Thursday, March 15, 2007

Autodesk Eliminates Product Confusion...

...While maintaining angst for some small firms and private practitioners.

Autodesk has announced that almost all of their products in the Building Solutions Division will share the same nomenclature - matching the commencement of thier fiscal year. This news is most exciting for Revit adopters ("Reviteers" as the case may be), in that the three discipline verticals - Building, Structure and Systems - will become Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP. All scheduled to be released in April 2007 will bear the fiscal year stamp of "2008;" thus avoiding the requisite version comparison tables to remind ourselves that RB 9.1 was compatible with RS 3 and RSys 1 - but only the last compatability build...

While the name change is comforting to the BIM Managers and Digital Design Specialists of the world, some private practitioners are still upset over the fact they must purchase 3 separate packages or verticals if they wish to perform Architecture and Engineering services. The cost of such a complete package is over $10,000 USD. I can only imagine that Autodesk would bundle the 3 verticals into something like "Revit Enterprise" and sell it for $12,000, but that would be missing the point. Much of the questioning throughout the user forums stems from various features or tools available in one vertical, but not the others. For example, if an Architect would like to model some ductwork - even if he or she is not the Mechanical Engineer of record - they must use Revit MEP. I'm not sure what the answer is to this (probably why I'm an Architect, not a software developer!), so I'd appreciate your commentary.

Finally, now that Autodesk is aligning their major BSD products for an annual spring release, how will this affect developers creating plug-ins or add-ons to Autodesk products? Autocad has a famously robust and well documented API, but the more complex connection to the Revit product line will most likely cause a surge of demand for companies such as Navisworks, Innovaya, Trelligence and US Cost to refine the code for their plug-ins and either release an update or a new version when the Autodesk 2008 product line hits the desktop.