Autodesk at Market Street San FranciscoI’m sitting in the San Francisco Airport waiting on a red eye home, and thinking on everything I witnessed this week. It’s my first trip to California, so I got to enjoy San Francisco with a bit of a tourist flair, walking about the financial district, taking pictures, sampling local beers, and a really good coffee stop. It’s quite a pretty district surrounding Market Street and the Autodesk Gallery, and a stay in the Hyatt was perfect. The Architecture was a nice balance of old and new.

The reason for the trip was of course the Autodesk Media Summit 2012 event, highlighting their accomplishments and new products. I’ll be talking about the software technology in the next few articles, however, this article is simply a chance for me to unwind a bit, and remember a wonderful trip:

  • General Session and Design Trends
  • Industry Breakouts
  • Some relaxation time with the teams
  • Tours

    General Session and Design Trends

Carl bass kicked things off by relating the company’s view of how products are evolving and the cloud is changing and driving that evolution. Immediately after Carl, Amar Hanspal, Sr. Vice President, introduced the audience to the new product lineup for 2013.

Chris Bradshaw, Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer offered some perspectives on design trends, and introduced Marc Petit, Sr. Vice-President of Media and Entertainment who carried the keynote forward with storytelling and technology in the M&E space and beyond. This was quite an interesting presentation.

Scott Reese and Simulation at Autodesk Media Summit 2012Scott Reese, Senior Director of Simulation and Material Sciences delivered a nice presentation on Simulation, showing some new things that are coming that quite frankly elevate Autodesk’s position on the possibilities of the cloud. Any reservations held about the limitations of what the cloud are nearing pointlessness. Even I was surprised.

Buzz Kross, Sr. Vice-President of Design, Lifecycle, and Simulation stepped up with a great PLM 360 kickoff. He delivered a view of the PLM industry as a whole and a very powerful realization of how much money is being spent by users around the world and the relationship to Autodesk’s price model.

Brian Matthews, Vice-President of Reality Capture discusses the trends that Autodesk is pioneering in duplicating reality in digital form, and Eric J. Wilhelm, Director of Communities at Autodesk, discusses the Maker revolution Autodesk’s involvement in the consumer space. Eric was the founder of Instructbles, the widely popular user how-to site that Autodesk purchased recently.

Industry Breakouts

There was no ‘big bang’ associate with powerful additions to existing suites. Autodesk has spent a great deal of resources this year in new markets, most visible of which are the cloud services. Huge developments are forming in the cloud, including advancements in the pay-as-you-go cloud computing services like simulation and rendering.

It would appear that as many products are affected by the ever increasing expansion of cloud technologies across most engineering platforms, the suite teaDana Probert and Transportation at Autodesk Media Summit 2012ms operated a consistent focus on better behavior and interoperability between products within their suites.

After the keynotes, we broke out into groups and attended various presentations based on our respective strengths. Here just a few highlights of those presentations. I’ll be delivering a lot more information soon.

Transportation Design Suite – Karen Weiss and Dana Probert described how the team has:

  • furthered the connectivity with 3DS Max
  • added support for rail
  • invested heavily into the Infrastructure Modeler platform
  • Added the 5th dimension to Navisworks simulation – Cost.

Product design at Autodesk Media Summit 2012Product Design Suite – Stephen Hooper and Daniel Graham showed us how their group has:

  • Improved the cohesive flow of data between their software products
  • Added Inventor to the Product Design Suite Standard, a big boost for the Inventor user base
  • Standardized the materials library through all Autodesk products.
  • Added more capability to the AutoCAD Electrical & Inventor routed union

Luke Mihalcik and Simulation at Autodesk Media Summit 2012Simulation – Deb Koehler, Luke Mihelcic, and Mike Smell led a great discussion on how there is now:

  • Substantially better interoperability with Inventor and Fusion materials
  • Performance increases across all of their products. (I’ll leave you with this until the next post: CFD is 34X Faster !!!!)

PLM 360 – Rob Cohee noted there wasn’t much he needed to say about such a widely discussed product. He introduced 3 early adopting clients that discussed their adoption of the product.

Scott Moyse and PLM 360 at Autodesk Media Summit 2012Scott Moyse, our very own data management expert was one of them, and totally swatted it out of the park with a great presentation. (Ignore the obvious bias).

Connecting with the teams

Autodesk events always provide the best ways for me to connect with the team members that I work with every week: journalists, domain experts, and the company product marketing teams. While it is like a big family reunion for many of us, the opportunity to discuss the new directions of technology in one setting is as important as the presentations.

The first night Techsoft invited us all out for drinks and tapas. Rob Cohee, Al Dean, and Deelip Menezes at Autodesk Media Summit 2012There I was able to connect with the likes of Mark Flayler, Melanie Perry, Scott Moyse, Rob Cohee, Luke Mihelcic, Curt Moreno, Shaun Bryant, and Shaan Hurley. Of course no get together would be complete without Al Dean, Martyn Day and Deelip Menezes.

Later some of us got a nice tour of the financial district trying to find a late night pub.

The following day just after the General Session, lunch was catered in the Autodesk Gallery, and gave us more time to check out the renowned displays, and to corner out favorite Autodesk’ers. I learned a valuable lesson from Deelip this year – waste no time getting what you need.

Autodesk Gallery     Deelip Menezes corners Carl Bass at Autodesk Media Summit 2012

Later, Autodesk prepared a wonderful dinner at the Sens restaurant near the Hyatt with great food and some good local brews. The Roast beef and paella was so good. I’d like to thank their team at this time for providing a great place to relax and catch up with key industry people and trends at the company. I especially enjoyed time spent with Greg Eden, Paul Sullivan, Mike Smell, Luke Mihelcic, Dan Francisco, and Stacy Doyle, discussing everything from hilarious antics to simulation and Autodesk plans for the future.

At one point Martyn Day snuck off with Carl Bass for a look at his new toy, the 5 axis milling station, with enough time to spare to get back and brag a little. Opportunities like that should be reserved for those that have a mill and really appreciate them (like me, yes I’m a tad bit jealous). Lucky bastard.

If I had to say that there was anything specific that I came away with, it was a better understanding of the product development, and more work that I want to engage through simulation, PLM, and the cloud.


Hawkes Ocean Technologies Tour at Autodesk Media Summit 2012Autodesk treated us to a set of tours – Construction industry went for a boat tour of the Bay Bridge, which I heard was wonderful. Manufacturing on the other hand visited Hawke’s Ocean Technologies, where we were able to chat with the engineers who developed the subs, and to see how Inventor design and. simulation was used to put it all together. A few of us got to play around in the subs while I was busy getting details about the construction.

Afterward, we all convened on Industrial Light and Magic, the George Lucas’ CG company, and a bloody cool theater. (I think I want my own theater too). Various historical aspects of the Lucas Films was discussed, and two films were viewed. One with sheer Lucas film and animation wonder, and one where Autodesk’s software played key roles in the development. Amazing models and their transformation to reality.,

Afterward a QA session revealed that ILM is using a render farm with 8600 parallel cores. Just give me 1% of that.


It was a great trip to San Francisco. I’ll be forming up some more technical reviews of what we learned there, and of course better understandings of the software as they become available, and as my NDA’s run out. 🙂

Scott Moyse was a big hit with everyone, and I was quite pleased to spend time with him, and that he really worked hard to get every benefit he could for his writing and development of PLM 360.

All photographs were furnished courtesy of Autodesk, Inc.