Esri and Autodesk—What’s Next?

After an incredible week at Autodesk University (AU), we continue to receive great feedback and comments about the new partnership between Esri and Autodesk. Now, everyone wants to know the answer to the big question—What’s next? At AU, we learned that ‘Data at the Center’ helps drive successful workflows. Autodesk and Esri understand the increasing importance of data, and have come together to better integrate geographic information system (GIS) and building information modeling (BIM) software—smoothing the flow of data from one system to another. We believe that our partnership can enable positive outcomes for all of the stakeholders in the Planning, Design, Construction, and Operations lifecycle of both the built and natural environments that we live, work, and play in every day. Our collective users represent all architecture, engineering and construction project participants—planners, surveyors, architects, engineers, designers, contractors, owners, and operators—who will all benefit from faster and more transparent data flows. In the next 30 years, the number people living in cities will double while the global population will increase by 3 billion people. This growth will require construction of a thousand new buildings every day. Urbanization will result in 75 percent of the world’s population living in cities, with 95 percent of the population within a day’s drive from an urban center. The infrastructure that exists today is already failing to meet the needs of our current population, let alone scale to meet vastly accelerating and expanding needs. The way we plan, design, build and operate will go through a major transformation to meet these needs. The same will need to happen with the software that’s used to help achieve project success. Esri founder and president, Jack Dangermond, and Andrew Anagnost, the president and CEO of Autodesk, met on stage to discuss how we must do, ‘More, Better, and with Less.’ Communities must become smarter, more sustainable, and grow at a level that has never been seen before. Massive growth must happen while communities strive to become continuously more efficient by using the data and context around them to make better decisions. To achieve a sustainable world, all of this growth and change must have less net impact on the world around us. When Jack Dangermond spoke, he said that while this partnership could not have stopped Hurricane Harvey [for example], the next-generation Houston [or wherever] will be more resilient thanks to improved understanding. Achieving more resilient infrastructure that can better respond to major catastrophes is an overriding necessity to accommodate the massive increase in urbanization in the next 30 years. Freeing the flow of data between GIS and BIM will help our best planners, designers, engineers and operators consider the interface between our built environment and natural environment––and the impact that design decisions have on this balance. Obvious wins from our partnership can come from removing slow and inefficient data conversion between systems, but that‘s just the start. Before the partnership, both companies focused on the next major changes to our software and work process to meet the heightened demand for improved infrastructure that the future demands. We realized that neither of us was likely to achieve this transformation alone, and that we could accelerate this future by working together. Our partnership is committed to helping to discover and create the next evolution of how we do ‘smart’—smart cities, smart utilities, smart road networks. Throughout our initial meetings, our focus has always started with understanding the complete workflow of how data moves between planning, designing, building and operating buildings and infrastructure. The key has been to figure out how we can more easily integrate BIM and GIS data to improve this process. Autodesk and Esri are focused on the following key areas to help make you more successful in the work that you do: Transforming the Project Lifecycle Improving data integration workflows will bring immediate value to both GIS and BIM users. We know we can achieve more than just data integration and are already researching opportunities to bring context to the design and construction workflows that lead to improved construction and renovation of facilities and infrastructure. Continuous Context of the Site and the Environment Buildings and assets will be planned, designed, and built in a way that considers project context in depth by making relevant information available when it’s needed most. By integrating GIS and BIM, planners and designers will better understand projects in relation to their surrounding context: how the natural and existing built environment will be impacted by and interact with new projects. By pulling these insights up the project lifecycle, project owners will be able to predict potential issues, streamline the project lifecycle, and reduce costly delays. Sensing Site Change Thanks to the many technological innovations of drones, sensor input, and data processing, we have achieved the ability to rapidly scan, photograph, and sense the three-dimensional world around us. Every project can start with a realistic and accurate ‘picture’ of the original site that can be updated with daily scans to record how the site changes with every phase of development. We are focused on delivering and improving site context for all project stakeholders. Designing and Visualizing the Real World in 3D Traditionally, designing and representing the world has been done in 2D. With advancements in technology and hardware, 3D is quickly becoming the standard people want to use for design, visualization, and analysis of assets throughout their lifecycle. Our focus will be on tools and apps that utilize 3D to facilitate better use of spatial information to inform and guide the design process so that projects can achieve economic, sustainability, and performance goals. Optimizing Infrastructure Operation The Internet of Things (IoT) makes it possible to monitor every tremor and temperature change of an infrastructure asset such as a building or bridge using embedded sensors. The world is going to be tracked with billions of sensors all around us, many of which will be designed into the assets we use and then tracked and analyzed in 3D experiences. This data will fuel machine learning that will generate new insights when they are most relevant. By sharing Esri’s expertise in the Science of Where and Autodesk’s leadership in design analysis, we hope to discover new opportunities for enabling customers to plan, deploy and consume sensor information to improve operational performance of large systems of assets. Open Recognizing that ‘Data is at the Center’ of our customers’ businesses and organizations, we are committed to creating extensible platforms that enable our users to innovate. We understand that the future of our platforms depends on users extending our tools, creating new tools from our software building blocks, and inventing new workflows to become more productive. Future releases of technology will be driven by these key themes. As we focus on helping you solve the problems of tomorrow, your feedback and direction are essential to achieving our shared mission. We are excited about what the future holds, and look forward to shaping that future with you. More information pertaining to software functionality will be announced in 2018.

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Originally published at Infrastructure Reimagined.