• Provocative Questions: Internet of Things

“What if? What if? What if?” That’s the question that drives every scientific discovery and every technological innovation.
Provocative Questions is a series of videos featuring current projects from the Autodesk Office of the CTO from robotics, to generative design, and even the internet of things. Get a behind-the-scenes peek into these efforts with key researchers in each area.

We live in a hyper-connected world. Armed with pocket supercomputers and instant access to the Internet, we’re never more than a few clicks away from anyone we’ve ever met, an infinite collection of news and knowledge — and the rapid delivery of nearly anything we desire. But humans aren’t the only members of the global, always-on network that surrounds us. Roughly 5.5 million new inanimate objects come online each and every day. By 2020 the Internet of Things is projected to include as many as 200 billion devices!

These connected devices hold the promise to change our world in extraordinary ways. Self-aware buildings will become more efficient because they’ll no longer heat and cool empty rooms. Smart health monitors will automatically report patient anomalies, take corrective action and save untold numbers of lives. Cloud-connected cars will avoid accidents by anticipating road conditions and oncoming traffic. They’ll even drive themselves. But before any of these scenarios become commonplace, the Internet of Things will turn the world of product design and manufacturing on its ear.

At Autodesk, we believe that the era of connected devices requires a different strategic approach and a new degree of collaboration. “The very nature of “things” is changing,” says our CEO Carl Bass. “Pervasive Internet connectivity, the power of the cloud, and ubiquitous and inexpensive sensors mean that our places, things, and media are connected, intelligent, and dynamic. And the relationship between designing, making, and using things will converge.”

In other words, gone are the days of creating an object in isolation to perform a specific job. In the connected era, objects become dynamic members of a larger ecosystem with a robust feedback loop. Succeeding in this environment requires conceiving and building an object to sense its surroundings and to be fully upgradeable. Rather than aiming for a perfect piece of hardware out of the gate, designers and manufacturers will think more like coders and software publishers. In a connected era, flexibility trumps perfection.