you can upload it to Forge and view it without having to build your own viewer,” explains Suchoki. There is also a document management tool that a number of folks are using to great effect.

In fact, Forge has been used for everything from using drones to turn the footage into high-detail maps, create automation apps, and even craft custom prosthetics.

The simple fact of the matter is that change is coming to all sectors of business with construction and city planning not being immune.

Big data has a role to play in big cities of the future and it’s not a jargon-filled mess. There is real data that can prove useful to everybody, we just need to be able to see it and take action.

“We want to create a world where it’s not just Autodesk creating new ideas, but as many people as possible. We want to disrupt not be disrupted,” says Suchoki.

 

[Image – CC BY 2.0 Francisco Anzola]