News Analysis

Autodesk, Bentley Continue to Expand, Agree to Collaborate

Fresh off a series of acquisitions early in 2008 that provide energy modeling capabilities to complement their building information modeling (see EBN Vol. 17, No. 3), both Autodesk and Bentley are at it again. This time, Autodesk bought Ecotect and its related tools from Square One Research, while Bentley has obtained the exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the Tas line of energy and fluid simulation tools developed by Environmental Design Solutions Limited (EDSL). As these acquisitions were being finalized, the two companies also announced a mutual commitment to ensuring interoperability between their tools for the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) community.

With the purchase of Ecotect, Autodesk has obtained the most visually appealing and architect-friendly of the widely used modeling packages. “Ecotect offers a more complete sustainability analysis of buildings” than Autodesk’s previous acquisitions in this area, according to the company’s senior product manager for sustainability, John Kennedy. Ecotect is highly regarded as a teaching tool for the visual feedback it provides on physics, solar angles, daylighting, and acoustics. Autodesk’s acquisition also brings Ecotect’s creator, Andrew Marsh, Ph.D., to the Autodesk team. Both the software itself and Marsh’s skills should help Autodesk move towards its vision of providing instant performance feedback for designers within its design tools. Meanwhile, Autodesk’s challenge, according to Kennedy, is to help designers understand how to use instantaneous feedback, such as the energy, water, and carbon predictions already available from Green Building Studio.

Published July 29, 2008 Permalink