Here in the United States, the last week has seen practically every aspect of daily life turned in its head. Schools closed, public places have closed, and instead of driving to work, many of us now walk to work as a matter of social distancing. Of course, calling it walking to work is but an attempt to put a normal wrapper on the obscurity of commuting to an actual office, to the new reality of working from home. In practically every way imaginable, life, as we knew it a short time ago, has changed because of the global pandemic known as COVID-19.
We’re each finding our own way to navigate this strange new world we find ourselves living in. Amidst all that madness, one thing I feel blessed by is the technology that similarly defines our world. Tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams let us narrow the gap of social distancing, and maintain some level of human connection with friends and colleagues.
Working from Home with Autodesk Software
Of course, while there are plenty of tools to bridge the human gap of social distancing, bridging the gap of design data is another challenge altogether. The data created by tools like Revit and Civil 3D is unique. Not only are the files far more extensive than your everyday Microsoft Word file, but the inner structure is also far more complex. Revit has Worksharing, whereas AutoCAD has External References, and Civil 3D has Data References.
Each of these, while critical to support the way project teams assemble projects, adds to the complexity of finding a suitable method for project teams to work from home. Of course, while remote working solutions do exist, most not only cost money but take more than a few days to implement. With the economic impact of COVID-19 still unknown, teams need a solution that is both simple and affordable to implement.
Introducing the Autodesk Extended Access Program
Recognizing these factors, Autodesk announced on Thursday, March 19th, they would make extended access to several products and services available to customers at no charge. As part of Autodesk’s response to COVID-19, customers can get free extended access to BIM 350 Docs, BIM 360 Design, Fusion 360, Fusion Team, AutoCAD Web and Mobile, and Shotgun.
Like all of us, Autodesk is also monitoring the ever-changing impact of COVID-19 on business as usual. At the time of writing, Autodesk has promised to make the Extended Access Program available to customers until May 31, 2020. While that timeframe will not contract, Autodesk may choose to extend it as the needs of their customers warrant it.
As a CAD manager focused on finding the best way to support our team of surveyors and engineers, I sincerely applaud this move by Autodesk. Just as we’re each trying to maintain business as usual during these uncertain times, we should expect the same from Autodesk.
Just as we still expect our clients to pay us for the work we perform, Autodesk has similarly reasonable expectations that customers pay for the products they use. During these extraordinary times, Andrew Anagnost, the CEO of Autodesk, has chosen to do what I believe is the morally conscionable thing by helping their customers as best as possible.
From the time Andrew Anagnost hosted a dinner for employees impacted by California fires in 2017 to this response to COVID-19, I see this as a reminder the people behind the software we use every day aren’t too different from us. They’re just people trying to provide for their families like you or me.
Therefore, it’s through that lens I extend a sincere thank you to Autodesk for taking action to support teams as we collectively find a way to overcome COVID-19. And finally, with the shadow of COVID-19 lurking atop all of us, I pray for each of you to stay well and remain safe.