Does the new age of functionality extend to portable CAD? I know there are lots of iPad apps. Wondering about Android tablets, as well as whether any worthwhile CAD functionality can be extended downward to smartphone (iPhone) platforms.
There have been a flurry of mobile apps in the so-called CAD arena--most around simple viewing and markup. I don't think we'll ever see a full-function CAD tool on a mobile platform (Android or Apple), but I think we'll start to see peeled back layers of functionality that make sense in the mobile paradigme for the way engineers work--what they need access to in the field, etc. I think this will be a big area for development next year.
From my perspective, the biggest breakthrough has also been ease of use improvements over the years. CAD packages now seem so much more intuitive and easier to use than the versions I learned on in the 90's. I think this also helps productivity by making it easier for everyone to use these packages.
@Greg: There have definitely been improvements in terms of ease of use around CAD software. I think the vendors were beat on for years because of the arcane nature of how to navigate a CAD program. As users got more accustomed to the way business applications worked with graphical user interfaces and wizards and tool bars, they expected the same from their CAD tools.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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