Autodesk : “Never has the ability to create a physical product been so accessible to everyone”

May 29, 2015
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Autodesk has been making huge news at Connected Conference. One of their top highlights has been their sublime SOLID, the first connected, 3D-printed titanium lifestyle bike designed with Autodesk’s Fusion 360 & Alias software.

Andrew Anagnost, senior vice president, Industry Strategy and Marketing, Autodesk describes here how manufacturing and design are being completely revolutionized thanks to both continuously evolving technology and fundamental societal shifts.

As new technologies are being generalized and becoming widely available, how is this changing design and manufacturing?

Manufacturing is changing at an incredible pace. The future is being re-written every day and we’re seeing huge, disruptive changes – from crowd-funding to digital fabrication to cloud-based engineering software – are upon us.

Never has the ability to create a physical product been so accessible to everyone. We are matching that accessibility by completely redrawing the lines for the availability of 3D CAD/CAM tools – enabling anyone with a good idea to make it a reality.

We are on the brink of the biggest change in how we make things since the industrial revolution. And this isn’t just about new technology; it’s about changes in culture, politics and attitudes.

What’s driving these fundamental changes?

As a leading 3D technology provider for the architecture, engineering and construction, manufacturing and media & entertainment industries, Autodesk is observing three major catalysts for disruption:

  • Means of Production: Intellectual production is changing since the process of how we make a physical thing is evolving. Physical production is changing too – we simply don’t design, manufacture, or build things the same way as we used to.
  • The Nature of Consumer Demand: Customers care more about how and where things are made. Interest in locally made, produced, and sold items is growing everywhere.
  • Product: “Product” is a proxy for all the things our customers make (whether it’s a building, movie, highway, or car). Things are now deeply connected – to each other and to other interconnected digital systems. Bottom line: things don’t function in isolation anymore. They are smart. They talk to each other, affect each other, even change over time.

Out of this disruption, a new future of making things is emerging, and Autodesk is embracing this new future.

What are the implications of this on the connected future we’ve been exploring over the last couple days at Connected Conference?

We are in the early stages of a new Era of Connection, an era about building applications and solutions that connect a community of people to a project or product, to the new means of production and the new means of consumption. In this era, you can optimize a design not only for how it functions but for how it is built and interconnects with other systems. This era of connection is made possible because of the power of the cloud. Designing and making things in a rich information context is made possible computationally by the cloud, a natural hub of collaboration that brings with it incredible agility.