Autodesk agreed Feb. 24 to acquire Innovyze—a provider of smart water infrastructure modeling, simulation, and predictive analysis technology—for $1 billion in cash. It is the largest-ever price for any Autodesk acquisition and one of a group of 14 technology investments by the San Rafael, Calif.-based maker of AutoCAD. For comparison, Autodesk's BIM platform, Revit, was acquired for $133 million in 2002 dollars.

Innovyze is a Portland, Ore.-based provider of water infrastructure modeling and simulation technology. It was established as a company in 1996 as a subsidiary of engineering firm MWH Global, Inc. and has contributions from Stantec, Wallingford Software and EQT Partners, the owner that sold it to Autodesk, in its corporate history. EQT Partners bought Innovyze from Stantec for $270 million in 2017.

Its water design and management products, such as InfoWater and InfoWorks, are used by most of ENR Top 500 engineering firms — such as Veolia North America and Black & Veatch — as well as state, federal and municipal utilities for both design and management of water, wastewater and flood-control systems. Major public agencies using the software include the water departments of the cities of Los Angeles and New York.

At a video press conference, Autodesk executives said they acquired Innovyze to provide end-to-end solutions for design, construction, and operations of water infrastructure and, eventually, provide digital twins that can be used for all of those phases. Autodesk plans to combine Innovyze's portfolio with its existing design and analysis software including Autodesk Civil 3D and BIM360.

"Building a model and moving to operations without a true digital twin is not ideal. Really getting to active management will prevent the problems of aging infrastructure but, also, optimize operations for our customers," said Colby Manwaring, CEO of Innovyze, who will become a senior executive at Autodesk and is bringing his management team with him in the acquisition.

Manwaring included financial performance of water infrastructure assets as well as how they do their jobs of providing water, treating water or reclaiming water to customers in that description of the services Innovyze provides.

"The crisis in Texas is a symptom of a larger problem of infrastructure not being resilient. Digital twins will absolutely help infrastructure modernize," said Amy Bunszel, Autodesk executive vice president of architecture, engineering and construction design.

Manwaring said Innovyze does not have plans to discontinue products or partnerships with GIS technology providers, such as Esri, which counts InfoWater as an ArcGIS partner solution, as a result of the acquisition and all of its products and subscriptions will be maintained after the transaction closes in April.

"What our customers need is what we need to provide," he said.

Autodesk Vice President of AEC Strategy Nicolas Mangon noted Autodesk's partnership with Esri that began in Nov. 2017, and said Autodesk does not envision any changes coming for it or other GIS technology vendors as a result of the Innovyze acquisition. "It’s one of those cases where 1+1+1=5," he said.

Autodesk and Innovyze introduced a new product at the press conference, Info360, an integration of Innovyze's real-time water operations and analytics tools into Autodesk's BIM360 cloud-based design and construction management platform. Info360 is scheduled to launch Feb. 25.

Manwaring said that the combined company will try to use its platform to help engineering and facilities management customers address water insecurity and infrastructure issues, such as the situation in Texas, with long-term solutions.

"Unfortunately, there is a very constant drumbeat when there is a crisis [such as the one in Texas), but it ends and in six months people forget and move on to something else," he said. "The same thing happens with flooding, people forget about it when it's no longer front and center. Water security, safety, all of these things need to be a constant, visible thing. We want to bring visibility and solutions rather than see it be forgotten about it for a couple of years until the next big event."