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“The report of my death has been grossly exaggerated.”  – Mark Twain

Even though the quote was made over 120 years ago it is still relevant today because it speaks to how rumors spin out of control. Sometimes rumors are based on misunderstood information and sometimes they are based on a lack of information. Personally the ones I find the most aggravating are the ones that are pure fabrication. What rumors do quite effectively is generate FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt).

In the face of FUD, words are a poor cure because sometimes people don’t want to believe information that does not support their frame of reference. So usually the only way to ease their fears is to show them not tell them. So I thought I would share with you what the Systems Engineering team at Autodesk has been up to over the past year or so. For those of you who are not familiar with the Systems Engineering team, it is the product group responsible for Autodesk’s plant and building MEP related customers. These are two disciplines that are not usually grouped together in software companies or in the AEC market in general. However, it makes a lot of sense to group them together because there are a lot of commonalities between the two constituencies. More about that in a little bit.

So back to “seeing is believing”. Let me show you just a few of the things we have been up to over the past year.


Spec Driven P&ID

Even though we have had Spec Driven Plant design for many years, our P&ID tool did not have that capability. We had planned to release it with Plant 2017 but the quality was simply not there. So we decided to pull it out till we got the quality where we wanted it. We completed it in time for the 2017.1 release and did not want to hold it back till the next major release. I think you will find it very intuitive to use if you are already familiar with spec driven design in Plant 3D.



Vault and Worksharing

We have made major improvements to our Vault and Wide Area Network workflows for team collaboration/worksharing. When we started 2016 the feature set in Plant 3D/P&ID did not work very well when the project got very large, the team got very large or the team was distributed across multiple offices or geos. Working very closely with a handful of customers we found and fixed a large number of obstacles to those workflows and also figured out a repeatable set of best practices. So if you have tried Vault or worksharing across multiple offices and struggled to get it to work. I recommend you give it another try with our much improved 2017.1 update.

Some useful Vault resources:


Plant 3D Cloud Collaboration

One of the places that Plant 3D has had room for improvement is around collaboration across multiple offices. The Vault/WAN workflow does a much better job since the fixes that we have made. The place where it still falls short is when you need people outside of your WAN to work or access the project data. They need to be granted access to your network which can cause a security issue. Additionally, even though the setup for collaboration using the existing Vault solution is probably the easiest of any in the Plant market, it still requires some effort.

We have been working on a much more flexible solution that leverages the Autodesk Cloud (BIM 360 Team) and requires no installation and virtually no configuration. We call it Project Calgary Collaboration and it has been undergoing customer testing for 9 months. We have opened it up to public testing and I invite all of you to give it a try and provide us with your feedback – You can access it from here. There is also a blog post here that will provide a bit more information.

We are also working on leveraging tools between plant and building markets. For example enabling Revit customers to use the Plant 3D Isometric drawing generation and finding ways to support the large number of our Water/Waste Water customers who are using Revit for their projects. More on that soon.

For something that is supposed to be dead it sure seems to be still kicking.


We’re Listening

As always, if you have any suggestions for us please use the IdeaStation for them so your peers can vote and comment on them.  If you have any questions please use the Forums to find the answers quickly. 


Emile Kfouri

Director: Systems Engineering Product Group

Autodesk, Inc.

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    1. AvatarCarsten Beinecke

      Hi Emile,
      It isn’t just about the features.
      At AU 2016 in Las Vegas there wasn’t a Plant Booth by Autodesk. Also not a lot of Autodesk Plant people at AU. AU in Germany had just one Plant class, held by Bernd. At the upcoming OTx in Berlin, there won’t be any classes either. I don’t know about the current OTC in Las Vegas.
      So from the outside it looks like Autodesk isn’t very commited to its product.
      Again, I don’t talk about features or upcoming technologies.
      Please don’t shoot me. I am just the messenger 😉
      If you need some more details, you know how to reach me.

    2. Avatardamian willcox

      Hi Carsten,
      You are right.
      Although we had a number of people at AU, we need to do better at having the external appearance & marketing better reflect the dedication and commitment the team has internally.
      Thanks for the honest feedback, it’s very much appreciated.
      (no shooting) 🙂

    3. AvatarSteen Wacher

      You are right Carsten. Autodesk Plant team is quite invisible and the fact that Plant is not even represented in Berlin OTx worries me a bit. Where are we going – where is the strategy – hat to tell our customer – Where to get trained. your support is great, the product is great – but as sales executive and Plant Business Manager at NTI I am quite alone.

    4. Avatardamian willcox

      Hi Steen, thanks a lot for the additional feedback.
      We appreciate your honesty and your support, it means a lot.
      Yes, we definitely do need to improve on the external appearance and marketing fronts, and are looking into this.
      thank you again for the response – the team is listening,