Anyone can freely browse the Autodesk Labs site; however, when a user downloads a technology preview, he or she needs to log in first. We do this because the Labs site logs the email addresses of those who download technology previews. This allows us to contact the specific users of a particular technology preview and alert them to updates or request their feedback on specific topics. Autodesk Labs uses Autodesk Single Sign-on credentials — the same user ID/password for Subscription Center and other communities.
The infrastructure for capturing the email addresses is not very complicated. The Autodesk Labs site is based on a Drupal architecture. A web-based admin tool allows me to dump the download data as a CSV file. I did so recently and then decided to look at the companies associated with those who perform the downloads. Since I had the data in an Excel spreadsheet with the email address in column D, I could use a formula to compute the company name, as in this example for row 27:
I took advantage of the @ sign that appears in each email address. This isn't a perfect formula because lots of the downloaders have email addresses like @gmail.com or @hotmail.com, but I could easily cull those out.
Using a pivot table I was able to list the companies with the largest number of unique users who downloaded technology previews from Autodesk Labs. This is not to be confused with the most downloads. A company who has 1 employee that downloads 50 different tech previews gets a score of 1 whereas a company with 20 different employees who each downloaded 1 tech preview gets a 20. Although enthusiasts who try many of the technology previews are great, I was looking for companies where Autodesk Labs is popular among the employees who work there.
So the top 3 customers are:
The top 3 dealers or resellers are:
The top 3 educational institutions are:
The technologies available on Labs are there for your feedback. If their future was certain, they would go straight to beta. These companies are embracing the process. For previews that do take the next step, these companies can be assured that the technologies meet their needs, because they have helped shaped them. Thanks to everyone who is active on Autodesk Labs.
Spreadsheet analysis is alive in the lab.