With the advent of modern trends in Cloud Computing, Autodesk is one of the companies that aims to lead the way in the way in which things are made (and designed). In the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) arena there is a variety of ways in which cloud computing is applicable. Collaborating in the cloud while following the sun, performing energy analysis, stress analysis, aerodynamic analysis or computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis, lighting analysis and rendering are all examples where cloud computing may be utilized.
While a once-off analysis is informative, it is also quite manual in the way it is set up. For an expert with a budget it is much more interesting to iterate designs, tweaking certain variables so that patterns become available. These patterns can be used to understand certain phenomena and to design better buildings, balancing cost and performance. Studies such as these will give companies the edge when competing against others for large contracts.
In developing countries like South Africa both the exchange rate and the limited scope of projects that are undertaken seems to be a barrier to enter this exciting field. Very few local architectural practices get invited to compete for the billion dollar designs overseas! However, there are international engineering companies that have both the intellectual capital and money to set up the required research and development.
Just as modern programming is about programs generating programming, so the building design software can be utilized to generate designs from programs running analyses. Only those that do this will compete on the international stage with others doing the same. Automation is the key.