What is Autodesk University (AU)? Here’s what I learned as a first-time attendee

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Kassidi Sorensen and Querida Xie sit on a metal beam in front of a mural of a large city, wearing white hard hats and construction vests

After three-and-a-half years with Autodesk, I finally got to attend Autodesk University (AU) for the first time! Autodesk University is our annual conference where customers and industry experts come together and learn from one another. This year, the conference took place in beautiful New Orleans, Louisiana, and it was such an amazing experience!

For as long as I’ve been with Autodesk, I was always curious as to why this conference is named “Autodesk University,” but it all makes sense now. The conference puts learning and knowledge sharing at the forefront so we can further our growth and impact with professionals in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC), product design and manufacturing (D&M), and media and entertainment (M&E).

Our customers never cease to amaze me with how they use Autodesk solutions to innovate in their industries – from Amazon Studios using Moxion, one of our Media & Entertainment products, to push boundaries and empower collaboration in an extremely distributed production team for their series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” to local public service departments working closely with Autodesk Research to make improvements to their communities. (For example, Autodesk’s Research team leveraged generative design principles and Fusion 360 to build and print a bridge using a large-scale 3D printer over six weeks at our Technology Center in Boston!)

In the expo hall at Autodesk University, a woman stands on a small pedestrian bridge that was built using a 3D printer.
My colleague Rachel standing on a 3D-printed pedestrian smart bridge

The power of Platform

One of the most exciting announcements at this year’s Autodesk University was the introduction of the Autodesk Platform, which includes three industry clouds that will connect processes to drive new ways of working: Autodesk Forma, for architecture, engineering, and construction; Autodesk Flow, for media and entertainment; and Autodesk Fusion, for product design and manufacturing.

Autodesk Platform Services will provide customers with the ability to customize solutions, create innovative workflows, and integrate other tools and data with our platform. For example, as our CEO Andrew Anagnost said during his keynote, Autodesk Fusion will bring forth all the different workflow owners into one place, “from the top floor to the shop floor!”

(Read the press release: Autodesk Paves Path to Digital Transformation in the Cloud)

Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost stands on the stage at Autodesk University giving a presentation about the Autodesk Platform. Behind him, a large screen shows graphics for the company's three industry clouds: Autodesk Flow, Autodesk Forma, and Autodesk Fusion.

Learning, connecting, and growing

As an employee attending this conference — specifically someone who doesn’t work in the technical space, nor directly with our software — this conference gave me the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of what we do and how we empower people and companies to build, create, and innovate.

The biggest takeaway of all? People love our products and leverage them to push boundaries in their industries!

Attending Autodesk University renewed my appreciation and passion for working at Autodesk. I am fascinated by how powerful our solutions are and how much people rely on them to help make a difference in their industries and communities. Our customers come from very diverse populations; roaming about the conference halls, I heard many different languages and saw people of many cultures coming together to celebrate and learn.

And as much as we were able to connect directly with our customers, we also had the opportunity to come together as “One Autodesk.” AU brought thousands of Autodeskers who have collaborated on countless occasions in the virtual world together into the real world. I got to meet colleagues whom I’ve worked with asynchronously over the past two years – it was amazing to finally see them outside of the Zoom square, shake their hands, and give some of them hugs (with consent, of course!).

A group of nine Autodesk employees sits at a round table in a restaurant with plates of local New Orleans cuisine.
Enjoying a delicious New Orleans dinner with members of my team

Whether you are a customer or an employee, I guarantee you will learn something through attending Autodesk University, whether it’s technical or not! AU is a place where people who have a common interest in shaping the world and shaping the future come together to learn from one another. Through knowledge shares, discussions, and connections, we come away with new ideas, tools, and resources to innovate and create a better, more sustainable world.

Watch: AU 2022 – Full Conference Highlights

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