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Autodesk UK acquisitions to boost global aspirations

US software giant Autodesk has bolstered its offering to civil and structural engineers worldwide with the acquisition of more UK specialists.

Autodesk announced that it had taken over Azalient’s traffic analysis technology and completed its acquisition of Graitec’s Advance Steel and Advance Concrete products at its annual conference in Las Vegas last month.

The acquisitions mean that Autodesk will be able to expand its offering in transport planning and structural engineering.

“We are expanding the reach of building information modelling (BIM) on multiple fronts - into conceptual design on one end of the spectrum and into construction on the other,” said Autodesk senior vice president of information modelling and platform products Amar Hanspal.

“Our advancements are empowering professionals to move from designing objects and simply representing their ideas in 2D and 3D to designing in context while optimising and better predicting the performance of their designs.

“Autodesk is helping to drive higher levels of productivity into the building design, infrastructure and construction industries both in the office as well as in the field with our expanding desktop, cloud and mobile portfolio.”

The acquired traffic analysis software from Azalient simulates passenger travel by car, bus or train both in isolation and in relation to each another to help engineers predict demand for new infrastructure projects, and predict traffic disruptions caused during construction. It also enables cost and benefit analysis of alternative infrastructure designs.

Interoperability

A leading US contractor has called on software vendors to do more to make their systems interoperable.

US contractor JE Dunn chief information officer John Jacobs said more needed to be done to create a seamless user experience between software systems.

“All the vendors talk about interoperability publicly. But they mean within their stack.

“Being realistic, for an enterprise my size we use many [different vendors’ products],” he said. He said the only way his firm could currently ensure a “seamless” user experience between key systems such as Microsoft Sharepoint and Autodesk’s BIM 360 was for it to build the back-end interoperability itself.

“My IT guys had to build the bridge between user authentication [for different systems]… so it’s a seamless experience for the user,” he said.

“That level of interoperability is what I’m begging all vendors to focus on.

“They’re putting all their money into having functionality in their stack but it’s not realistic for us to buy their entire stack.”

However, he said that Autodesk’s Consulting arm, which enabled bespoke adjustments with engineers from the firm coming in-house, had helped his firm ensure interoperability of its systems.

Graitec’s software allows the design, detailing and automated fabrication of steel and reinforced concrete components.

The acquisitions are part of Autodesk’s strategy to increase its penetration of the infrastructure and construction markets and increase its competitiveness with software provider Bentley, which is focused soley on the built environment.

Autodesk recently launched Autodesk Structural Bridge Design on the back of its acquisition in August of technology from another UK-based software firm Bestech Systems.

In recent months it has also launched Autodesk InfraWorks 360 Pro, Autodesk Roadway Design and Autodesk Vehicle Tracking, which was triggered by yet another UK acquisition of assets from Savoy Computing.

Autodesk chief executive Carl Bass said that the market had room for his firm to broaden into.

“There are very few companies in all the markets that we serve that buy their software from one company,” he said.

“The flip side of that is that there are very few companies that don’t use Autodesk software for something.”

His firm’s focus on cloud-based technology gives it a lead in construction and engineering, he added.”Very few of our traditional competitors are following us,” said Bass.

“[In future] most engineering will be done in the cloud social mobile environment.”

Autodesk’s cloud-based offering BIM 360 has seen a 65% year on year increase in users, with around 50 new users a day accessing the software.

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