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Autodesk held their media-only AEC Summit at the Innovation and Design building in South Boston. The company is moving their East Coast headquarters to this new space, and are planning to create a new gallery space for public outreach in the future.

Autodesk looks at construction productivity and it has continued to lag behind manufacturing. They believe that Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the means to increase this productivity, and a means to build new designs. The adoption of BIM, according to McGraw Hill Construction, is gaining in adoption. Governments are also mandating BIM, with Singapore mandating and UK soon to mandate as well as Germany.

Amar Hanspal, senior vice president at Autodesk, kicked off the morning, saying that we’re still in early adoption phases of BIM. He spoke about the creation of the Parthenon and construction of domes with lightweight volcanic rock, and the fact that it was disruptive. Today, the innovation in buildings is in computer-generated design and sensors that monitor the performance in realtime to fine tune its operations.

What building are in changing, according to Hanspal. They aren’t static anymore, continuing to evolve and improve after they are delivered. BIM improvements are increasing with how we design and conceive our structures with Internet-based resources and cloud computing that simulates and tunes design to performance. Computational or generative design is feeding an iterative process to achieve new forms. Some of the other trends that are showing up are modular design, robotic construction with welding machines as well as machine-controlled earth movers.

The job site is also more mechanized with sensors, QR Codes and RFID on each of the building components. Everything is highly tracked in the process to know exactly how the project is progressing. Drones are also being used to keep an eye on construction, with greater transparency and also security.

The Internet of Things, going to 50 billion connections to the Internet (more than double today) within the next ten years. These sensored environments are increasing, such as the airport in Abu Dhabi where people are tracked, as are duty-free items, baggage, transit, airplanes, personnel, etc. The digital infrastructure will better manage such complex environments. It is also happening at the urban scale with the Smart City level for transportation, air pollution, and overall livability.

The first generation of Autodesk products revolved around documentation, but left out coordinated decision making. BIM delivers this coordination, and delivers documentation through automation, with improved workflows for optimizing the design. The next phase is going to focus on connection — software and experience come together.

The connected phase puts the projects rather than the software at the center, connecting people, devices and applications to the project data. We are now working with an outcome in mind and changing the design to the end deliverable. There is also a new connection with design and build where it’s a more seamless workflow.

Autodesk has a new cloud-based data management effort in Autodesk Labs as Skyscraper, where all the BIM products connect and manage projects in a shared environment. Revit and AutoCAD are connected now, and InfraWorks will be connected soon. The project is at the center, with commenting between the tools and a seamless sharing environments across this software stack in a shared environment. Things like Glue and Field are connected for an issue that happens onsite to seamlessly move between the software — common object IDs that are like a GPS — tracking through and across each software environment.

Customers also have access to generative or computational design in Dynamo, building the best alternatives between aesthetics, structural strength and energy performance, among other parameters. The computer generates a model, they can change the parameters until they get the one they like. The model then moves to Revit for fine tuning and finalization — with computer-generated models starting the design process. Autodesk is taking that to a next level with program-based design, where the full project details let you figure out the best design start — customer can select the starting point based on desired outcomes. Building simulation is also being combined with energy performance, understanding how the form, footprint and orientation are impacting the energy cost. Visualization is another outcome-based improvement where you know exactly what the interior will look like thanks to modeling of interior materials.

Simulation of construction process is turning entirely digital these days to optimize the fabrication. Precast components are being put together in a phased way, with the trucks and cranes all modeled to show exactly how the choreography of the process will fit everything together.

Autodesk’s new Urban Canvas product provides a planning environment to combine data sets as well as details about the population. The combination of GIS data with design data, including underground utility information, allows for detailed design within a city context.

The company is also working with building operations with sensors. This supports the move of contractors to shift into building operations where they deliver the building and then maintain it. This sensored environment allows for predictive maintenance where the building is monitored and tuned without catastrophic failures and lowering the cost.

The era of connection is upon us, and Autodesk is focused on this next phase.

 

source: Informed Infrastructure