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December 9, 2020

AU 2020 Highlights: Ideas, Announcements, and Conversations

Leona Frank

With 750+ classes and 350+ activities and events, there was a lot to take in during AU 2020. So if you felt a tad overwhelmed, that’s understandable. The conference site will be available for a few more weeks, so you still have time to experience many of the conference offerings. Here are a few highlights—content that’s worth your time no matter what your professional goals are.

Big ideas

General Session

The challenges of this year were a big topic during AU 2020. As Autodesk President and CEO Andrew Anagnost said during the General Session, “since the crisis started, I’ve seen how many of you have adapted, how you’ve reimagined how you harness technology, turning the challenges you face today into tomorrow’s opportunities.” Ultimately, he encouraged all of us to use this new normal to “achieve a new possible.” Watch the General Session if you missed it (scroll down the page to find it).

Innovating to meet the challenges of the year was also the main topic of Technology Trends: Living in the WFH Age. Leaders from top tech firms like Intel, Unity, and Enscape share their perspectives and solutions for working remotely and collaborating through the cloud. You can also find their classes and on-demand videos in the Expo.

We saw more big ideas explored in Theater talks, as innovators from across industries shared their work on the digitization of construction, the possibilities of agile manufacturing, and new ways to create virtually first so we can improve how we make in the real world, among many other topics.

Big announcements


A lot of news came out of AU 2020, from new offerings and initiatives to new acquisitions—stuff that can help you move ahead in your job, your career, and your industry. Here are a few highlights:

  • AI for urban developmentAutodesk announced the acquisition of Spacemaker, which brings the ability to generate, optimize, and iterate urban development design options.
  • Digital twins in architecture—The future availability of Autodesk Tandem was also announced. Tandem brings together data from building design, construction, and operations to create a digital twin for building owners.
  • Construction goes digital—The Autodesk Construction Cloud is now bigger and better, with new offerings for project management, quantification, and design coordination.
  • Certification goes digital, too—Autodesk Certification has always been an important way to show what you know, and now it can all happen online through a new platform. Check out the special certification offerings for AU 2020 attendees.

Dynamic conversations

Redshift panel

AU is all about connection, and though we couldn’t connect in person in 2020, there were incredible conversations that happened. If you registered for the conference, you can still watch live-recorded class Q&As and panel discussions.

In Redshift Presents: How the Pandemic Is Accelerating Cloud Adoption and Business-Model Innovation, Redshift editor Kylee Swenson hosts a conversation with leaders from NVIDIA, Advance2000, Ansys, and Symetri about the new ways of working and the new production workflows and business models that the cloud is helping to create.

Andrew Anagnost’s conversation with Andy McAfee explores many interesting topics, from technology and sustainability to today’s tech firm landscape and McAfee’s new book, More from Less.

And check out these panels about Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI): Blacks and Minorities in AEC: Perspectives of Diversity and Inclusion; and How the Construction Industry and Media Can Work Together to Attract More Diversity.

There was much to see, hear, and learn at AU 2020. And the experience isn’t over. Be sure to check out the conference site while it’s still available.