Latest Autodesk products target the Cloud

Starting with its 2013 offerings, Autodesk's products for manufacturing and design will be increasingly Cloud-based from here on in.

This, of course, is hardly surprising. The apparently infinite resources of the Cloud have made the shift towards it an inevitability - certainly as far as processing power-hungry applications such as 3D CAD rendering are concerned. As Pete Baxter, Autodesk's VP Sales EMEA put it: "The Cloud enables acceleration of analysis and allows users to access an infinite amount of computing power and to run many cycles of design." Just how significant the move towards the Cloud has been can be seen from the fact that there are already four million Cloud-based users of AutoCAD WS alone while Autodesk 360 has already seen more than 200,000 renders via the Cloud and half a million computing hours. Says Baxter: "The Cloud is best at crunching masses of data and is accessible to everyone from single inventors to huge companies. This allows for many more variations of the same design to be explored and greater design optimisation." For all this, however, the move towards the Cloud remains just that for the moment. Professional titles like AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, and Autodesk 3ds Max will still be available as desktop-installable software packages, but will also include options to exploit Cloud-driven features such as processing a rendering job or solving a simulation scenario using remote servers. Subscription customers will get instant access to these Cloud-hosted features. Autodesk's 2013 design suites integrate with Autodesk 360 (the branding for the company's cloud offerings) to better enable collaboration. Cloud-based assets promote design sharing and reuse and the suites also offer interoperability with the new 2013 version of Autodesk Vault product data management software and the company's next generation, cloud-based alternative Autodesk PLM 360. Autodesk Vault software enables workgroups to organise, manage and track their engineering CAD data, manufacturing bills-of-material and change processes from a centralised location. However, it is in its PLM offering Autodesk PLM 360 that the company will see the single biggest move to the Cloud in 2013 Autodesk's biggest move to the Cloud in 2013 will be its PLM offering, dubbed Autodesk PLM 360. Available in Standard, Premium and Ultimate versions Autodesk Product Design Suite 2013 now includes one-click workflows created to help customers seamlessly move through the engineering design process, advanced cloud-based services for simulation and the inclusion of additional software allowing customers to realize their end-to-end design process. Autodesk Product Design Suite 2013 updates includeAutodesk Inventor software in the Standard edition, establishing 3D parametric design as the foundation to the engineering design process and providing a solution that delivers powerful 3D design and drafting capabilities. AutoCAD Electrical software and Autodesk Inventor Routed Systems are also available in the Premium and Ultimate editions, delivering a complete integrated electromechanical system capable of producing an entire product definition, including fully defined tubing, piping and hydraulic systems. Also available is Autodesk Navisworks Simulate in Premium and Ultimate editions, providing integrated electromechanical, markup and visualisation workflows capability. However, as one would expect with Autodesk, AutoCAD is ever-present. As Pete Baxter puts it: "AutoCAD is front and centre in every single design suite". This, though, has also been optimised for use in the Cloud and in mobile applications through AutoCAD WS.