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Autodesk brings more sustainable design tools into the cloud

<p>The design software giant introduces a slew of new product suites and services for building and infrastructure designers, product manufacturers and creators of digital entertainment.</p>

Autodesk today introduced its latest software and services aimed at making it easier and faster for designers of buildings, infrastructure, products and digital entertainment to create, prototype and share their concepts with colleagues.

The firm that was founded on idea of democratizing design unveiled its 2013 product lines for its three markets -- architecture, engineering and construction; product manufacturing; and digital entertainment -- during a media summit at its gallery in San Francisco.

As foreshadowed at Autodesk's annual user conference last fall, the new tools leverage the benefits of cloud computing to provide designers with greater flexibility and mobility (they can take their work anywhere and access it from anywhere); increased power and speed in modeling or prototyping designs thanks to infinite computing capabilities; and broader abilities to collaborate with work partners and clients.

Designers for the built environment and products also have the ability to better evaluate their design options and "see" the impacts of their choices by using product suites that incorporate Autodesk 360 -- a family of hybrid cloud-based and on-premise solutions that was introduced last year.

Autodesk 360 for architecture, engineering and construction offers enhanced design visualization, building information modeling and sharing capabilities for designers of buildings, plants and infrastructure.

Autodesk 360 PLM, which stands for product lifecycle management, showcases many of the capabilities of the 360 solutions set and is tailored for manufacturers.

"This is a cloud-based project lifecycle management solution that is designed to provide business applications to facilitate the entire lifecycle of a product or a project from the moment of inception, when the idea is first planted in somebody's head, until the day that product or project is retired," said Stephen Bodnar, Autodesk's vice president of collaboration data and lifecycle management for manufacturing, at the Autodesk University user conference in November.

The concept of determining the impact of design elements and choices of materials -- which lies at the heart of building information modeling and layered on solutions that provide in-depth energy analysis -- is not new. But solutions that enable a swift full-circle look at a product and its impacts starting at the design stage are.

Autodesk 360 PLM illustrates the evolution of the company's tools for product creation: In fall 2010, Autodesk announced its plans to partner with Granta Design Ltd. to develop software that makes it easier for industrial designers, mechanical engineers and others to determine the environmental impacts of materials choices early in the design stage. That sustainable design solution became available last spring. Autodesk 360 PLM. made available last month, extends the view of product impact across the lifespan of the item being designed.

In addition to on-premise and subscription-based cloud services that promote sustainable design in the built environment and manufacturing, Autodesk is offering expanded capabilities in its digital entertainment creation suites for designers working in the filing, game development, TV and advertising industries.

Autodesk plans to detail its 2013 array of products and offer a glimpse at how they are being used at its media summit this week. I'll be attending and will provide more details later.

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