Over three days during Autodesk University (AU) in November 2023, Autodesk interviewed 65 attendees to determine attitudes about the future of construction technology, including Autodesk Construction Cloud (ACC) products. Following is an overview of the responses to the AU interviews summarized by Autodesk.
Users interviewed recognized the impact Autodesk products have in construction today. They expressed that they are looking forward to advancements in preconstruction, model viewing and assets. As far as priorities, they expressed an interest in having Autodesk make improvements in the functionality of everyday tools a priority before turning to new features that may be less commonly used. Coordination, information management and issue resolution were all expressed as important parts of a company’s tech stack.
ACC has room for growth in the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) sector. Specialty contractors who weighed in on the interviews, particularly electrical contractors, are looking forward to having ACC be more purpose-built for their needs. An increasing number of MEP companies are active Autodesk users across projects they work on, from design to prefabrication to installation and commissioning.
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Overall, attendees were positive about artificial intelligence (AI), anticipating being able to eliminate manual tasks, reduce errors and increase productivity. Users are looking to Autodesk to be a leader in this technology for construction use. They want to be able to trust that AI workflows are at least as effective as manual workflows. A sense of cautious excitement exists about the ability of AI to reduce manual tasks, reduce errors and increase productivity. Of particular interest are the enhanced ability to search through project data and the ability to refine project scheduling. Connection to GIS and mapping technology plus carbon emissions tracking will also be useful abilities.
Other technologies of interest to Autodesk users in the construction industry include virtual reality capture and 3D laser scanning for verification, identifying mistakes or clashes and addressing supply chain issues. While laser scanning has been used in the industry for over 30 years, it is being used in more complex and connected use cases that solve larger business problems.
With an increasing number of new use cases for ACC products, Autodesk users are anticipating a more collaborative future with fewer errors.
ACC is most widely used by companies in the form of Docs and BIM Collaborate. Interest in Autodesk Build continues to grow, as its features are refined. Build users shared that ACC has transformed their ability to collaborate with stakeholders across all workflows.
Feature releases and enhancements, especially those related to model-based progress tracking and the ACC model viewer, have been well received by Autodesk users.
According to the Autodesk interview recap, less than one percent of AU construction attendees represented field staff or field leadership. However, their adoption and usage are often considered in decisions about purchase or renewal. Their part is important when considering the use of ACC on projects. Providing solutions that address the needs of field workers in the context of the challenges they face – remote, outdoors, limited wi-fi, varied tech skillset – will remain a paramount concern.
For field workers, the following features are deal breakers, because without them collaboration breaks down:
- improved connectivity;
- ease of use;
- view-only access;
- few constraints for licensing or training requirements.
If a technology tool lacks these abilities, it negatively impacts decisions and severely curtails hopes a company has for efficiency gains.
Around software tools, owner mandates to general contractors (GCs) have increased, and one of those mandates involves the use of ACC to streamline the construction process and keep data connected. GCs continue to influence the use of technology by subcontractors. Many specialty contractors expressed that they use the software required by the GC. Mandates in the construction industry are arising as owners see the value of design data in ongoing operations and maintenance workflows.
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