On Tuesday last week I arrived at work ten minutes early (in case my boss is reading this), turned on my computer, and went through my usual routine – scan the web for Autodesk news and announcements.
Within seconds I discovered Autodesk had launched a technology preview to rival all technology previews, a giant leap towards a truly mobile environment and a bring-your-own-device culture.
Autodesk customers will now be able to access fully-fledged 3D software in a web browser.
Now I’m not sure if I over reacted or not, but I instantly ran around the office high fiving every member of staff before instigating a Mexican wave in the programming department (not an easy feat I can assure you).
After I picked my chair up off the floor I started to reflect on what that really meant.
So, what did Autodesk announce?
For the First time ever customers can access 3D design, engineering and entertainment work within a web browser, without sacrificing performance, power or functionality. This includes some of Autodesks most popular programmes, such as Inventor, Revit, Maya and 3DS Max. Not their lightest packages I’m sure you’ll agree.
And how did they manage that?
Well, it’s down to a combination of things; four way collaboration between Autodesk, Amazon Web Services (AWS), OTOY and NVIDIA being one of them, but the real secret lies in OTOY’s new ORBX.js technology.
ORBX.js is a high-performance propriety video codec written entirely in JaveScript, which makes it possible to interact with graphics-intensive applications through any web browser, though at the moment it’s only available through Chrome and Firefox. Impressive right?
What does it mean for me?
It means software as a service is almost as real as the nose on your face. It means you can access the most popular Autodesk tools from almost anywhere, anytime, regardless of device and without compromising performance.
Jeff Kowalski, chief technology officer at Autodesk, said,
“Designers and engineers face deadline pressures and efficiency targets that demand work be more mobile than ever, It’s no longer a requirement to run sophisticated 3D design applications such as Inventor, Revit, 3ds Max or Maya on a powerful workstation. Now all you need is a simple browser and an Internet connection. We are excited to be first in the design industry to provide this capability.”
It could also reduce the need for native platform applications; you could run Revit on a mac, eliminating the need for Autodesk to spend years changing code for programmes to run natively on Mac or UNIX for example.
It really is an exciting move from Autodesk and speculatively speaking you can imagine a rental theme approaching in the future. Customers would essentially rent both the hardware and the software. Oh, the joys of the cloud.
I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of this technology preview and will be keeping a keen eye out for any announcements at the Autodesk University in December.
3D design in a browser… Whatever next.