To me the big news at SolidWorks World 2011 was the announcement of SolidWorks Live Buildings, a SolidWorks offering for the AEC industry. Last June Dassault Systemes showed an early preview of the technology. This video shows a more mature product.
Contrary to what some people (including me) initially thought, Live Buildings is being branded as a SolidWorks product and not a Dassault Systemes product. This makes sense as SolidWorks has more experience selling software to professionals and small companies as compared to Dassault Systemes. SolidWorks now has a new Sales Director for the AEC industry.
Live Buildings is an online product and based on the V6 platform. As can be seen in the video above, it is an initial conceptual design tool, like a SketchUp on steroids. It will have the ability to exchange data with DraftSight, the 2D AutoCAD clone from Dassault Systemes. And speaking of DraftSight, today SolidWorks showed DraftSight running on the iPad, which will be released later this year. So not only does the Dassault Systemes/SolidWorks combo have a clone for AutoCAD, they have a clone for AutoCAD WS as well.
Looks like the Dassault Systemes and SolidWorks are just getting started with AEC. It will be interesting to see where all this leads and how Autodesk reacts.