360 – The Circle of Life, Autodesk style

If you live in an Autodesk world you may have been hearing a lot about ‘360’ lately. What exactly is 360 all about? The brief answer is that Autodesk 360 is the umbrella under which Autodesk offers and provides a variety of cloud services.

The matrix below shows you all the cloud offerings from Autodesk that are currently available. More are more are being added on a regular basis. Some are stand-alone pay services but many are, for the time being, there for the taking; as value adds you get with your subscription to Autodesk products or offered as free services to all.

Be sure to check out  the ‘Resources’ link at the bottom of the page

Some of you may have already used some of these services in the past under different names. The functionality they provide ranges from rendering to analysis and simulation tools to collaboration and storage solutions. I’m sure many of you tested out the on-line rendering services when they were first announced. Products such as Revit LT limit rendering capabilities to cloud only and, as such, extend the functionality of your software.

Take the time to look at these offerings. Many provide considerable value and their availability could affect everything from how you approach the design process to how you collaborate or even hardware purchasing decisions.
Although we have no inside information regarding Autodesk’s long term plans, industry trends indicate that software licensing may be changing in the near future. We have seen vendors move from a purchase/upgrade model to a purchase/subscription model and, more recently to a pure subscription model. Adobe Systems has recently moved to this subscription only model for it’s major software products. You no longer purchase software outright you simply sign up and ‘subscribe’ to your software for a monthly fee. Autodesk is currently providing a ‘rental‘ option for a limited number of products. Many vendors, including Autodesk, now offer hosted solutions where you simply log onto web services through a browser, on any device, no configuration required, and run your applications. Autodesk also has a variety of mobile apps that we will explore in a future post.
As software solutions and the processes they support get more robust and demanding and the nature of partnering relationships continue to ignore borders and distance, cloud based solutions and the promise of ‘Infinite Computing‘ become more and more attractive. The need to provide dedicated IT infrastructure and support resources can be reduced or eliminated and we can simply ‘sign up’ for the tools and services we need. We always have the most current and appropriate hardware and networking solutions available and we have the ability to scale up and scale down based on current workloads and project requirements.
If you use Autodesk products you are currently paying an annual subscription fee per licensed seat. How amenable would you be to paying that same cost, or slightly more, but not have to worry about how you keep all users connected and seamlessly sharing models and data; how you produce large numbers of renderings for deadlines; how you scale up and scale down as projects come and go; how you access specialized solutions for specific projects? 
Set aside some time to explore some of these cloud solutions. Not only could they provide value and benefit right now but they may provide an introduction to what your future might look like.

Dimitri Harvalias


Dimitri is a Senior Technical Consultant and Revit Guru at Summit Technologies. He draws on over 35 years of practical experience in the AEC domain. His education as a building technologist and hands-on experience in all facets of design, construction contract administration and CAD management gives him a unique perspective on the integration of BIM technology solutions to the design and project delivery process.

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