"The reason we stuck our neck out two years ago around social, mobile, and cloud is not for the sake of the platform," Bass told the audience, "but for what it can do for customers. It brings about things we weren't able to do before."
The cloud's infinitely scalable resources are particularly well-suited for simulation, and for collaboration, and Autodesk has cloud-based services that support both, Bass said. Its ForceEffect simulation tool and rendering cloud service, for example, can perform analysis that was previously only able to run on workstation-class platforms. Autodesk's relatively new PLM 360, a built-from-the-ground-up cloud-based PLM application, facilitates collaboration via the sharing of lighter-weight product data with people inside and outside of engineering, while Vault, its Product Data Management repository for storing product IP, remains a traditional behind-the-firewall application.
Along with cloud services as a major headliner of its new 2013 Software portfolio, Autodesk talked up a number of other enhancements. Among them: one-click workflows help customers seamlessly navigate the engineering design process, including cloud-based services for simulations, while the Product Design Launchpad lets users switch between applications, depending on what they are trying to accomplish.
Despite the plethora of new features and performance enhancements, the main attraction was simply the cloud. "We see the cloud as the platform to get design and creation technology in the hands of anyone, anywhere," said Amar Hanspal, Autodesk's senior vice president, Information Modeling and Platform Products group. "It's the next wave of democratization.