Autodesk, provider of 3D design software, has announced the acquisition of SaaS Building Information Modeling (BIM) provider Horizontal Systems as part of an effort to make its first cloud moves. While financial terms of the deal haven't been disclosed, we know Autodesk is moving fast, as it looks to complete the acquisition by the time Q4 FY 2012 ends on Jan. 31, 2012.

BIM is a technological field mainly aimed at the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC -- everything's a TLA with these guys) vertical markets. Given that Autodesk just announced its Autodesk 360 for BIM collaboration and data lifecycle management solution, Horizonal Systems' technology is a natural fit to extend its vision into the cloud.

“Horizontal Systems technology will help accelerate our Autodesk 360 for BIM capabilities by allowing multi-discipline teams to more easily communicate and synchronize information -- helping reduce waste and errors during the design and construction of AEC projects and leading to faster, more efficient project delivery,” said Jim Lynch, vice president of Architecture, Engineering and Construction Solutions for Autodesk, in a prepared statement.

The eventual goal is for Horizontal Systems to enable Autodesk customers -- and the channel partners that serve them -- to collaborate on 3D models in real time via the cloud. In the meantime, Autodesk will continue to serve all of Horizontal's customers.

This isn't really a market segment TalkinCloud hears about regularly, and our last update on Autodesk's cloud strategy way back in April 2011 (where -- surprise! -- Autodesk listed collaboration as a main priority of its cloud strategy), but my interest is piqued. We'll be keeping an ear to the ground for updates.