Software Architectures

Autodesk: Next designers might be VR-native

When people talk about the most influential desktop software companies in history, lots of companies get a mention from Lotus to WordPerfect and from Microsoft to Adobe. Perhaps because it is seen as a maker of specialist tools, Autodesk rarely gets a mention and yet this is a company that made the software behind many of the objects and buildings around us, from the iconic to the everyday.

Late last year I spent 30 minutes on the phone with Amar Hanspal, the senior VP for products at Autodesk, to talk about software and designs trends today and what’s coming around the corner. I followed up with email questions and the following text is a lightly edited version of that exchange.


What should we be getting most excited about in technology?

The advances we are seeing in terms of machine learning are some of the more interesting long-term trends in technology. Advances in compute power and access to vast amounts of data are enabling computers to better support decision making. In the world of building and manufacturing, when this technique is combined with new developments in digital manufacturing, such as additive, the canvas for product creation is changed forever. This lets us bring forward ideas such as generative design – where computers can assist designers to create strong and light structures that are generated using smart algorithms. We no longer have to explicitly model what we want, instead computers start with our requirements and co-design the solution with us. It's a completely new way of designing that comes up with utterly new ways of creating objects, and it’s going to transform many industries, especially construction and manufacturing.

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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