I have a hard time seeing traditional CAD become primarily a cloud-based tool any time soon given all of those restrictions/concerns Alex cited. However, increasingly we will (and are) seeing hybrid approaches where vendors will offer a smooth transition between both types of delivery methods so the design workflow can flow with the engineer as they move about doing their job, whether building CAD models in the office, collaborating with design partners off site in the field, or catching up on work at home.
nice post, getting all the simulation done in virtual world without spending hefty amount on making the first 'just right' prototype, is going to drive the future and if this is bought to common people's hand instead of just hi-fi technological firms, through various social media and gadgets, it will surely gonna have a big time impact in near future too.
naperlou, thanks for the info about specialized clouds. I'm already familiar with overall cloud computing (so perhaps you were responding to Beth?). The connection between cloud computing and analytics sounds compelling.
Security of data, vendor lock-in, and government privacy and data storage restrictions (certain things from U.S. companies have to be stored on servers physically situated in the United States) make using cloud much more complicated than it initially appears. For CAD vendors, the tightrope they have to walk is that cloud tends to be marketed as a "pay by sip" form of delivery, as opposed to packages software used on the desktop (seat and/or site licenses), which is a "pay a huge chunk of money upfront" model. So the former undercuts the latter, yet many users are demanding cloud. The response from some CAD vendors has been to deliver CAD lite or medium-strength CAD in the cloud, to try to maintain their traditional base. Perhaps the sercurity issues will save them (by keeping users in their traditional desktop mode). Regardless, the rise of tablets and mobile is changing the mode of user interaction with their CAD programs, so there will be ongoing changes in this arena.
I agree with you Naperlou, that organizations are not going to want to stash their invaluable IP in CAD up on the cloud, however I do think the delivery paradigme has legs beyond the very noteable simulation example you reference. There are ways to deliver tools that empower the viewing, collaboration, requirements management, service tasks, etc. around product development without putting the actual IP in the cloud. Autodesk is pitching such a model for its new Autodesk 360 PLM system. Who knows, perhaps this is a model that might resonate more with engineering organizations concerned about the security of their product data.
Ann, cloud computing is just an underlying technology thing. It should not be confused with allowing access to data on hand held or other devices. That can be easily done without the "cloud". It is the network, not the cloud that matters. Your device has no way of knowing if the source of the data is a single machine, a public cloud or private cloud. In fact, the majority of spend on cloud is on private cloud. I don't think CAD and CAE or PLM vendors are going to want to put their software up on any old cloud infrastructure.
Where cloud computing comes in is in the analytics area. The cloud allows one to access large arrays (sometimes called grids) of compute power to run FEA jobs on complex structures. Of course, these are specialized clouds.
Social media applied to users mirrors what is being done in the software development world with Agile. The issue I have with Agile is the hostility to tools (but that is for another forum). The idea is to get frequent feedback from users by releasing often to ensure that what is being built really meets the business need. To some extent this augments systems engineering.
"The Cloud" is a lovely idea in theory, but the government shutdown of MegaUpload is proof enough that I will not be storing corporate data in the cloud.
2009 saw companies "that could not fail" requiring government bailouts or filing for bankruptcy. If that can happen to the giants, it can happen to a cloud provider. Imagine arriving at work one morning to discover your project has disappeared because the cloud company went away, or was seized by the government.
I think you hit it on the head, Beth. Social media requires a younger engineering crew to take it up to the next level. Survey after survey, some of which have appeared in EE Times, has shown that engineers in their 40s, 50s and 60s don't see a useful role for it, even though those skeptics know that there's no stopping it...eventually.
I have to agree with you, Ann. I think social media and mobile will have a big impact, particularly over time as the younger generation anchors in. But product analytics and systems engineering, in particular, are areas that are especially meaty and have bearing for engineers across all disciplines and industries.
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