Autodesk Invests in IoT Firm SeeControl

Autodesk gains IoT strength with a new acquisition, but what products might see strong IoT integration?

Autodesk is making a play to beef up its Internet of Things (IoT) announcing that it will acquire SeeControl, a San Francisco-based, enterprise-level IoT cloud service platform.

In the past few years, IoT has become one of the most talked about topics in product development circles. With the advent of the cloud (and the computing potential that comes with it), designers now have the ability to capture and process data generated by their products in an unprecedented way.

But what’s that actually mean?

Well, for starters it means that the way products behave in the wild and the way their owners use them can be used to inform engineers about how and why redesigns and improvements can be made to a product line.

Apparently, Autodesk is joining the growing number of software developers who believe IoT is going to change product development.

“A new future of making things is emerging, where any built object, product or environment can be embedded with sensors that can feed information back into the design process,” said Amar Hanspal, senior vice president of Informational Modeling at Autodesk.

As of now, Autodesk is keeping things a bit of a mystery by making direct statements on which of their products might see integration with SeeControl. In fact, in their acquisition press release, the tech giant only makes an oblique reference to its plans, stating that, “Autodesk intends to . . . incorporate [SeeControl] technology into design solutions for the manufacturing and building industries.”

Though Autodesk is slow-playing the SeeControl announcement, one has to imagine that tools such as Revit, Inventor, Fusion360, Plant Design and possibly even Infraworks360 will be top on Autodesk’s list for immediate IoT support. With SeeControl baked into Autodesk software, architects might have new tools for developing more efficient, self-monitoring building, engineers might have expanded options for data-driven product development and cities might make better decisions about maintenance and repair, thanks to monitoring systems built into civic design.

How long will all of this technology take to be built into Autodesk’s core technology? Well, 2016 is not too far off, and it’ll likely take a while to get integration bugs flushed out (especially if SeeControl’s going to be built into the Ribbon interface). If I had to make a wild guess, I’d say SeeControl becomes fully functional by Autodesk’s 2018 release.