Autodesk announced products to make it easier for its users to access and share large design files on Dropbox. That announcement came at Autodesk University, held in Las Vegas this week.
The Dropbox desktop app works with the Autodesk Forge platform and allows Autodesk users to open and save .dwg design files stored in the cloud. Though stored on Dropbox, the files can be opened from the user’s AutoCAD application. The files are then automatically pulled from Dropbox and open as they would directly from AutoCAD itself. Files are then automatically saved to Dropbox.
Coming soon is a second, integrated product also introduced at Autodesk University. This allows users to preview their designs from Dropbox to scroll through projects to identify, view, and comment on .DWG files directly within Dropbox. Another application allows users to view design files even if they don’t own the Autodesk software itself.
Currently, 1.5 billion Autodesk files are stored in Dropbox and 85 million being added every month, said Amy Bunszel, Autodesk senior vice president for design and creative products.
The partnership allows designers and engineers to store the files in the cloud and to work with them in a more streamlined fashion, she added.
Bunszel also spoke about the Autodesk Virtual Agent, called AVA, which is a continually available machine learning and natural language processing tool, a virtual agent to provide customer service to Autodesk customers.
With AVA, Autodesk has been able to reduce time-to-resolution from an average of one and a half days to minutes. The tool has sped resolution times and handles more than 35,000 customer questions every month, making it the highest volume point of contact for Autodesk customers, she said.
“That opens up our customer service team to provide more pointed help and AVA can make users a lot more efficient,” she said.
“We noticed you’re losing available time as you search for information that should be at your fingertips,” Bunszel said. “AVA is purpose-built to solve problems like finding your software serial number.”
The tool was on display at the conference, helping users find classroom locations or answering questions about when and where particular conference topics were offered.
Other updates included an AutoCAD “simple vision cue,” an orange dot that alerts users to recent updates and offers a brief description of the update.
That way, you can decide if you’d like to investigate it further,” Bunzsel said.
She also demonstrated the improved interoperability between AutoCAD products. Users can bring Fusion 360 models directly into Inventor and changes made to Fusion 360 models are also available in Inventor. Fusion 360 combines CAD, CAM, and CAE tools.
Also, AutoCAD and Inventor models can be played within the company’s factory layout design tools.
And users who work with models from other, nonAutodesk vendors can now edit those models with Inventor.
“If you change the original file, that change is available in Inventor,” Bunzsel said. “Gone are the days of using nonassociative neutral file formats.”
“Data is moving back and forth, obstacle free,” Bunzsel said, adding that Autodesk will continue to facilitate that movement and make it ever easier as its products continue to evolve.