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Autodesk acquires XR firm The Wild

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Autodesk has acquired extended reality (XR) firm The Wild as it aims to provide enterprise services for companies working on the metaverse.

San Francisco-based Autodesk will get access to The Wild’s cloud-connected, XR platform, which includes its namesake solutions that enable architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals to present, collaborate, and review projects together in immersive and interactive experiences, from anywhere and at any time.

This acquisition enables Autodesk to meet increasing needs for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology advancements within the AEC industry and further support AEC customers throughout the project delivery lifecycle.

Serving more than 700 customers worldwide across its two platforms, The Wild’s XR technologies offers affordable, on-demand and in-context opportunities for deeper team collaboration. Its virtual format empowers remote workforces amid a rapidly evolving work landscape and offers an immersive environment for real-time ideation and decision making, the companies said.

“Our acquisition of The Wild reflects the rapid transformation taking place in the building industry, from the complexity of projects to the geographic diversity of teams who design, construct, and operate them,” said Andrew Anagnost, CEO of Autodesk, in a statement. “XR is a must-have business imperative for today and an important part of Autodesk’s Forge platform vision.”

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Autodesk is moving into XR with The Wild.

The Wild’s virtual platform allows teams to work together inside digital project models to explore, interact, and make changes to the model directly in the cloud. This leads to better decisions and project outcomes at a fraction of the time and cost for in-person collaboration methods, the companies said.

“The Wild and Autodesk share a common mission of encouraging a more productive and collaborative AEC industry, and in this case, one where teams can resolve issues in minutes from their desks rather than the traditional miles of costly travel,” said Gabe Paez, CEO of The Wild, in a statement. “The Wild’s customers understand the value from the get-go, building consensus as a team in the virtual world with the ability to make changes to their designs at the speed of thought.”

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A convergence of events makes this the right time for Autodesk’s acquisition of The Wild’s talent and technology and leveraging them as the foundation of Autodesk’s XR journey, said Nic Fonta, general manager of XR at Autodesk.

In an email to ventureBeat, Fonta said, “We believe extended reality (XR) technology will revolutionize data interaction and project collaboration for every professional, especially those in the AEC industry. It will profoundly change the industries we serve, as well as how our customers work and interact within their teams and with their clients. Our acquisition of The Wild further bolsters this vision – providing the immersive platform AEC professionals both want and need for complex data visualization, deeper real-time team collaboration, and better outcomes, and establishes a strong foundation for Autodesk’s overall XR journey.”

Why XR matters

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The Wild believes XR matters for making better decisions.

Autodesk that XR can help with greater workforce resiliency and remote collaboration, which has increased significantly amid the global pandemic. With physical distancing and ever-evolving travel restrictions, XR solutions offer a way to virtually keep teams together and projects moving with minimal interruption.

Until recently, the cost of professional-grade VR and AR was unattainable for many. Now, headsets cost a few
hundred dollars instead of thousands, and most smartphones support AR – putting the power of XR into the hands of anyone, anywhere, at any time.

In-person collaboration often requires costly travel and unnecessarily contributes to harmful carbon emissions – and, when teams cannot meet to work through design issues together, expensive rework and significant material waste are often a consequence. Offering seamless, instantaneous, and immersive cloud collaboration allows teams to save time, money, and materials, the companies said.

The Wild draws data from various AEC technologies into their respective XR collaborative experiences to perform design review and model coordination. Together, existing integrations include Autodesk Construction Cloud (Autodesk BIM 360, Autodesk Build), Autodesk Revit, Autodesk Navisworks, as well as other non-Autodesk technologies, Rhinoceros and Trimble SketchUp.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close during Autodesk’s
first quarter of Fiscal Year 2023, ending April 30, 2022. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Wild has 27 employees while Autodesk has 11,500 employees.

Autodesk also said it offers a broad range of capabilities within the AEC space.

“The Wild is a strong addition to our growing portfolio, and Autodesk’s larger sales, development, and support platforms will help scale its XR offerings in support of our customers,” Fonta said.

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Asked what The Wild adds, Fonta said, “Through the acquisition, Autodesk will gain access to The Wild’s cloud-connected XR solutions, including Iris VR, building on the value of our company’s existing design portfolio for AEC professionals and project owners. At a time in which the AEC industry is rapidly transforming and digitizing, The Wild’s immersive technology allows teams to step inside virtual models to present, collaborate and review projects together, from anywhere in the world. This acquisition enables Autodesk to meet increasing needs for XR technology advancements within the AEC industry and further support AEC customers throughout the project delivery cycle.”

Engineering firm Black & Veatch works with both companies.

“As remote collaboration continues to become the new normal for many professionals across industries
and market sectors, the capabilities of systems like the Autodesk Construction Cloud and The Wild’s

“IrisVR platform help Black & Veatch deliver world-class projects regardless of our professionals’ physical
location,” said Brian Melton, technology innovation lead at Black & Veatch, in a statement. “This type of spatial real-scale immersive experience is a game-changer for our professionals by allowing us to meet virtually within the
project design environment, to talk about the design, conduct reviews and coordinate activities, document potential issues and collect comments aimed at accelerating execution and improving safety. Autodesk’s acquisition of The Wild could create an even more seamless integration of VR into the platforms we use, leading to wider adoption, more capabilities and a shift from what was once sci-fi to a daily activity.”

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