Autodesk has decided to trump Bentley which offers their electronic markup tool Redline to SELECT customers for free by giving away Autodesk Design Review 2007 and future versions to the world. I feel this is a huge value Autodesk is providing it's customers because it will allow anyone producing DWF files in their design environment the ability to eliminate paper prints for the purpose of review and markup and now perform those same tasks electronicly without the need to purchase another software package. This could also have a huge impact on what companies currently spend on large format plotting equipment due to reduced volume and media consumption. Granted the Engineers, Architects, and Designers will need to buy into the idea of marking up plans electronically but the fact that Autodesk has made this a free option, it should catch on much faster and at the same time save a few trees. It seems as though Autodesk may have plans to formally introduce Design Review as is free product with the 2008 version due out around April 2007.
I'm looking forward to implementing Autodesk Design Review throughout my company very soon and have been pondering this idea for quite a while. No need to justify the cost to upper management now that it's free. We can concentrate on getting buy-in from all the potential users within our many disciplines to start taking advantage of all its capabilities after a little introduction training. Potentially we could have close to 600 people using Autodesk Design Review in some capacity so the cost savings for us is huge now that it's free!
With a suite of free applications offered such as DWG TrueView, DWG TrueConvert, DWF Writer, DWF Viewer, Inventor View, DWF Toolkit, Project Freewheel, and now Design Review, I get the feeling Autodesk is really trying hard to provide increased value to its customers. My company has been using various flavors of Autodesk products sense the 1980's and I don't see that changing that any time soon. Autodesk has continued to provide innovative tools to efficiently complete designs for our clients. They've always strived to make them perform well and include desired new features by continuiously requesting feedback and allowing customers to be involved during beta testing phases of development.
Keep it coming Autodesk!
Shaan Hurley's Blog Post
Scott Sheppard's Blog Post
How to install Autodesk Design Review 2007 silently
About Autodesk Design Review 2008
Thanks Scott and Shaan for all the great information about the now free Autodesk Design Review!