As customers start using Autodesk products in the cloud, the company is changing its focus from making products for individuals to building tools that will help entire teams collaborate despite a project’s stage and maturity.

Autodesk University 2016 is the year of collaboration, the cloud and powerful new tools that will reshape how teams work with one another from anywhere. Their hope is to solve a common problem in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, which is that different teams are disjointed from project updates and changes.

“We’re not building tools for individuals; we’re building tools for teams,” Autodesk CEO Charles Bass said at his keynote on Tuesday. Autodesk has been working on a “new generation of tools that make teams more productive.”

See more coverage on our blog about Autodesk University 2016.

Access to infinite computing power and the ability to work together effortlessly is completely changing how design and engineering are done, Bass said.

Amar Hanspal, Autodesk senior vice president of products, addressed Autodesk in the company’s first ever product keynote. While making 100s of updates to existing tools, they are also rolling out new products to help in this shift.

“Our aim is to empower engineers, designers and other users to have their project data in one place, collaborate across geographies, and more easily tap into the immense capabilities in Autodesk’s portfolio,” Hanspal said.

Hasnpel repeated the phrase “common data environment” several times in his keynote. Autodesk is hoping to bring all the data together in one place so everyone can stay up to date.

What usually happens in the AEC industry, Hanspel said, is an owner will have a change in design and talk to the architect. Then the architect will discuss this change with the structural engineer and fabricator separately. Then the engineer and fabricator will make their changes and tell the architect.

This process is not only long but it is prone to errors.

Autodesk’s goal is to have a multi-discipline collaboration. They want teams to have independent workstations while working in a common data environment, Hanspel said. Autodesk is hoping a new tool called Quantum will create these common data environments while keeping teams autonomous.

Right now the way businesses share information makes it difficult to manage data.

“It’s all over the place,” Senior Technical Specialist John Janzen said. “We all have all these different locations where we can store data.”

Common data environments are critical for success in business.  In the past, technology has been focused on the individual when sharing and storing information. Think floppy disk or USB thumb drives. This did little to control data when sharing it with others.

“It really makes it counter productive to have to go to all these different places to find which one is the right version,” he said. “If you have a disconnected source you don’t know if that data is true.”

Autodesk doesn’t just hope that teams will begin to better collaborate with each other. Instead, they want every team and business connected to a project — like a new skyscraper — will be able to collaborate and share information with who they need to while staying autonomous throughout the entire history of the project.

Autodesk wants a project team to use their services from the design of the building all the way through occupancy and management of the building.

“We said we need to collect these teams together and make this team space so they can collaborate,” Janzen said at the BIM 360 Docs booth at Autodesk. “But I think we are going even further than that. We’re going into the entire ecosystem that is the project. We need everybody connected.”

Just because someone or a business is not part of the building process… they might want to send information or report a problem. For example, an office space tenant might want to tell the building manager that their room is too cold.

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