Autodesk Debuts Docs ‘GaMe-changer’ in Vegas, Bets BIg On Skycatch

Autodesk Debuts Docs ‘GaMe-Changer’ In Vegas, Bets BIg On Skycatch

by ROB McMANAMY | Dec 1, 2105

Paris and Las Vegas. Two cities not easily confused, save for one iconic structure copied from the other. Still, this week, they are the dual focal points for the AEC community, as world leaders convene in France to draw a roadmap for accelerated environmental innovation, while industry tech leaders gather in ‘Sin City’ to advance the future of making things.

That is the stated theme this year of Autodesk University, the software giant’s annual flagship educational user event, which got under way this morning. Already, the rhetoric at the three-day gathering is lofty, to say the least. From the “Era of Connection” to a “New World Order“, the hosts are not holding back in trumpeting the numerous tech products and opportunities now before us.

“Technologies like the Internet of Things, augmented and virtual reality, and robotics will change the way engineers and designers work,” said Autodesk Pres. and CEO Carl Bass in his keynote address to the 10,000 attendees, as well as hundreds of thousands more watching online, the company estimated. “Places and things are more connected, intelligent and dynamic than ever before,” Bass added.

This morning, Autodesk kicked things off with a bang, announcing Autodesk BIM 360 Docs, a comprehensive, cloud-based service for the AEC that provides a virtual workspace to create, access, maintain, mark up and share 2D and 3D project documents, plans and models.

According to the company’s own 2013 industry research report, Making the Grade, up to 25% of all construction is rework, and approximately 10% of materials are wasted. Much of this waste can be attributed to the error-prone process of managing hundreds to thousands of project documents. And today, our industry must also “contend with a tangled web of multiple document management solution providers, contributing to significant inefficiencies and risks on project sites,” the report found.

AU's annual spectacle draws more than 10,000 bodies to Vegas, followed by hundreds of thousands of eyes globally.

AU’s annual spectacle draws more than 10,000 bodies to Vegas, followed by hundreds of thousands of eyes globally.

Formerly known as Project Alexandria, Autodesk BIM 360 Docs will help to save time, reduce risk and errors in construction projects. BIM 360 Docs is designed to ensure that the entire project team is building from the correct version of documents and plans, according to the company.

“Autodesk is delivering a new world order for construction management,” said Amar Hanspal, the firm’s senior vice president for products. “A comprehensive solution is long overdue, and the delay has cost the construction trades too much money and too much time. Autodesk saw the challenge, owns the expertise, and is delivering a powerful step forward for the industry.”

More than a few customers are already anxious to use the new tool, which will not be offered commercially until early next year. In fact, several designers, general contractors, engineers, owners and operators all participated in its development and testing, providing feedback throughout.

  Reece: Fixes overdue.

  Reece: Fixes overdue.

“Document management has historically posed a significant challenge for much of the industry, yet many still rely on a cobbled-together web of one-off solutions, which isn’t really a solution at all,” said Jason Reece, technology and innovation improvement lead at Balfour Beatty Construction. “We’ve collaborated with Autodesk throughout the development process and based on what we’ve seen so far, BIM 360 Docs is on the right track to offering an integrated technology solution for this generations-old problem.”

Planned capabilities of the new product include links between 3D and 2D documents, allowing users to interact with models in 2D views and then visualize them in 3D on the same page, and vice-versa. Among other features are permission-based access control and approval processes for managing updates and coordinating release of documents, preventing project teams from working with out-of-date information. For more information about the product’s capabilities, click here. Autodesk is now accepting reservations for a limited release and free preview version of Autodesk BIM 360 Docs at

For all of AU developments in Las Vegas this week, follow AU on Twitter: @autodesku, #AU2015.

Look, up in the air!

In other big news, Autodesk last month announced that it would also be investing in drone technology for the AEC industry. More specifically, San Francisco-based Skycatch is the beneficiary of the major investment. “We’re thrilled and honored to welcome Autodesk as investors in our $25M series b round, and as allies in accelerating breakthrough innovations,” said Skycatch spokesperson Casey Stokely.

  • To see BuiltWorlds’ own new research on UAVs, click here

Autodesk explained its rationale. “UAV technology is rapidly transforming the way people gather information and Skycatch has proven to be among the most influential leaders in this field,” said Dominique Pouliquen, Autodesk’s UAV initiative coordinator. “We look forward to expanding our collaboration with Skycatch to accelerate the development and adoption of reality capture for our customers across the AEC.” For more, visit the Skycatch blog here.