Siemens PLM Software's open standards work-around, specifically its JT Open format, was another impetus for the partnership. As part of the agreement, Local Motors will adopt Siemens PLM Software's JT data format as the 3D standard for viewing all uploaded CAD models to the community and will offer a no-charge, browser-based 3D viewing capability based on the standard.
Local Motors' work with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on the Rally Fighter, a combat support vehicle designed in four months, earned kudos from President Obama last summer at a manufacturing summit. Specifically, the president credited Local Motor's co-creation approach to vehicle design for collapsing development time and for its potential to save taxpayers billions of dollars in R&D costs.
Local Motors' next project is the Open Electric Vehicle, a crowdsourcing effort to create and design a reusable, open-source chassis that can be included in electric vehicles.
This is fantastic news on so many levels. Collaborative design is a important emerging technology and the availability of subscription-based professional design tools is a critical step in its development and adoption. Kudos to Siemens PLM Software for not only providing an innovative product but for having the courage to try out a new revenue model.
I agree William. Now obviously this tool is just available to the Local Motors community, but if there is traction, I would imagine, Siemens (and potentially other CAD/PLM providers) would explore other, similar partnerships and licensing arrangements. The high cost of professional CAD has long been an inhibitor. Between announcements like this and some of the lower cost tools released over the last few years, you don't necessarily have to have flush pockets to get into 3D digital modeling.
I see a carefully crafted marketing phrase in the statement:
"Siemens officials say it has the same technology as the full-function version of Solid Edge, including 3D parts modeling with synchronous technology -- but at price point comparable to some of the free or low-cost tools."
I read "It has the same technology" as saying it does not have all the functions.
The question I'd ask first is "What's missing?" 3D parts modeling is good, but a single part does not exist alone. Assemblies put parts together.
TANSTAAFL. There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. They're not giving away a full function modeling suite, so what's missing?
$240 per year is VERY attractive, if the software is not limited to much. That's MUCH less than the annual renewal fee for full function 3D modeling software.
Another caveat I'd worry about is where the software actually resides. Is it run from the cloud, or does one download a large package. I'd much prefer to run locally instead of the cloud.
Good questions, TJ. I'll see if I can get Siemens to wade in. My guess, and it's only a guess, is that the parts modeling with synchronous technology is good for parts, not assemblies. If I recall, that's how they rolled it out initially with SolidEdge--first it supported ST with parts, then a latter release with assemblies. I will circle back once I have some more definitive answers.
I’ll wade in: Solid Edge Design1 can be used for both parts and assemblies.The software does not reside in the cloud – it installs and runs on the user’s machine.Early reaction from users has been positive, in terms of the functionality the tool offers and the price point.TJ, if not a free lunch, you might consider this a “value meal.” ;-)
Thanks for wading in, John, and for setting the record straight. Can you be a bit more specific as to what this version lacks in terms of features and capabilities that would be in the full-priced release of Solid Edge?
Beth: In answer to your earlier question, we worked very closely with Local Motors to determine what CAD functionality was most important to their design community and at what price. This helped us determine what was in and what was out. So for example, we did not include specialized functionality such as simulation, tubing and automated drawings. One of our goals was to avoid including features that were not central requirements of this group and would have raised the price unnecessarily.
Seems like a reasonable approach to weeding out potential "luxury" or "overkill" features. After all, over the years, CAD has become packed with zillions of features and add-on capabilities that take it in all kinds of directions. Perhaps, this is a back to your roots strategy for making the tools more affordable. Thanks for you input, John.
I'm wondering if this is just another version of a big company eating its own dog food so that it isn't giving up low-end business. It's the same thing with cloud, where the Autodesks of the world (Siemens, in this story) have expensive, per seat or site licensed products. But they know there are customers that can't pay, have lower end needs, or use freeware. So they search around the margins for ways to get their business. In some sense, cloud and subscription-based tools are the new-age version of "lite" programs sold back in the day. Not a really fair comparison, but you get the analogy.
Funny, just interviewed a CAD analyst that said much the same thing. I think there is growing recognition that there are engineers out there--and more to come, given the younger generation born and bred on Web-based and mobile software tools--that are going to want bite-sized, lite and far more accessible design tools to work the way they're accustomed to working. Perhaps Siemens, Autodesk, and the rest of the CAD arena is experimenting with these new licensing models to see what kind of traction they can get, leading to a dual-licensing model strategy that hits both the high and low ends in the future.
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