I am Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP, editor-in-chief at I assemble the monthly INSIDER Xpresso newsletter to help us understand emerging technologies (emTech) and the social forces impacting CAD industries like AEC and manufacturing.

Last month we brought you a focus on chip technology, chip geopolitics, and implications for the entire software industry but particularly the CAD industry. This month our focus is on the recent AEC industry virtual user conferences and we fill our emTech section with some highlights that push on bleeding edge tech directions. 

Our special feature turns its attention back to the much-admired Apple M1 chip as it pertains to the fully M1-native Vectorworks BIM platform. Is this now perhaps the world's fastest BIM software? Or soon to be once the M1X chip arrives? We talk to the CTO at Vectorworks about the M1. 

This month. In issue #32! 
  • Starter Course: The Top Five Must-Reads
  • Special Feature: The ARM Wars: Vectorworks 2022 is First BIM on ARM, the M1 Interview
  • emTech: Emerging Technologies -- XCON, ENVISION21, and AU21 highlights focused on the leading-edge. 
  • The Briefing: Biggest CAD Industry News Last Month

Our INSIDER Xpresso newsletter continues to grow its audience. I want to personally thank everyone who has subscribed as we know we ask several more questions than just your email address. This data is invaluable to our ability to attract top AEC software and hardware company advertisers. So thank you for being a subscriber. - AFR 

A Word About Our Sponsor

This month our issue is brought to you by AMD, who recently in the past few years has flown past Intel in CPU performance. Our special feature this month is all about the critical semiconductors that power our devices and power our CAD, BIM, and 3D applications. AMD has also new powerful Radeon PRO GPUs that offer real-time hardware-accelerated raytracing technology and several unique industry innovations, and at highly competitive performance over price ratios. 

Starter Course

The Top Five Must-Reads

I've combed the Internet to find some of the most interesting, compelling, or controversial stories that impact AEC and manufacturing industries, and the social and emerging technological forces at play on both. 

1 - Space Architects Will Help Us Live and Work Among the Stars   This very recent article delves into what Space Architecture is and where (what University) it is being studied. -- (Science-HSW)

Key Definition:   "Space Architecture is the theory and practice of designing and building inhabited environments in outer space (it encompasses the architectural design of living and working environments in space-related facilities, habitats, and vehicles.)"

SEArch+/Apis won first place in the Phase 3: Level 4 software modeling stage of NASA's 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge for deep space exploration. (Image: Team Search+/APIS COR/NASA)

The article summarizes the field of space architecture, which believe it or not, has a graduate program (Master of Science in Space Architecture) at the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering. Many if not most of the "emerging technologies" that the Xpresso newsletter focuses on—like AI and machine learning, 3D printing, robotics, automation, sensor-based smart systems, computational design, and the like—are all crucial components of what will be needed to build human habits in space like on Mars. Space architects face radically different challenges than Earth architects and this article highlights many of them. It's a fun read!

(read more here.)


2 - Virtual reality simulation to contribute to more accessible rail travel -- Millions of people in the United Kingdom with accessibility needs can find riding the UK rail system really challenging. What can be done about that to make a big impact? -- Global Railway Review 

The VR Impacts  Well, a new solution enables people with a wide range of accessibility needs to virtually simulate their travel on UK rail ahead of actually taking a trip, thereby decreasing the stress and the effort of traveling on the rail. The system uses fully rendered environments and is built on gaming technology.  

Virtualized infrastructure environments integrated with gaming engines can enable interactivity while simulating traveling through train stations, onboard trains, et cetera. This technology would be immensely useful to just about everyone traveling through complex, interconnected infrastructure environments like large airports, for example. 

This is a wonderful technology that enables users to experience their journey by rail from the comfort of their home, in advance of their travel. The user doesn't need to use a VR headset but it is supported. They can use smartphones, tablets, and PCs to take their virtual journey.  (read more here)

3 -  Smart cities are great but we also need smart villages -- This excellent article delves into how 3.6 billion people on this planet don't yet even have basic Internet access. When Covid-19 struck in 2020, the world adapted dramatically by accessing goods and services via the Internet, and by taking education and jobs online. Half the planet didn't have that choice and the impact was tremendous. --  (WEF  

"We must act now to bring unconnected communities online. Not just in smart cities, but in smart villages and smart townships."

Economic Uplifts   Aside from tumbling GDP effects due to the global pandemic, poorer countries and their children fell behind in education. Two-thirds of public schools in El Salvador are offline, for example. Thankfully, the pandemic rocked some poorer countries into action. Low-income countries that increase mobile broadband penetration by 10 percent tend to see an uplift of around 2 percent in GDP. 

 (read on for more.)


4 -  This Is What Europe's Green Future Looks Like   -- "Green Europe will be built on rammed-earth walls, wooden pillars and recycled shipping containers — at least according to the winners of a new European Union initiative." --  (BusinessWeek)

Award-winning Xifre Rooftop in Barcelona, Spain. (Image: MataAlta Studio)

Green Goals: The EU wants to become the first climate-neutral continent. To help get there they need to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 55 percent in 2030 from 1990 levels and reach net-zero by mid-century. The EU is also handing out its first awards for sustainable design and architecture in an initial glimpse of the New European Bauhaus -- a modern aesthetic for an old continent.  

Europe's leaders want the arts, especially architecture and design, to be a part of this transformation. The award-winning examples in this article show creative uses for cutting down energy consumption. The EU is referring to a New Bauhaus style that does for the 21st century what the original Bauhaus school's Modernist design philosophy did for the last century. 

 (To read the full article).

5 - What's bigger than a megacity? China's planned city clusters -- This article takes a look at how five regions with as many as 100 million people each aim to deliver the benefits of urbanization without the headaches.  --   (TechnologyReview)

Big Picture?  Just 20 years ago (around the turn of the century) only 30 percent of Chinese lived in cities. Now it is 60 percent. This same transition took Europe nearly 100 years and it took the US 60 years. The speed at which China is becoming urban is astounding. 

"A megalopolis for a nation is what Main Street is for most communities. It is the laboratory of a new urban way of life which is sweeping the civilized world."

China is turning its focus from building out individual cities to instead building connected city clusters. Each cluster will form collaborations economically, politically, and ecologically. At least that is the goal. These clusters could be called megalopolises. French geographer Jean Gottmann noticed a new urban paradigm emerging in the northeastern US back in the 50s and used the word "megalopolis" to describe it. 

Here's a quote from the article: "In the United States, the Boston to Washington DC megalopolis would become home to the richest, best-educated, and best-serviced population in the country."

 (To read the full article).


Five More Stories

We are skipping the Five More Stories section and the "Member Access—(emTech) Section+" article this month. We will return to a more enhanced version in the near future. 


More (emTech) Below Our Special Feature
Our Sponsor
Special Feature

The ARM Wars: Vectorworks 2022 is the First BIM on ARM—the M1 Interview

Leadership at Vectorworks recently told our UK-based publication that their software on Apple's ARM-based M1 chip platform is 40 - 200 percent faster than on rival Intel-based platforms (Mac or Windows).  



Architosh had the opportunity to talk with Steve Johnson, Chief Technology Officer, Vectorworks, a few weeks ago about the new M1-native Vectorworks 2022 product just released.

In this interview, we cover how the M1 SoC is different in many respects, including memory limitations and the complete transition to the Metal graphics API for the Mac version of Vectorworks 2022, which is integral to the big picture M1 story.

Strap in as we talk tech shop about the AEC industry's first BIM program on the ARM chip architecture.

The Interview
(Anthony Frausto-Robledo)  AFR -- Thanks, Steve, for talking to me so extensively about the M1 or Apple Silicon transition with Vectorworks. Before we dive into that, what is the status of the Apple Metal transition?

(Steve Johnson)  SJ -- You're welcome. I'm giddy with excitement, as I just got my personal ARM M1 MacBook yesterday. You know, all of our reengineering over the years is really coming to a head! The M1 system-on-a-chip (SoC) and the unified memory, GPU, and cores are exciting, and Vectorworks 2022 shines on this platform.

AFR -- The M1 chip maxes out at 16 GB of memory. How does this affect large 3D model performance?

SJ -- So the 16 GB is a limit, but we see the paging out to virtual memory, and the engineering that Apple has done with the M1 is superb and makes that limitation almost go away. And, of course, we have the M1X chip coming soon, which will go beyond the 16 GB limit.

"...the paging out to virtual memory, and the engineering that Apple has done with the M1 is superb and makes that [memory] limitation almost go away."

It's a complex story to tell because it is not a straightforward task to compare a system-on-a-chip (SoC) implementation to a separate CPU and GPU. Things work differently between these hardware chip setups.

AFR -- But you have done lots of testing, right? And what about beta testers and what they are saying?

SJ -- Well, getting back to the full Metal implementation, we have been working with beta testers for a while now, and we see good reactions about Vectorworks 2022, which is full Metal on Apple, and the response is that it just feels much faster.

AFR - I realize that when we are talking about the full Metal implementation in the new Vectorworks 2022, we are, of course, talking about Metal on both Intel and the new ARM architecture Macs.

SJ -- Yes, that's correct. So, the performance in graphics with Metal can vary depending on the age of the Mac hardware and the specific OS version they are running.

AFR -- Which macOS is required now as the baseline for version 2022?

SJ -- macOS 10.14 Catalina is the oldest Mac operating system this latest version of Vectorworks runs on.

AFR -- I know we will touch on Metal throughout this conversation about the M1 because the full Metal implementation is a big deal. Still, I want to focus on the M1 because readers and many of your users will be curious about it.

"Our single-core bottlenecks have, over time, become multithreaded. Some still exist, and the M1 Mac users will see good speedups. But you are right; the single-core processing is impactful with BIM applications."

The M1 chip is a system-on-a-chip (SoC) and wraps CPU, GPU, memory and specialized machine-learning processors, and other specialized cores all together on the same silicon die. It's precisely like the chip in all of our smartphones, but bigger. But what is unique and perhaps confusing to CAD/BIM users is that its memory is "unified" and shared among CPU, GPU, and the Neural Engine. At just 16 GB total, for these days, that seems like a real limitation for professional CAD industry work.

SJ -- When the M1 was out, the first system we got for testing was the MacBook Air M1 with 8 GB of memory. And we ran it with our standard models—and yes, the file sizes were pushing out over that limit—yet you don't really notice it much.

AFR -- So Apple's M1 chip and its motherboard is handling virtual memory that well that you don't feel it paging out to the SSD drive?

SJ -- Yes and no. Recall that back last November, we were doing our testing on Vectorworks 2021. There are a couple of things here and there with specific operations that cause some slow-downs with the paging, but really the transition is just smooth. Things, of course, are even better in 2022, which isn't using any Rosetta.

AFR -- Right. So once Apple ships the M1X that goes beyond the 16GB limit, the performance limitations of paging to virtual memory will essentially vanish. What is the largest BIM model you use in tests?

SJ -- We have models that push out over the 16 GB limit.

The Apple A15 Bionic is Apple's latest SoC powering the new iPhone 13 line. In the last issue we stated that "the A15 Bionic doesn't make as much progress in CPU performance over the A14." That statement was based on another article.  (see: SemiAnalysis "Apple CPU Gains Grind To A Halt And The Future Looks Dim As The Impact From The CPU Engineer Exodus To Nuvia And Rivos Starts To Bleed In," 14 Sep 2021).  It turns out that the new A15 Bionic in the latest iPhone 13 is faster than the M1 chip, according to an excellent analysis at Anandtech. (see: AnandTech, "The Apple A15 SoC Performance Review: Faster & More Efficient," 4 Oct 2021). The L2 cache on the performance cores on the A15 Bionic now match the M1 at 12MB, but they only serve two high-performance cores, not four as on the M1. We discuss this and other items in the Curated emTech section below on what Apple may do with the M1X chip. 

AFR -- Apple's M1 chip has industry-leading single-core performance at the performance per watt level and nearly absolute level. But what many don't know is the M1 has stunning floating-point calculation performance as well. That's going to impact Vectorworks 2022 on M1 well, correct?

SJ -- Oh, absolutely. Floating-point comes into play across multiple areas, including the geometry engine and much of the vector-based rendering that architects like so much. So that work is all highly floating-point intensive.

AFR -- The single-core performance of the M1 is interesting because most CAD software is still so dominantly single-core intensive. For example, the folks at BOXX make this point very clear when they talk about their workstations for Revit or SketchUp.

SJ -- Yes, while you can compare applications to applications, we at Vectorworks have a lot of multicore stuff going on. Our single-core bottlenecks have, over time, become multithreaded. Some still exist, and the M1 Mac users will see good speedups. But you are right; single-core processing is impactful with BIM applications.

The CPU speeds are certainly going to be a big hit with our M1 users. That and the work we have done with Metal will wow users with the latest Vectorworks 2022. And the unified memory is just as fast.

The Vectorworks BIM/CAD platform in version 2022 is fully modern in the sense that it is developed for both ARM and Intel X86 Mac and Intel X86 Windows operating systems, with full utilization of low-overhead graphics APIs in Metal on Mac and DirectX on Windows.  

AFR -- Now that you are the AEC industry's first BIM program native on Apple Silicon (or ARM Architecture) and have moved Vectorworks entirely off OpenGL onto bear-metal programming APIs, do you now see opportunities to speed up the application even further?

SJ -- Absolutely. We already do that regularly as part of our reengineering efforts with each release. But I understand your question. Now that we are thoroughly modern—meaning we are on DirectX and Metal and off OpenGL and Intel X86 and ARM architectures—we can find areas where we can target performance optimizations, including GPU compute.

AFR -- Won't GPU compute be tricky working both across platforms and across chip architectures from Intel to ARM?

SJ -- Well, it will be whatever makes the most sense in our cross-platform environment. Some of the texture preparation stuff may make good candidates.

AFR -- A part of my question about being the first BIM on ARM architecture also gets to the point about Windows and ARM. So, the work you have completed now to get Vectorworks on ARM for Mac will provide you some advantage in getting ready for Windows on ARM once that becomes meaningful, correct?

SJ -- Absolutely. There are various ways our work with ARM for Mac helps us down the road for prospects on Windows on ARM. For example, our work in the VGM (Vectorworks Graphics Module) enabled us to switch out OpenGL for Metal for Mac and DirectX for Windows. But that also means we can move to Vulkan if we want to. So that's the GPU side of it.

"But Apple is leading us to ARM, and we are shining there, and that story will turn into a good story for our Windows users at some point down the road."

As for ARM, there will be some challenges, and some algorithms may ultimately need to be tailored for each platform. We shy away from doing those things because we try to focus on cross-platform technologies. But Apple is leading us to ARM, and we are shining there, and that story will turn into a good story for our Windows users at some point down the road.

AFR -- I know that Parasolid moved over to ARM on Mac rather quickly for their clients, of which you are one. Are further optimizations still out there that center on the geometry kernel for the M1 to take advantage?

SJ -- I think there are. When working with Parasolid on our M1 migration work, we faced some challenges related to the Mac threading model. And we worked with them extensively to overcome those challenges. And I think the push to ARM in the industry will ultimately help them more.

For example, when we had to cache the Parasolid geometry calculations rather than do it on the fly, we used more memory in the background, which has its downsides. But as Parasolid gets better with multithreading and their further advancements with their ARM implementation, Vectorworks on the Mac will be a key beneficiary.

AFR -- These sound like exciting times. Thanks for talking to me about your M1 ARM transition work.

SJ -- You are very welcome; it was my pleasure.


Editor's Note

We have further notes about the Apple A15 Bionic and M1X below in the emTech section. 


Our Sponsor

Curated content: Emerging Technologies and their potential impact on CAD-based industries.



We generally reserve this section for true emTech topics. What we have below however are technologies at the leading edge. Autodesk's vision of the future of its product delivery based on Forge is fundamentally about cloud computing. The construction software company Bluebeam is also talking about cloud+mobile transformation, in a similar manner to Autodesk but on a smaller scale.

We continue to focus on semiconductors and their design, microarchitecture and platform differences, and their performance because at a base level the disruption to Intel X86 is going to be one of the largest tech shifts in this decade. ENVISION's news below touches on this as do our further notes on the Apple A15 Bionic. Finally, we do touch on computational design with Spacemaker at the end of this section. 


Update notes on A15 Bionic

AnandTech's performance review of the new A15 Bionic SoC begins to suggest where we might find M1X design changes. It's important to note that the A14 chip performs a SPECint2017 score of 6.47 compared to the M1 at 6.66. The new A15 Bionic obtains a 7.28 score, nearly as high as the AMD Ryzen 5950X at 7.29. Suffice it to say, both the A14, M1, and A15 Bionic are all extremely fast single-core processors. So what can we possibly glean out of the new A15 Bionic about the future M1X?

AnandTech's detailed analysis shows that Apple managed to increase the performance of the A15 Bionic's "performance cores" while simultaneously improving energy efficiency. This is important for the M1X because that chip is slated for the larger MacBook Pro as well as the higher TDP range of the larger 27-inch iMac update. How Apple will double to triple core-counts while hitting TDP targets in the M1X will be challenging. What is interesting about the A15 Bionic is how the four efficiency cores gained massive performance gains (23-28 percent), which AnandTech notes helps with overall energy efficiency, while also being more energy-efficient. As a final point, the A15 Bionic has overall lower energy use but increased its clock frequency speed. 

We are working on a more comprehensive speculative estimate of the M1X for a future article. The bottom line is this new A15 Bionic chip advances Apple's performance and efficiency silicon design, laying the stage for the M1's successor. 

Autodesk University 21—The Big Picture

The big singular message coming out of Autodesk University 2021 this year reflects an earlier announcement from our interview with Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost. When Anagnost stated that "I think there is something we need to acknowledge right now, that a file is a dead thinking working." (see: Architosh, "What's Beyond Revit—Anagnost on Autodesk AEC Futures," 1 Oct 2020), he was hinting at the messaging headed our way at AU21. 

Back last October, Autodesk's CEO said that "files" themselves were on the cutting block when it came to the AEC industry's future. But it is not just the AEC industry where files themselves are finding themselves much less important, it's every creative industry Autodesk has a foothold in. 

Autodesk Forge is the future of Autodesk. Forge is a cloud-based development platform that Autodesk is using itself to develop its future applications across industries. 

This year in the opening session, Anagnost shared Autodesk's vision for the future of work—a future that is flexible, data-centric, and contextual-based. And while we have all leaned on cloud computing more than ever during the Covid pandemic, he states, "...exporting, uploading, and sharing files doesn't product giant returns; maybe it's time we face a clear reality. It's not our files that are valuable, but the data that is locked inside them. You may want your files to be more accessible, but that's only because they contain valuable data."

For a company that has benefitted the most from network effects and de facto notions of industry standards in the CAD industries, some observers might find these new-ish words from Autodesk a bit rich. On the flip side of that criticism, Anagnost isn't offering a vision that rivals in the industry aren't already speaking about but rather a larger trend happening throughout digital industries. The advantage that Autodesk may possess now is the technology known as the Forge platform

Forge is the Future

The big message in this year's AU21 is that Forge is the Future. The end goal is that Forge is the one final product that provides access to all the various components of the whole family of Autodesks products people use and love today. 

Autodesk sees Forge as the centerpiece technology infrastructure that links Autodesk products together in the cloud and on mobile and traditional platforms. In some ways, AutoCAD is already close to the model of the future, insofar as the product is fully modern with respect to end-device platform coverage (desktop, tablet, smartphone, and web). 

Anagnost says that the vision "doesn't mean individual products are going away. Far from it," he says. It means ultimately that the capabilities found in many products today will be available to many workflows tomorrow. "What our industries need now, more than ever, are solutions that are open," says the Autodesk CEO. "This is why I want Autodesk to help steer our industries towards open standards." 

Acknowledging that this vision is a big shift, he says, "it's going to take years." [Note: readers can sign-up for AU21 and watch sessions on-demand by clicking here.]

XCON (Bluebeam Conference)

In the same tone and message as AU21, Nemetschek Group company Bluebeam held its annual user conference, XCON, earlier in September and made the same point that users need access to their data from anywhere, any time, from any device. The message is also fundamentally about the cloud. 

The big product keynote announced that in addition to Bluebeam Revu—the company's hit flagship application in the construction industry—Bluebeam intends to build solutions that seamlessly connect to Revu and unlock customer data, with open standards, insights, and integrations in mind. How will they do this? 

A screenshot of Bluebeam Cloud from XCON 21's public video for the Product Keynote session. You can access the whole video here
The answer is Bluebeam Cloud. In a similar manner, as Autodesk plans to connect its desktop applications to the cloud via Forge, Bluebeam will build new applications in the cloud that can communicate back down to Revu on the desktop. Where Forge is the singular element (in the cloud) that connects to Autodesk's vast array of apps, Revu is the singular app that will connect to multiple new solutions in the cloud. 

Project Rover

Bluebeam today already has the beginnings of this started with a product in a public beta that has gone largely unnoticed and without fanfare. That product is currently called Project Rover, which may be one of the many solutions built within Bluebeam Cloud. 

Project Rover is built on Bluebeam Cloud and is a beta application currently open to existing US-based customers only. Customers can try Rover for free for 14 days. Learn more here

For sure, XCON also delivered some glimpses of other types of solutions in Bluebeam Cloud. And as for a timeline? Bluebeam stated that in the first half of 2022, the next version of Revu will come with a new seamless connection to Bluebeam Cloud solutions. And Bluebeam Cloud will also feature integrations to popular AEC and non-industry cloud-based solutions. The example shown at XCON was AI-based Reconstruct, an AI-powered remote quality control application. 

Bluebeam Cloud is shown here with integrations with AI-based Reconstruct. 

Bluebeam Cloud looks promising and the popular collaboration and markup application for the construction industry will need to accelerate its progress while also offering a robust set of integration APIs so that the Bluebeam Cloud when combined with Revu will be able to hold onto customers familiar with the Revu Studio based workflows.

There is significant competition from the likes of US-based Procore and Autodesk coming directly at Bluebeam so it is critical the company executes well and quickly with Bluebeam Cloud. To learn more about XCON 21 click here. You can watch the opening and product keynotes here


ENVISION 21 was Enscape's first virtual user conference and the company had great attendance, a testament to just how popular the real-time, interactive renderer is in the AEC industry.

ENVISION showcased a talented collection of global architecture firms, offered a thought-provoking keynote on the industry, and announced that Enscape was coming to the Mac platform in the first half of 2022 and would support Macs on both Intel and ARM (Apple Silicon). 

Enscape of Germany will release their popular Enscape renderer for the Mac platform in H1, 2022 and it will be available on ARM Macs as well.  

The German-based software company now has over 100 employees since last June with lots of new employees in the United States. Its headquarters are in southwest Germany. One of the key items mentioned during the ENVISION 21 opening keynote was that software company wants to solve more problems for customers and go far beyond just visualization. It also is dropping OpenGL as its primary graphics API in lieu of the Khronos Group's low-overhead Vulkan graphics API.

There is growing traction in the industry with the multi-platform Vulkan API, which has robust support for the ARM platforms, in addition to Intel X86. 

Spacemaker and Microclimates

AU 21 featured multiple news items which Architosh is still working through over the next week. One item we wrote about right away was Spacemaker and its new ability to analyze microclimate data on building sites. 

Autodesk's Spacemaker subsidiary announced the new ability to analyze microclimate data to determine heat island effects and calculate thermal comfort data for outdoor spaces in buildings and their sites. 

This new feature allows architects, urban designers, and real estate professionals to study the thermal comfort of outdoor spaces. Every year the planet gets hotter. In just this year, a heatwave swept across the UK marking one of the hottest summers on record.

"Thermal comfort and the built environment are two sides of the same coin as the presence of wind and sun on a site is greatly impacted by the fundamental decisions on building footprints and forms," says Håvard Haukeland, co-founder of Spacemaker and Senior Director, Autodesk.

Spacemaker says it spent two years researching thermal stress and perceived temperature. While there exist other computerized tools to calculate heat island effects they are obtuse and take hours to run. Spacemaker, on the other hand, is fast and can present the results in digestible visual form. The Spacemaker microclimate analysis adheres to the Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) metric. For readers interested in UTCI metric research the Spacemaker team recommends "An introduction to the Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI)," which details how the method calculates and how approximations are made. 

The Future of Work - AU21

A session at Autodesk University titled "Tech Trends: The Impacts of Digital Transformation on the Future of Work" ran through a number of interesting factoids and insights. Kylee Swenson and Joe Speicher of Autodesk were joined by Bruce Blaho of HP (HP Fellow), Elizabeth Baron of Unity (Enterprise Solutions Executive), and Mandy Mock of Intel (VP and GM of Desktop, Workstation, and Channel).

Here are some takeaways from their interesting panel discussion. In terms of the impacts of Covid on the future of work, location is no longer as big a consideration for those graduating from college. Companies are recognizing that talent and passion are the main attributes for their workforce, not the location of their employees. Another takeaway was that younger generation employees feel differently about Zoom meetings than older generations. They grew up playing games with kids around the globe and self-organized and solved problems together. This is precisely the environment that has been thrust upon the global workforce during the pandemic. 

The 2030 Reskill Challenge

The World Economic Forum (WEF), a source we cite frequently on Xpresso, has estimated that 1 billion people will need to be reskilled by 2030. Why is this? Because 1 billion jobs will be transformed by the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Just in the next two years (by 2022 end) 42 percent of core skills are required to perform existing jobs are expected to change. 

The WEF believes that the world is facing a reskilling emergency. 

Autodesk with several partners (eg: Jobs of the Future) is focused on helping solve this crisis. Panelists mentioned that corporations are now dropping degree requirements for entry to jobs. With a shortage of workers with the necessary skills, four-year degree programs are now looked at as too long to bridge the gap in the workforce. Joe Speicher of Autodesk mentioned the US government infrastructure bill. Autodesk advocated for the inclusion of funds in that bill for skill retraining education—which the panelists agreed can take place in community college settings better than in universities. That section of the bill however has disappeared, an index that political leaders in Washington do not fully understand the impact of technology transformation on the infrastructure industry. 

Meanwhile, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) organization, the US construction industry needs to hire 1 million new workers over the next two years. Companies have various levers to help fill the jobs gap by a dearth of qualified candidates. Wage increases are one obvious incentive but don't always fill the skills gap. To close the digital divide, however, Bruce Blaho of HP said that "the first step is to have the programs and the candidates available for those new jobs." 

Architosh Analysis and Commentary -- AEC software companies have an excellent opportunity to engage in this problem and to help supply the market with new job candidates with new digital skills needed for AEC and MCAD industries. They can help upskill the economy while also creating brand ambassadors. 


What's Cooking: Future Xpresso Features

Our next issue of Xpresso (#33) will have a few possibilities for its feature. We are currently working on stories around AMD, Autodesk, Vectorworks, and Trimble and they are all excellent and unique content. 
The Briefing

Biggest CAD Industry News Last Month

(the biggest news and features in September)

Feature: Viewpoint: The Exciting Future of Engineering Graphics  This feature from guest contributor, Gavin Bridgeman of TechSoft 3D, paints a broad-brush picture of current and near-term advances in engineering computer graphics.    [7-10 min. read]  (Architosh). Recommended for all readers. 

Feature: The Evolving Immersive Experience (VR/AR/XR)  This feature first ran in Xpresso a few months back -- an advantage of being a subscriber -- and gives a comprehensive historical review of VR/AR and XR technologies.  [7-10 min. read]  (Architosh). Recommended for all readers. 

VR News: Prospect by IrisVR Adds New Immersive 'Issue Tracking'  This news item is on the new issue tracking capabilities in IrisVR, which was acquired by The Wild back in February of this year.   [5-8 min. read]  (Architosh). Recommended for all BIM and VR users.

Vectorworks 2022 Product Line for BIM and CAD Launches
Vectorworks launches its annual update and this news item covers all the details.   
 [5-8 -min read] (Architosh).  Recommended for AEC, BIM, and CAD users. 

AMD Releases New Radeon PRO Driver Enterprise 21.Q3

AMD has updated its enterprise driver (AMD Radeon Pro software) yielding a boost in performance across the board and more.    [3-6 min. read]  (Architosh). Recommended Radeon PRO users. 

Autodesk's Latest Investment — iOFFICE + SpaceIQ  
Autodesk has made another strategic investment in the "digital twins" space with this partnership investment in this recently merged set of companies.      [3-6-min read]  (Architosh).  
Recommended for CAFM and AEC owners. 

End Note
Remember you can sign-up for architosh INSIDER Xpresso here -- a unique CAD industry newsletter with a special focus on emergent technologies (emTech) like AI, ML, robotics, 3D printing, AAD, computational design, and smart cities tech.

As we move forward, our format will evolve but will aim to focus on emTech in AEC and MCAD. We welcome your suggestions (

To see Past Issues visit this link here.  (sign-up for the newsletter here)

Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

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Architosh is subject to conflicts of interest when we write about CAD/AEC/MCAD/3D software/hardware and other related tech companies in the market. In the interest of disclosure, we encourage readers of this newsletter and the Architosh website to visit our Ethics page where we maintain a full list of Held Securities and discuss Our Disclosures. 

This statement and the intent of this section is consistent with Architosh's Disclosure statement on our Ethics page here.  [This rewritten section deprecates all other instances of this section for past issues of the newsletter.]
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