Forge Platform ecosystem
Autodesk has announced various updates to its Forge cloud platform, including new cloud application expansion tools and services, and three new investments at Forge DevCon, the company’s first event for cloud developers.
Amar Hanspal, senior vice president of Products at Autodesk, commented: “We are seeing Forge used to power the future of making things for a variety of applications ranging from part inspection to sub-sea surveying, from managing mines with drones to turning cost estimation into a competitive advantage, and building online design and manufacturing services and much, much more. It is clear to us that there is an enormous demand for an easy-to-use and scalable platform to build all sorts of manufacturing and AEC applications. There are endless opportunities created by a combination of our web service APIs and entrepreneurial developer talent.”
The Forge Platform offers Application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs) to allow both small and large software developers to construct instinctive cloud-powered applications, services and experiences for the nexus of people shaping the modern world.
The areas of expansion that Autodesk have included to the platform include:
- A viewer that displays both 2D and 3D design files and related data from over 50 file formats in both web and mobile viewing to aid presentation and partnerships
- Model Derivative API that can aid translation of design files from format to format, preparation for online viewing and extraction of geometric data
- Design Automation API allowing developers to run AutoCAD scripts on the Cloud.
- Authentication as a secure method of providing a “key” to third parties, allowing them only limited access to specific platform functions
- Data Management API which will enable the management of data across A360, Fusion 360, BIM 360 Docs and the Forge native Object Storage Service to make it possible for users to upload and download a data file from one Autodesk product to the next
- 3D Print API to enable developers to build customised 3D printing solutions from 3D print preparation to print management quickly
- Reality Capture API which turns photographs into 3D data.
The in-product integration for A360, Fusion and BIM 360 API made by Autodesk is readily available for developers to create new understandings and services that improve product design, collaboration and manufacturing of industry workflows.
In terms of Developer Ecosystems, Autodesk‘s Forge Fund invests in companies that are evolving innovative solutions or services surrounding the Forge Platform. The three founding investors include 3D Robotics (3DR), a leading drone maker, MakeTime, an online manufacturing platform that matches projects from buyers to production hours on computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines from pre-qualified suppliers and Seebo, who provide Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for developing Internet of Things (IoT) and smart, connected products.
3DR are utilising the Forge platform to develop a reliable aerial data capture and analytics platforms for enterprise field professionals within infrastructure, construction, survey, mapping, telecom, and energy industries. By influencing the Forge Reality Capture API, 3DR customers can adapt drone-captured photos to engineering data, allowing them to optimise management sites and reduce risks.
Chris Anderson, CEO of 3DR, stated: “We’re delighted to expand our relationship with Autodesk and use of the Forge platform to deliver a complete solution for site capture that will help professional customers save time and money, and more importantly take humans out of harm’s way.”
The online manufacturing platform; MakeTime, are early adopters of the Forge Platform. Using Fusion 360 and the Forge Viewer, Data Management API and Model Derivative API, the company connects design engineers to MakeTime's computer-generated machine shop of accessible CNC machining and production services.
Drura Parrish, CEO of MakeTime, commented: "Leveraging MakeTime’s data-driven platform helps buyers overcome traditional manufacturing’s usual roadblocks such as supplier vetting and logistics management. This combined with the Forge platform provides anybody, anywhere with state-of-the-art design capabilities and an expansive, world-class 21st-century machine shop at their fingertips.”
The final investment was made with Seebo, whose technology automatically connects to Autodesk’s design apps like Fusion 360 and IoT platform, Fusion Connect, and permits users to ‘drag and drop’ workings (sensors, Bluetooth, accelerometers, GPS, etc.) into a product design framework to alter simplistic products into smart technology.
Lior Akavia, Co-Founder and CEO of Seebo, noted: “We know that the powerful combination of the Forge platform with Seebo’s platform for ideating, manufacturing and developing smart IoT products will continue to bring innovative ideas to actuality. The joint platform allows manufacturers to tap into the world of IoT simply, securely and cost effectively.”
The Forge DevCon event, part of an inclusive Forge developer program, aims to provide support, business development resources and knowledge for Autodesk’s expanding community of cloud developers. Including global developers and innovators, the community represents a multitude of varying industries including Engineering and Construction (AEC), Architecture and Manufacturing along with development of Additive Manufacturing, Augmented reality and Internet of Things.
Autodesk, to encourage developers to explore Forge, are offering completely free use of the platform until September 15, 2016 in eligible countries.