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As the year winds down and we go into another cold December in the Midwest, we are putting another always entertaining and informative Autodesk University behind us. This year we were able to once again spend time at keynotes surrounding Autodesk’s vision around their new and existing technologies.  It seems clear that the “Future of Making Things” movement is in effect and as the many Autodesk products evolve independently in features and enhancements, we move closer and closer to platform offerings and products playing together to form complete solutions. The speakers did well sharing examples of common manufacturing tools and practices being applied to the AEC space and vice-versa. The spotlight on the tools themselves seems to have taken a backstage to the overall solutions that are being created using various tools across the platform. This is clearly having industry changing effects.

Innovative Solutions Across the Platform

In fact, the Van Wijnen story got my attention as they described how they were able to transform their business leveraging generative design to come up with the best environmental, communal, and cost-efficient design of whole neighborhoods. With that they also showed great examples of using new methods of automated manufacturing, construction, and architecture in buildings and residential homes that allow structures to actually grow to their client’s needs. Incredible stuff. I also could not go without saying what an impact the LimbForge presentation had on me, and most others I spoke to. They presented at the Forge DevCon on Monday and I spent some time talking with them in the exhibit hall later in the week. Their progress in how they are helping the developing world with 3D printed prosthetics is incredible. I was very impressed with the solution they built using Forge and Fusion 360 to enable local clinics and medical centers to provide this service and products to their local communities. What was most impressive is how the medical centers are able to be trained to help their communities in a matter of days. They are not only giving those in need some of their physical abilities back with the prosthetics; in many cases, they are giving these people their lives back by giving them hope and an opportunity to be part of their community again.

I was also pleasantly surprised with the Forge Devcon event. Keep in mind I missed the event in San Francisco last year but have attended previous Autodesk Developer Network (ADN) events at the front of AU each year. While the ADN events always had good tech bits and interesting examples, the event this year was booming with great technology, technology previews, and more importantly, a seemed direction. “What is Forge?” has been the question we have collectively asked with our customers since its announcement and I thought the show this year did a great job of giving us a good idea of where things are going. We are very excited to be along for that ride.

A little closer to home for me was meeting with our customers and partners. There are still a lot of great stories coming from the Autodesk PLM space around Fusion Lifecycle. As we look forward to the new UI, capabilities, and API that are soon to come it is great to see so many new customers have embraced the software, and that the partner eco-system is growing. The big message I took away from our various meetings is that there is still a great need for business system integration. As more customers focus on PLM and move to solutions like Fusion Lifecycle integration is key to PLM’s long term success in an organization. This fits our vision of integration and how we have been assisting our partners and customers in years past. Our next challenge is to take the next step and apply our years of experience to making integration more efficient, adoptable, and affordable to deploy.

In summary, I am glad to be home from Vegas and grateful again for having experienced such an exciting week at Autodesk University 2017. It has encouraged, challenged, and inspired me for the year ahead and the work that we can do to make an impact on the world through our partners and customers. Till next year….

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