Shelby Thorner / Courtesy Autodesk Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost led Autodesk University 2018's main stage keynote.

Shelby Thorner / Courtesy Autodesk Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost led Autodesk University 2018’s main stage keynote.

From Nov. 13–15, approximately 11,000 architects, designers, builders, and CAD users attended Autodesk University, one of the largest technology conventions in the AEC industry. The annual event, held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, attracts attendees worldwide interested in industry trends and software developments.

The pace of convention was frantic—attendees literally raced up and down escalators to reach the different rooms hosting dozens of workshops and lectures simultaneously. The numerous topics covered catered to the wide range of attendee interests; I, for one, attended everything I could on robotics and virtual reality (VR). As in recent years, a main theme of this year’s event was the future of work.

When “Better” Equals Automation
One of the most anticipated events at AU is always the main stage keynote, during which Autodesk presents its newest products and aspirations. CEO Andrew Anagnost, with guest appearances that included Erin Brader from Autodesk’s Robotics Lab, and author and former GE vice chair Beth Comstock, projected his vision across seven screens complete with surround sound: The AEC community will benefit from automation. In the future, he charged optimistically, we will be able to make more things—and better, with less negative impact on the environment. He emphasized “the opportunity of better.”