The Bay Area-based Autodesk announced Monday all of its design software will be available to students, teachers and academic institutions free in 188 countries.
A press release states “from students as young as 13 years old leveraging Fusion 360 to conceptualize and 3D print prosthetic devices, to college teams developing environmentally sustainable homes using BIM 360 Glue, young talent are pushing the boundaries of design and innovation…”
The free software includes Autodesk’s flagship group of cloud-based products, such as the A360 collaboration platform, design program Maya and Fusion 360 for 3D printing.
Said Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, in the release: “The way we make things is changing rapidly, and we need a workforce ready to design for new manufacturing and construction techniques. By providing free professional design tools to students, faculty members and academic institutions around the world, we’re helping get industry ready for the next phase.”
The decision is rooted in Autodesk’s previously announced domestic commitment to President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative, a project launched in June intended to connect all American students and schools to next-generation Internet network speeds, as ZDNet writes.
But there’s a catch, as TechCrunch points out. “Some cloud services and support require additional paid subscriptions, but that’s pretty much par for the course when it comes to enterprise software sales model these days.”
Earlier this year, Autodesk announced it will invest up to $100 million into “The Spark Investment Fund,” pouring the investment into the work of pioneering entrepreneurs, startups and researchers within the industry.
Autodesk may be losing money short-term with its most recent move, but a savvy B2B brand will see the value in this announcement: Autodesk’s brand and products are firmly planted in a student’s mind during those formative years, and the firm can thus create a lasting relationship with a potential client. Building that kind of trust is priceless, and Autodesk is smart to make this gamble.
Flickr photo taken at AutoDesk Gallery Tour, via user tedeytan