It’s been a rough couple of years for many businesses. Take a peek at the list of legacy companies and cultural mainstays that once were textbook examples of corporate leadership who are now a part of business nostalgia. And sadly, the list continues to grow as the current economic climate thins the herd. Even some that have weathered the bleakest times this country has seen, have turned off the lights and left the building for good. Each failure has its own story. Each its own set of circumstances leading to their unfortunate demise. But a common thread can be found among many of these casualties and that is the failure to adapt to change. Go ahead and run through the excuses, the reasons, and the surprised conclusions but somewhere in the dialogue you’ll hear it: Things changed and we didn’t.
The Trail Ahead
But there are those who do survive and make it out with the smell of smoke in their hair. And then there are those who thrive and flourish in the fire. Like gold and silver, they get better in the crucible. Which of these categories would Autodesk belong to? It might be a little early to tell, and the only bit of insight I might have into the company comes from one of my brothers currently employed there – but he’s pretty mum about that kind of stuff and frankly, I don’t really ask. If he finds himself unemployed one day, then it might be a good indication of some bumps in the road ahead. My perspective comes from a pretty clear trail that can be followed publicly about the decisions and manuevers Autodesk makes in order to maintain the strong positions they hold among the various sectors they occupy. That position is usually out front. Sometimes, waaaay out front.
Construction and Engineering
AutoCAD has been the industry standard in architecture and engineering for as long as I know. I first became intimate with version 9 in the late 1980s. Recently, they were keen to realize the value of a new technology dubbed BIM (Building Information Modeling) early on and picked up Revit to change the game. Seriously, BIM is not CAD. Not even close. And rather than toss AutoCAD out the door, they were able to continue expanding that customer base by finally offering it to MAC BootCampers as a native Apple program. Good timing, too since anything that had an ‘i’ in front of its name immediately sold out in those days. Autodesk continues to adapt to cloud computing trends by offering cloud subscriptions with the latest release of Revit 2014.
Entertainment And Gaming
In the multi-billion dollar entertainment and gaming industry, CGI effects and animation have become a basis of production, rather than a highlight. Autodesk has managed to be a key player with studios running Maya, 3dsMax, Mudbox and a whole family of software from its Entertainment Creation Suite. Many studios now use the software to previz large chunks of the movie prior to shooting, effectively reducing the number of hours and material needed to shoot. The savings in cost is significant. Hollywood is fighting its own war to stay alive, so anything that reduces overhead will certainly be welcomed.
The New Frontier: Personal Design And Creativity
Recently, I’ve noticed Autodesk quietly growing roots in yet another sector. This was the reason I decided to write this post. Adobe has long-held court in the photo, graphics & web design domain with their Creative Suite offerings and more. But with DIYers, 3D printing, heck – 3D anything – all the rage, Autodesk has sensed an opportunity to leverage their 3D design and production prowess to begin offering some experimental tools that encourage this innovation. They call it the Personal Design and Creativity suite of – apps. As in mobile apps. Did you get that? See, that’s what I mean about adapting.
Mining A Gem Called Pixlr
I’ve had both SketchBook and AutoCAD 360 on my Kindle for a while. But one of the apps I’ve been toying with is Pixlr which I have installed as an extension on my Firefox browser. I can’t begin to explain how much this tool has streamlined the flow in my blogging process. This is also true for when I’m offering support for a client and need to quickly send some visuals to aid in my explanation. The sharing aspect of the app is also very intuitive and a viable challenge to instagram with imm.io upload site.
Pixlr isn’t the only gem in the box. There’s quite a few, depending on your field of expertise or interest. All are available in the AppStore but many are in both AppStore and Google Play. Some of these apps are not strictly mobile but are web or desktop compatible as well. It is very clear, however, where Autodesk is aiming. The future.