I have just returned from attending the Autodesk Forge conference in San Francisco and what a great event it was. Held at the historical Fort Mason by the bay, which served as the army barracks many years ago, the event was well organised and attended with over 1,100 developers, start-ups and business owners, looking to get under the hood of the Forge platform.
Autodesk employees and attendees were a great bunch to hang out with, as there were lots of collaborations and discussions taking place over the 2 days. The noise levels were a testament to the amount of conversations that were taking place!
Engaged in the Design, Make and Use paradigm, Autodesk are building communities for developers and start-ups alike and making their core technology available through a set of rich API’s. Not your normal superficial API’s, but really opening up their software for partners like us to build the next generation of applications, that help people and organisations solve problems to Design, Make and Use the next generation of products and software.
The sessions on the main stage were both interesting and thought provoking as technology and business leaders alike demonstrated and walked through the ways in which the Forge platform is supporting key transformational services and software, from drones using the Autodesk API’s from 3DR to Protolabs, who are providing the world’s fastest source for prototyping and low-volume production parts.
In the main hall there were a number of cool and innovative companies sharing the latest and greatest in applications that are utilising the Forge Platform. A couple to note were Dotty, who are creating an experience for boardrooms and the ability to complete a design / market requirements review using smartglasses from ODG . (This is a company Al Dean put me onto as we are also looking at smart glasses for AssemblyX Software, a killer app to support ‘Make’ / Operations that replaces Word, Excel or PowerPoint for the generation of electronic work instructions. More to follow on this topic.)
Sorry I digress…getting back to Dotty, the application extends to call centre support, Oil & Gas and Mining, where complex equipment needs to be maintained and serviced and planning the job in the warmth of the office, reduces safety incidents and allows technicians to walk through the assembly / dis-assembly process before setting foot into a harsh and dangerous environment. Another to note were Jitterbit who are reducing the complexity of integration and providing a smarter approach to connect to key systems such as SAP, Oracle, Autodesk and Microsoft to name a few. The premise being that you will remove all the technical nightmares that traditionally come with integration, reduce cost of ownership and enable customers to become self-sufficient. I.e Not requiring expensive consultants every time you require a small change.
There were detailed, I mean really detailed sessions on the forge API’s and code level examples of how to make a start. This was complemented with the Forge technical team, on hand to support deeper discussions on the Forge platform.
Involved in a start-up myself the finances for using forge API’s also made a lot of sense, especially if your revenues are below $100K, you can use all the API’s for free. This a great way to support the start-up community and shows commitment from the Autodesk Forge Platform to get traction and buy-in from the communities in which the API’s could form part of the next generation of applications and solutions.
Amar Hanspal and Carl Bass provided some excellent and at times brave executive insight into the thinking, but what really stood out was the commitment to make the Forge Platform and communities a success. It was muted that the success of the Forge partners will ultimately drive the success and innovation at Autodesk, a giant leap of faith!
So the Forge Platform is open for business and the communities, developers, start-ups, entrepreneurs, established businesses involved in Design ,Make and Use should definitely take a closer look at how the next set of innovative applications that solve customer problems, can leverage years of great tech from Autodesk, with what feels like a Github like force, with little capital investment required, other than intellectual capital!
Final thoughts on the event for Autodesk to consider – Take the event to Europe, it might rain, but I guarantee there will be plenty of willing participants and opportunities for Autodesk to engage the next set of European Forge platform partners. If today is anything to go by make it July!
Look forward to the next Forge Platform event and showcasing our own progress with the forge API’s, in providing frictionless integration for production engineering and the factory, surfacing data in key factory processes that engage the shop floor, provided by AssemblyX and the Autodesk’s Forge API’s.
Below is a sneak preview of where AssemblyX is using the Autodesk Forge Viewer API model viewer to connect documents from PLM and make them available in an electronic work instruction process for the shop floor. Look out for more exciting developments over the coming months where we will take a look at other API’s including PLM360.
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