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5 Key Highlights From Autodesk University 2022

people collaborating around a table at Autodesk University 2022
10,000 attendees went to Autodesk University this year. It was the first in-person conference in three years due to the pandemic.
  • 10,000 attendees went to the Autodesk University conference this year.
  • Keynotes, sessions, and theater talks revolved around the theme of digital transformation.
  • Experts discussed the potential of cloud-based work, why diverse teams make for better products, the future of the metaverse, and more.

After almost three years of the pandemic, Autodesk University (AU) was finally back in person for 2022. This year, the conference took place in the musical city of New Orleans, bringing together 10,000 attendees from the architecture, engineering, construction, design, manufacturing, and media and entertainment industries.

Together, attendees were able to take part in expert keynotes, workshops, and theater talks on the theme of digital transformation, including the potential of cloud-based platforms, the future of the metaverse, and much more.

Missed the big event? Check out these five takeaways from AU 2022 below, and browse hundreds of hours of archived content online with the AU Digital Pass.

1. The Secret to Efficiency Is in the Cloud

Film credits and construction boards are proof of just how many people can collaborate on a single project. When there are so many different stakeholders involved, cloud-based tools provide an excellent way to streamline work in an increasingly fast-paced world.

To use the cloud to its fullest potential, however, it’s not only processes that need to be connected in real time but also data and teams. When this happens, everyone will be able to access a “single source of truth,” meaning less data is lost. This also breaks down silos between different teams and enables more projects to be completed sustainably and in the shortest possible time.

That’s why Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost announced the Autodesk Platform at AU 2022. Featuring Autodesk Forma for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC); Autodesk Fusion for design and manufacturing (D&M); and Autodesk Flow for media and entertainment (M&E), Autodesk Platform cloud offerings will transform every phase of a project. “As companies drive their workflows on the cloud and become more data-driven, they become more efficient, sustainable, and innovative,” Anagnost said. This is Autodesk’s response to an industry trend: 95% of all projects are expected to run on cloud platforms by 2025.

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Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost announced the Autodesk Platform at Autodesk University 2022.

2. Diverse Teams Achieve Better Results

Women are still underrepresented in construction: Of all the people working in construction, women comprise only 10.9%. Yet as experts forecast a 1 million-person shortage in the US construction industry by 2023, the industry offers enormous potential.

Promoting women will counter the shortage of skilled workers in the industry and help achieve company’s diversification goals.

More important, “diverse teams make for better products,” said Pamela Hays, senior director for Workstation Segment at Intel. Innovation, creativity, effectiveness all increase. Reason enough, then, to close the gender gap.

women attendees at Autodesk University 2022
Women comprise just 10.9% of all people working in construction. As the industry grows for the future, this needs to change.

3. Resilience Strengthens Business

Resilience strengthens, and no one knows this better than Meagan Williams, the stormwater manager of New Orleans. The city created her position after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She now manages “200,000 bathtubs full of water throughout the city,” as she revealed to the audience during the day 1 AU General Session keynote.

Williams spoke about the need for complex solutions in the face of skills shortages, supply-chain disruption, and extreme weather events. Resilience, she said, is crucial in a world where unforeseen events are happening with increasing frequency. The recent pandemic showed the whole world how important it is to be resilient in such a situation to emerge stronger.

New Orleans local performers dance onstage at Autodesk University 2022
Autodesk University 2022 took place in the musical city of New Orleans.

4. Automation Creates More Creativity

Many people are afraid that automation will take away their jobs. But the opposite is true: Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) actually create more jobs because it still takes humans to design robots, operate machines, and program software. And best of all, AI can take on repetitive tasks, creating more freedom for creative projects.

The key to taking advantage of this is to ensure employees are prepared for automation as early as possible and take advantage of retraining. Employers have a duty to take their employees through conscious change management so they are well prepared for the shift to AI. Experts even advocate starting right at school by teaching video-game programming in a playful way.

5. The Metaverse Is the Future

The metaverse is a digital space created by the convergence of virtual, augmented, and physical reality. It is device-independent and not owned by a single vendor.

The metaverse needs multiple technologies and trends to work. Among the technological innovations contributing to it are CAD software, augmented reality (AR), head-mounted displays (HMDs), an AR cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and AI. “[The metaverse] will give 3D artists, designers, developers and others the ability to work collaboratively across diverse workflows and applications as they build virtual worlds,” said Rev Lebaredian, vice president of Omniverse and Simulation Technology at NVIDIA.

Access to powerful computer processing, 3D models, sensors, and immersive technologies will enable innovators in the manufacturing industry to create lifelike representations of real-world objects or environments.

Already, there are examples of the beginnings of a metaverse, such as this virtual tour of the Notre-Dame or this Scandinavian tunnel model.

Gartner predicts that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse, working, shopping, educating, perusing social media, or simply looking for entertainment. So the metaverse is no longer a future gimmick, it will soon be reality.

About the Author

Friederike Voigt is the Brand content lead for Autodesk DACH and Nordics; she is responsible for the German Redshift site. She previously worked as a journalist with Callwey, a German leading publishing house specializing in architecture. While studying Media Management and History of Art she was awarded a national scholarship in journalism and worked for various newspapers and magazines including the German Press Agency (dpa) and Cicero Magazine.

Profile Photo of Friederike Voigt