Autodesk could soon be rolling out new collaboration tools to the AEC sector. The company just announced that it bought Qontext, an enterprise social collaboration software from Pramati Technologies of India.

Once the acquisition is absorbed, look for Autodesk to launch new collaboration tools that will help customers leverage them for competitive advantage. Autodesk says it plans to use the Qontext technology to add new social capabilities to its cloud-computing offerings known as Autodesk 360. After all, it says, mobile, cloud and social computing are "dramatically changing the way engineers, designers and architects work."

For construction companies that are not among the hundreds that subscribe to Yammer, or other enteprise social networks such as Arup Knowledge Management System, as ENR's Tudor Van Hampton reported, expect to hear more as Autodesk promotes this acquisition to its customers.

The acquisition dovetails with a major trend I heard at Architectural Record's Innovation conference, held in New York yesterday. (Here's a roundup from AR on what architect Jeanne Gang talked about in her opening remarks about innovation.)

The speed of innovation in design and construction is accelerating with the advance of Web technologies and social media tools, noted Dennis Shelden, CTO of Gehry Tech, during his remarks at the AR Innovation event.

As collaboration is accelerating, demand for private social media tools for companies is growing too, which helps explain Autodesk's purchase of Qontext.
No details on how much Autodesk paid for the software maker. Qontext is considered a strong player in the growth of  private social networks.