Autodesk opened its annual Autodesk University user conference on Oct. 5, held virtually again this year due to the pandemic, and introduced new design tools and enhancements to its Construction Cloud construction management platform. CEO Andrew Anagnost promised to make more Autodesk product capabilities available in the San Rafael, Calif., technology company's Forge platform in his opening keynote.

"[Forge is] a platform that allows you to access, search and analyze data easily no matter what product it was created in," he said.

That's a bold promise from a company once known for keeping its project data within the design product and file format it was created in, whether that was Revit, AutoCAD or other Autodesk products. Anagnost also said Autodesk's individual products, whether they are design or construction tools, would not go away despite those capabilities being used in a new way in the Forge platform.

The company announced a new microclimate analysis tool in Spacemaker, a planning tool acquired in 2020. Microclimate analysis will enable developers, urban planners and architects to evaluate the thermal comfort of outdoor spaces quickly in the conceptual stage of design, the company said.

Info360 Asset, a new tool in Autodesk's wastewater design and management tool Innovyze has graduated from its beta period that began in July. Water system managers can use Info 360 to deliver and review inspections, assess conditions and model water system risks accurately in the Innovyze environment.

Autodesk said its collaboration with Esri resulted in the companies' two cloud platforms—ArcGIS Online and Autodesk Construction Cloud—to combine building information modeling (BIM) and geographic information system (GIS) information via Esri's new product, ArcGIS GeoBIM, which gives architects, engineers, contractors and other infrastructure project stakeholders a holistic view of asset locations, costs, issues, risks and timelines during planning, construction and operations.

In the Construction Cloud, Autodesk has created a Schedule tool in Autodesk Build to allow project teams to centralize schedule management and work from the most up-to-date activities and milestones to keep their projects on track. Office and field teams can share digital schedules, collaborate on updates as they happen and link documents, sheets, photos, issues, assets, RFIs and submittals to their communications for reference in the new tool within Autodesk Build.

Autodesk also said that Construction Cloud now has 200 partners leveraging partner cards and application program interfaces, including Forge APIs, to deliver integrations for customers who want to simplify data management and have the ability to make more informed project decisions. With the expanded partner ecosystem, customers can integrate data from safety, mixed reality, analytics and reality capture solutions to Construction Cloud and maintain a centralized, dashboard view of their project information to make decisions with more context.