Disruptive future technologies take centre stage at Autodesk’s inaugural Futures’ Forum in Saudi Arabia

AutodeskAutodesk hosted its first Saudi edition of the Futures’ Forum at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh on 14 February 2018

The first-of-its-kind event in the kingdom was conceptualised specifically for designers, makers and builders in the kingdom to explore current and evolving technologies to contribute and realise the goals outlined in Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 and its industrial development.

The Futures’ Forum provided industry experts from across Saudi Arabia a central platform to explore future trends such as 3D printing, the Internet of Things, Virtual and Augmented Reality offered in strategic industries including architecture, engineering, construction and manufacturing.

Mohammad Saleh, Saudi Arabia country manager at Autodesk, said, “Saudi Arabia is currently going through a period of rapid change driven by an ambitious Vision 2030. Futures’ Forum was the ideal platform to showcase a variety of technologies that will accelerate the future of making things in the kingdom whether they are buildings, products and even services. By leveraging these technologies, we are confident that the kingdom will not only achieve all the goals of sustainability, profitability, standards of living and more outlined in its vision but can potentially realise them ahead of schedule whilst building a strong and diversified economy.”

Construction, which is one of the biggest sectors both in Saudi Arabia and across the region, was the central theme of the discussion at the Futures’ Forum.

Naji Atallah, head of AEC and manufacturing at Autodesk Middle East delivered a keynote presentation on ‘Disruptive technologies defining the future of making things in Saudi Arabia’. Through the session, attendees learned how their peers are using transformative technologies like generative design, machine learning, robotics, additive manufacturing and more.  

Fahmi Al-Shawwa, CEO of 3D-printing company Immensa Technology Labs, discussed the strong importance of 3D printing technology and how solutions from Autodesk has helped the company in their journey to put the region on the global map of the 3D-printing industry.

“Additive manufacturing and 3D printing are gaining momentum across the world in all sectors. We have seen 3D printed shoes, 3D printed furniture, 3D printed buildings and much more. As the Kingdom inches closer towards its 2030 goals, we can predict that 3D printing will be employed quite heavily in the future as it is relatively cheaper, potentially stronger and more sustainable than traditional means employed for manufacturing, design, construction and more,” said Atallah.

Supporting Vision 2030 to build more connected, resilient cities, and infrastructure with a focused eye on sustainability, delegates were also briefed about the recent partnership between Autodesk and Esri.

The partnership between the global leaders in building information modelling (BIM) and geographic information system (GIS) will now provide industry and city planners in Saudi, the ability to design in the context of the real world. By bridging the flow of data between GIS and BIM and placing that information at the centre of infrastructure projects, houses, schools, roads, and other assets, no longer need to be planned, designed and built in isolation of everything else around it. Instead, planners and designers can better view infrastructure projects in relation to how those assets fit and interact with the surrounding ecosystem.

Furthermore, a key focus was also placed on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

“Saudi Arabia is on the path of a bold and energetic approach to deliver best-in-class projects. Over the recent past, it has showcased several milestones to position the Kingdom as a global hub for future technology and we are delighted to be part of this journey by empowering the imaginative minds of the kingdom,” stated Saleh.

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