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    By Nick Harris

    Last month’s Autodesk University London proved to be a great success with full attendance and great feedback from those of you that visited us on our stand. This year the weather was kinder, and the Tobacco Dock venue felt ideally suited to the informal yet vibrant nature of the event. Our Matt Lees was kept busy demonstrating how we can make augmented reality easy, using Microsoft HoloLens and some of our own software. Live at the event Matt modelled the hidden services in the exhibition hall and then made them visible in the context of the physical space to anyone who tried on the HoloLens. This technology is becoming increasingly mainstream and we offer a service where we can make your site meetings more productive by visualising project progress and design intent using augmented reality.

    The main theme of the keynotes was automation. Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk CEO, delivered the main presentation and introduced us to Autodesk’s view that we are firmly in the age of automation, supported by the flexibility of the cloud and machine learning. His suggestion was that if AutoCAD took us into the digital age, then the latest technology from Autodesk including BIM360 and Fusion 360 are the platforms for automating design processes. Using big data collected from many thousands of projects hosted in the cloud, Autodesk is refining the way that computers are solving complex design problems.

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    Andrew Anagnost presenting at AU London

    Andrew was closely followed on stage by Jamie Johnson of Bryden Wood who delivered a compelling presentation on the industrialisation of construction, specifically offsite fabrication of components for the soon to be completed London Crossrail underground project. Again, the theme of automation was carried through the presentation as Jamie explained how his organisation had developed a process for designing, manufacturing and installing complex tunnel linings for the new stations along the line. Importantly, Bryden Wood, had used multiple Autodesk products to develop the datasets and processes without any loss of information or the need for rework. They had used products like Dynamo, Autodesk’s visual workflow designer, to take as much of the repetition and manual input out of the process as possible. Jamie finished by saying the pay-back for the investment into the R&D required to deliver a robust process was of course a significant reduction in cost, lead time and improved safety on site.

    Many of the latest products included with the Autodesk Design Collections and data management solutions already have the ability to automate your work. Features like Dynamo for Revit, ilogic for Inventor and Autodesk Vault lifecycles provide powerful, customisable and easy to use workflows that take repetition out of your day to day work. Expect to see more automation and analysis functionality being added into the Collections. Next time I will talk about some of the technology announcements from Autodesk University London.