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INTERVIEW Amar Hanspal on Autodesk, new technologies, and a shrinking world

It is an exciting worldSays Amar Hanspal
It is an exciting worldSays Amar Hanspal

Heavyweights like Adobe, Microsoft and Google own the vast majority of products used by billions of people , and their collective product pool is responsible for most of the virtual content created across the world. But for users of more specialised design software, there is another name on this illustrious list, Autodesk. Known for its AutoCAD computer aided design software, Autodesk has a product portfolio of close to 150 products, including 3D design and modelling software like Maya and 3ds Max and building information modelling software Revit. Senior Vice President, Platform Solutions and Emerging Business, Autodesk, Amar Hanspal spoke about the many applications of design software at INK 2013. Excerpts from an interview:

A lot of people associate Autodesk mainly with AutoCAD, but the company has been moving into many other areas…

Yes, people think of us as the AutoCAD company, but 15 years ago, we moved into becoming a model based design company. So when you watch 3D characters on the screen, they’re using Maya, when you look at buildings they are often designed by Revit, industrial machines use products like Inventor. We’ve expanded out portfolio to include not just design, but also things like analysis and simulation.

What effort is Autodesk making to create products more cloud friendly?

We spend millions on research and development. Our cloud based approach has been a combination of new products that we start from scratch for cloud and mobile platforms and existing products that we extend to the cloud.

What is your approach to developing for the cloud?

First of all, we continue to build products that don’t require a cloud connection, so we give customers a choice on how they use the product. For products that are cloud native, like phone applications, yes they require some level of connectivity and good bandwidth. But I think you have to bet on the fact that, like electricity, over time everybody is going to have better bandwidth. Also, when we watch from where people use our online products, India is among the top five in terms of users who access online content, so despite what people may think, the number of users is quite high.

In terms of emerging technologies, what are you excited about?

I think it’s really about hardware. I’m excited that the world of hardware is becoming more intelligent thanks to the blend of hardware and softwareI drive an electric car and the software really governs the whole thing. Some days I step in and find the software has updated itself. So this intelligent hardware now offers a new driving experience. I think 3-D printers have tremendous promise to do amazing things in the future, especially in medicine and health. I think globalisation has broken not just trade but also knowledge barriers and now you have a lot of great products coming out of India. It is frightening but also exciting to think that your competitor is someone you have never met, sitting on the other side of the globe.

SOORAJ RAJMOHAN

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