The future of design and build could be an AI-driven cloud-platform dream

Learn about the future of design and build and how data, cloud platforms, and AI will change the way millions of people work to deliver projects that will make a better world.

Autodesk Video

November 20, 2023

  • The architecture, engineering, and construction industry has traditionally been siloed. Stakeholders across disciplines have their own versions of projects, which limits accurate coordination and creates a breeding ground for mistakes.

  • Within the next 10 years, cloud-driven processes, centralized data, and AI will change everything.

  • Industry clouds like Autodesk Forma will enable people to develop more innovative, sustainable, and resilient buildings and infrastructure.

In an industry where there are sometimes thousands of stakeholders on a single project, a lack of seamless collaboration increases the risk of expensive mistakes and untimely delays. But the next five to 10 years holds promise for a totally different reality in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC). First, no more files. Everyone will be able to access the exact data they need to make the best decisions throughout the process.

Meanwhile, AI will automate, analyze, and augment people so they can get more done—faster—and spend more time being creative and innovative.

In this video, watch Autodesk President and CEO, Andrew Anagnost; EVP of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Design Solutions, Amy Bunszel; and SVP of Research, Mike Haley, talk about the future of AEC and the latest transformation that will change the way millions of people work to deliver projects that will make a better world.

View transcript

Andrew Anagnost, President and Chief Executive Officer, Autodesk: AEC—architecture, engineering, construction: It’s a highly fragmented industry with low trust between the various parties. Everyone acknowledges that the ecosystem is broken in some way, and they’re not only looking for governments and individuals to change the way they work—they’re looking for technology to modify how these processes actually flow.

Amy Bunszel, Executive Vice President of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Design Solutions, Autodesk: So one of the challenges in the industry has historically been everyone has their own version of the project. So there can be thousands of stakeholders, hundreds and hundreds of different companies working on a project, and everyone has their own kind of private copy of the data. That makes it really hard to know which is the most accurate and up-to-date set of information on any given project.

We know from certain studies that about 80% of data by 2025 will go unused and there is so much value in that data by centralizing data in the cloud and by making it more granular. Everyone can now have access to that central model. They’ll still maintain ownership of the data that was theirs to start out with, and they’ll be able to contribute to the knowledge in the project as it goes forward.

Mike Haley, Senior Vice President of Research, Autodesk: Construction always involves dozens of bits of data all over the place, everything from a filing cabinet to a spreadsheet to a cloud system. It’s very hard in environments like that to start solving complex problems because your data flow is so caught up in all of these different places. That’s why we believe cloud platforms is the way to begin to solve this.

Bunszel: So people will be able to make better decisions at the beginning of the process. And that’s going to happen for us in transportation and buildings and in water.

Haley: Workflows today often involve tedium in them. I have to save a file format or I have to load up a new software package, or I don’t even know if the person who’s in the field can access the data that I’ve just put up there because they’re on a mobile device. In a truly workflow-driven, cloud-driven kind of future, that just goes away.

Bunszel: What that means is we’ll build better buildings, they’ll be more sustainable, more secure, and more resilient in times of earthquakes or flooding and things like that. So a lot more context and information will flow to the front of the process where better decisions can be made that impact people who are using these assets for, you know, generations.

Anagnost: What you can do in a world where you’ve connected things in the cloud, especially where you have intelligence behind the scenes, looking at the information as it flows, is you can surface decisions very early in a process and identify the areas where just changing a particular decision in one small way can have a huge impact on your effectiveness.

Bunszel: Labor shortages is by far one of the biggest challenges our customers are having and in some cases are not even able to take on work because they don’t have enough people to do the work. So AI will absolutely help us solve some of the labor-shortage problems.

Anagnost: Because if you can take a group of five people and have them do a project that previously took 15 people or 10 people, then guess what? Your organization of 50 people can do more projects.

Haley: I think the thing that’s gonna fundamentally make people shift to cloud-based platforms is actually AI. What you need for somebody to make a big shift in their infrastructure, is a step function in efficiency. Nobody’s going to move if they’re getting a 5% jump in efficiency or a 10% jump. But if somebody gets a 500, or a 1,000% jump in something, you’re gonna make an investment in that. AI is the only one that I see in that ecosystem that holds the promise to create that level of jump.

Bunszel: If I think about the size of the AEC industry, all the things that need to be built, all the things that have been built and need to be improved, the impact that we can help with our software through our customers is just massive. We’re doing it with our investments in our new cloud platforms and our Autodesk Platform Services. We’re helping customers reimagine how they use data. In the future, I envision our customers working in these highly productive, highly creative environments and able to deliver projects that are just making a better world.

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