Designers and engineers increasingly collaborate in extended teams on complex projects involving different disciplines - so they need to access current project data anytime, anywhere, on any device. A key aspect is the need to keep track of all changes and activities around the project, in one place. One of important requirements is also the availability of CAD data for non-technical users, or transfer of performance-intensive tasks to the cloud. All these benefits are offered in the cloud service Autodesk 360. What is the nearest future of Autodesk 360? This web application becomes a broad platform integrating various web services by Autodesk, enabling feature-rich online collaboration, creation and management of CAD data.
Within teams, you will probably encounter different types of CAD applications. Therefore, it is important to support multiple types of the most common CAD formats. The existing version of Autodesk 360 supports the formats DWG, DXF, Inventor, Fusion, ATF, Navisworks, Revit, SIM360, but soon also other "foreign" CAD formats will be added, such as CATIA, Pro/E or Solidworks (already fully supported in Autodesk Fusion 360). You can then view this data interactively in your web browser, display the structure of the model, its exploded views, etc.
Especially for large projects, the search function is very important - Autodesk 360 supports "deep search", detailed search through projects or contexts, including the ability to search the contents of supported CAD files (components, texts). The forthcoming semantic search function then creates searchable links and relations between project data - what project is it? who designed it? who commented on it? what is it linked to and where is it used? who and when made any changes?:
The project management functionality allows you to create and organize tasks and milestones for workflows in the current project and team. You can also follow progress of the project, including notifications of critical situations.
Autodesk 360 will support (like other Autodesk web services) federated data - your CAD data can be physically stored in another cloud according your preferences - technical, enterprise or legal - e.g. in Dropbox, Box, Google, Sharepoint etc.
You are not limited to your desktop, you can also use any mobile device in the field or on the site to access project data from Autodesk 360, display supported types of CAD data, team members can comment on the designs, search project data, use project schedules, tasks and milestones. You can e.g. shoot photos with your mobile phone, place them directly into a project and use the ReCap 360 module to generate 3D models.
The nearest future
The new Autodesk 360 is already available in a form of a technological preview for invited users (since May 22nd for anyone on www.autodesk360.com, log-in on the bottom), and it is also integrated in the current version of the 3D editor Autodesk Fusion 360. The existing (old) features of Autodesk 360 (internally called "Nitrous") will continue to be available for free. The new, enhanced Autodesk 360 will be available as a commercial service (starting end of June/beginning of July).
The existing Autodesk 360 cloud service supports individual files - can share them, view them. In contrast, the new, upcoming version offers online collaboration not only for documents, but for entire projects. It identifies relevant associated documents (xrefs, assembly components), offers the aforementioned team functions, time-scheduling functions, team user management, supports various types of CAD data formats, integrates other Autodesk's cloud services (render 360, Fusion 360, Sim 360, CAM 360, ReCap 360, PLM 360, Infraworks 360), plus there is a mobile version.
Roadmap of new releases of Autodesk 360:
- May 2014 - integration of Rendering and Showcase 360
- June 2014 - launch of the commercial version
- July 2014 - integration of ReCap 360 and the cloud-based Revit Server
- August 2014 - integration of PLM 360
- December 2014 - new version for AU2014
The above mentioned planned new features include a unified universal viewer for large 3D CAD data (LMV - large model viewer); the "deep search" function - search through projects and through the contents of CAD data; project management (milestones, tasks); integration with Design Feed available in desktop applications; cloud API. So in the coming weeks and months we can look forward to exciting new tools that open interesting possibilities for easy collaboration on CAD projects.