LAS VEGAS — From BIM to virtual reality, the construction industry was out front at Autodesk University 2017.

With the slogan “The future of building things,” Autodesk promoted its many software products for architectural, engineering and construction industries during its Nov. 14-16, 2017, conference at the Venetian resort on the Las Vegas Strip.


Autodesk estimates 10,000 came to its Nov. 14-16, 2017, user conference in Las Vegas.

It held an AEC-themed keynote Nov. 16, 2017, from vice presidents Nicolas Mangon and Jim Lynch, and Sarah Hodges, an Autodesk director. They used address to promote the latest enhancements to BIM 360, the cloud-based program designed to connect all phases of construction projects, including HVAC and duct fabrication.

“Autodesk continues to build a common data platform across A, E and C,” Mangon said during his speech. “Beginning with construction and extending upstream to design collaboration and downstream into operations and maintenance. That platform is BIM 360.”


Esri founder and President Jack Dangermond (left) and Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost say the companies are working together to incorporate building information modeling and geographic information software mapping data.

Autodesk announced “Connect and Construct Exchange,” an effort to bring outside software applications into the program. An estimated 50 software companies are taking part, Autodesk said.

“Construction projects are growing more complex, but Autodesk meets that challenge head-on with BIM 360, making construction work safer, simpler and connected,” said Autodesk President and CEO Andrew Anagnost. “With the confusion of an ever-increasing number of construction apps across the industry, the option to manage all project data in a single cloud platform results in more predictable building project outcomes.”

Before releasing the latest update, Autodesk said it collaborated with 500 construction workers to determine what they needed.

Autodesk also announced a partnership with geographic information software maker Esri Inc. that will allow the building of a “bridge” between GIS and building information modeling programs. That bridge will improve design and decrease delays, officials from the companies said. Plans call for integrating technologies so professionals can easily use information from both BIM and GIS.

“Partnering with Esri is intended to combine the power of BIM and GIS mapping which will enable our shared customers to build anything, anywhere,” Anagnost said. “Our goals are to provide industry and city planners the ability to design in the context of the real world. This will allow communities to build more connected, resilient cities, and infrastructure with a focused eye on sustainability.”

Jack Dangermond, Esri’s president, said the move was made with the future in mind.

“It is important to consider the needs of future generations during the design and building of projects today,” he said. “The benefits of partnering with Autodesk will include securing sustainable resources for the growing population, a responsible human footprint on our natural environment, better use of our planet’s resources and more resilient cities.”

Officials with construction consulting firm AEcom, which specializes in design-build work including HVAC, said they were excited by the two companies plan to work together.

“I’m thrilled to learn of the Autodesk and Esri strategic partnership,” said John Kizior, AEcom’s global director of project technologies. “At AEcom, we value innovative spirit, and I’m optimistic that this new strategic partnership will produce dynamic software synergies. The combined technology sets has the potential to provide new ways of connecting information across the project life- cycle to the benefit of our clients.” 

 An estimated 10,000 people attended Autodesk University in person with another 13,000 around the world watching online, the company said, making it the largest Autodesk user conference ever.