Connect & Construct Recap: Top Moments from the Opening Keynote

connect & construct recap blog

What happens when you bring together thousands of the most forward-thinking professionals in the construction industry? On November 19, Connect & Construct Summit was a fantastic and dynamic day full day of keynotes, sessions, and classes — all dedicated to the construction industry. 

The Connect & Construct keynote was one of the most buzzed-about moments from the event. We’ll be posting more about sessions and top moments from the event as well as more from Autodesk University on our blog soon — so stay tuned. For now, read about the top can’t miss announcements and moments from the exciting opening keynote, below!

Connect & Construct Keynote: The Short Version

Connect & Construct opening keynote focused on how we will build innovation together. This means more than simply improving tools and technology, but empowering people and partnering with national organizations – all to connect the construction industry to address some of its biggest challenges. 

Here’s a quick recap of the major announcements and highlights, but read on below for an in-depth overview:

Explaining “Connected Construction” 

If you attended Connect & Construct, there’s one phrase you likely heard a lot: “connected construction.” Even if you’ve heard this term before, it was clear from the event that it’s gaining new traction and meaning. 

Jim Lynch, Vice President & General Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions, kicked off the Connect & Construct keynote. He reiterated the company’s commitment to construction, and how the pace of change is driving new challenges across the industry. Today, the need for collaboration between teams to build more effectively with new tools and processes is more important than ever before. Autodesk is dedicated to building the best solutions to drive the opportunity of better in construction by seamlessly connecting data throughout the project lifecycle. To address this, Jim announced Autodesk Construction Cloud – a new breed of connected construction technology – that will bring workflows together, seamlessly moving data from design through construction. 

“I’m incredibly excited to tell you we’ve connected our workflows in a way that enables your data to move through the stages of construction more seamlessly than ever,” he announced. Autodesk Construction Cloud brings together the most powerful portfolio of construction management software in the market – BuildingConnected, Assemble, BIM 360, and PlanGrid – and leverages three core pillars – advanced technology, a builders network, and predictive insights. To read more about the connected construction technology, read this blog: Welcome to the New Era of Connected Construction

You can also watch more highlights in the two videos from the Construction Channel, below!: 

Putting People First Pays Off 

As a human-centric industry, Autodesk Construction Solutions’ customers are at the heart of everything we do as a company. During the keynote, Stephanie Ho, Global Head of Customer Success for Autodesk Construction Solutions, took the stage to discuss how people are at the center of change in construction. She explained how it’s the company’s mission to drive success across the entire customer journey by understanding how the industry is tackling complex challenges through technology.

“Our goal is to partner with you so that you can achieve your desired business outcomes by leveraging our portfolio. Often times, this means creating a change strategy to engage your team in new ways to work,” she said.  

Her team’s goal is to help customers by understanding what success looks like for their business. Using Robertson, one of the largest independently owned companies in the UK, as an example, Stephanie cited how Autodesk’s Customer Success team has helped the company realize more time and cost savings as they become more productive and sustainable. “We partnered closely with the Robertson team to work towards two key objectives: establish a strong platform and markedly increase user adoption,” she explained. 

For Robertson, the results have paid off. They have seen a 20% productivity gain, a 50% reduction in issues during clash detection exercises, and a 45% improvement in the time it takes for a subcontractor to close issues. This equals a savings of more than 11 hours per project each week – nearly 60,000 hours a year.   

Product Announcements 

Connect & Construct attendees heard from product leaders, Richard Parker, Senior Product Manager in the Preconstruction Team and Sameer Merchant, Head of Products in the Site Construction Team about Autodesk’s focus on connecting construction workflows throughout the lifecycle. As no aspect of construction happens in isolation, a connected platform is the first line of defense in knowing that project data will be carried across the project lifecycle to help the industry achieve more successful projects, while using fewer materials.

Before getting into specific product announcements in preconstruction, Richard explained more about the importance of enhancing and connecting this critical project phase. First, he noted how the construction industry has historically experienced low productivity rates. “A critical way to address this is Autodesk’s focus on the planning lifecycle where so much of a project’s success is determined,” he explained. “In focusing now on productivity and reducing project risk at a micro level, you clear the way to address bigger issues impacting your business so that you can get ahead of the curve.”

Sameer, further tied back to the themes of productivity and connectedness to explain the many new product updates and enhancements driven primarily by customer feedback. “My team wakes up every morning thinking about ways to innovate our product portfolio to help you increase productivity and get back more time to focus on what matters most to you,” he shared.

“That is the power of the Autodesk Construction Cloud. We’re building simple, powerful tools to unite the headquarters, office, and field teams from design through operations.”

autodesk construction cloud connect and construct product announcementsIn the keynote, both Richard and Sameer highlighted several exciting product announcements for Autodesk Construction Cloud. To read an in-depth overview of all the product updates discussed in the keynote, and more, check out this post: Autodesk Product Innovations Reimagine Construction for the Digital Age.

Companies on the Leading Edge

As mentioned, customers are at the core of every product update and company initiative at Autodesk. Naturally, Connect & Construct Summit invited customers on stage to share more about their journey. 

Jenny Moshea, Head of Technology, Sellen Construction, first discussed how the company has woven consistency across jobsites and throughout the project lifecycle, connecting projects today and laying the groundwork to reap the rewards of connected project data now and into the future. She also specified how the company specifically uses BuildingConnected to drive both diverse and quality subcontractor networks. Jenny noted, “We have a tremendous opportunity to connect with historically underutilized subs. We can set our subs up for success so our project teams can deliver quality results.” 

Later, Michael Murphy, Digital Construction Operations Manager, and Simon Tritschler, Technical Deployment Specialist, Royal BAM Group, shared how their mantra of “doing new things.” They highlighted how they’ve leveraged their partnership with Autodesk Construction Solutions to reimagine and digitize their workflows with data and machine learning to de-risk projects leading to better safety, quality, and cost management. They explained how the use of Construction IQ’s machine learning technology helped them to create a strategy to utilize the massive amounts of project data, despite, “We are not data scientists, we are muddy boot builders,” noted Simon. “It’s time the construction industry embraces this brave new era of technology.”

A Home Run Finale 

Billy Beane, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Oakland Athletics and subject of ‘Moneyball’ closed out the keynote on a high note. His presentation focused on how he challenged long-standing traditions in baseball by implementing an unorthodox (by MLB standards) strategic methodology that inevitably led one of the worst teams in the American League — with one of the lowest payrolls — to six American League West Division titles. Major themes, including “challenging the status quo” and “using data to make informed decisions,” were direct parallels to the extreme changes impacting the construction industry today.

Missed Connect & Construct? Watch our Webinar!

If you missed Connect & Construct Summit, there’s still a chance to get a first-hand account of all the highlights and product announcements. Watch our webinar to learn more! 


Grace Ellis

Editor in Chief, Digital Builder Blog, Autodesk

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