Autodesk is involved in everything in the world that gets designed and made, whether that’s buildings, rockets, electric vehicles, or media and entertainment. It wants to unite those industries on a single Design and Make Platform.
“There’s no other company that does that,” said Haresh Khoobchandani, Autodesk Vice President APJ. “A common thread across all those industries is the intersection of digital and physical worlds, and how these worlds come together.”
Sharing knowledge across industries
But what can manufacturers learn from, for example, the media and entertainment industry? Khoobchandani and Andy Cunningham, ANZ Senior Regional Director at Autodesk, are interested in the cross-pollination of ideas.
“Our Media and Entertainment products have given us visualisation capabilities that can be applied to manufacturing and construction,” said Cunningham. “Not everyone can read a plan, but they can understand a lifelike rendering of a digital model.”
On the other hand, the production of any film or TV show involves the management of thousands of individual assets. The lessons learned on a movie set also apply to the built environment.
Cunningham said insights can be taken from manufacturing and applied to construction, and vice versa.
“Buildings account for around 30 per cent of the waste on our planet; what can we learn from manufacturing pre-made structures?” he asked.
“And what can manufacturing learn from construction about producing one-offs? Customisation is a manufacturer’s nightmare without the application of technology.”
“If we can connect the data across the value chain, and bring collaborators together using the cloud, we will be able to unlock insights,” added Khoobchandani.
“We can improve operational efficiency in ways no one else can.”
Using Autodesk for large-scale coral restoration
Coral Maker and Autodesk have partnered to bring the best insights from manufacturing, robotics, and artificial intelligence to rapidly design, prototype, and test technologies for scaling coral reef restoration.
Using the Design and Make platform, Coral Maker produces premade stone skeletons from reclaimed construction waste. These armatures accelerate the process of coral calcification, allowing the corals to reach adult size much faster than in the wild. The coral can then be reintroduced to reefs.
Preparing for a volatile world
Alongside the obvious challenges facing businesses today — increasing costs and the growing skills gap among them — there are also the unknown challenges looming in the future, said Khoobchandani.
“We don’t know what we don’t know,” he said.
“But the latest wave of AI, and the democratisation of access with natural language inputs, [means] we all have to understand that these developments can take us by surprise.”
The list of concerns for design and make industries grows every day, from macroeconomic changes to growing uncertainty around data privacy.
“What we need to do is prepare ourselves for a world of volatility,” said Khoobchandani.
The agility to be able to react and remain resilient in the face of new challenges is vital, he says.
And what that agility means will be different for each business.
“In this new world, digitisation and digital transformation are key. For all the design and make industries, the physical and digital worlds will need to coexist,” he said.
Cunningham drew an analogy between digital transformation and the early days of cinema.
“After the invention of the motion picture camera, they would film stage plays,” he said.
“The experience for the audience ended up being fairly similar to seeing the play in person.”
But then innovators took the technology and did something different.
“They took the cameras outside, and that changed everything,” he said.
“It’s the same with technology — you can bring in a digital tool and use it to do the same thing you’ve always done, or you can take those tools and change the fundamental ways you do business.”
The ‘design and make’ platform
Autodesk wants to unite design and make industries on its Autodesk Platform. Comprising the industry clouds Forma, Fusion and Flow, Autodesk Platform includes software solutions for engineers, builders, manufacturers and media professionals.
“Uniting these three industry clouds on Autodesk Platform is a massive transformation for us,” said Khoobchandani.
“It allows our customers to take control of their data so they can work their magic — they can innovate, make better decisions, and become more efficient.”
One example cited by Khoobchandani saw Autodesk’s customers uniting 2000 people who collaborated on a common data model.
“That’s the opportunity we have ahead of us. We’re creating platforms where people can exchange ideas and unlock insights to achieve better outcomes,” he said.
“Ultimately, Autodesk Platform is helping creators design and make a better world.”
For more on Autodesk’s Design and Make platform, click here.
Learn more about how best practice can be shared between industries by downloading the Autodesk State of Design and Make 2023 report.