Beth: I think the other motivating factor here is that so many people bring their work home now. More and more often, I hear people talk about their home offices. It only makes sense that if you're bringing work home, you'll want the conveneince of using your home technology.
It's interesting with this era of people bringing more and more of their own tools to work what will happen with policies at work. Before the employers supplied all of the tools and you had to sign one of those little pieces of paper which said you woudn't do anything bad. But now, if it's your computer that you are using, or your phone or your laptop, pad phone thingy. What liability does the company feel for you have work files or pics on your stuff. Interesting to think about.
Not only do most employees not wait for employers to outfit them with the latest and greatest in technology, but they are calling the shots in terms of telling IT departments what they want to use and what needs support. Users of CAD and design tools could be the exception because they do need the heavy-duty (read expensive) workstations and might be so game to pony up for the purchase. But in the end, both older and younger generations of engineers are going to want the flexibility of deploying their own smart phones, laptops, and tablets to garner access to their work product whether on the job, in the field, or at home.
When I thought about this story, I realized that it's absolutely true. In the old days, it seemed like everyone waited for their employer to buy the next 286/386/486 PC. Now, I keep hearing, "My wife/husband bought me an iPad for Christmas/birthday." No one's waiting for the corporate trickeldown anymore. So, yes, the CAD guys could really get caught off guard by this.
Ultimately, I think the wall coming down is a good thing. This user demand for certain types of interfaces and smart phone-ready tools will be more important to the younger generation of engineers, no doubt. But if what's happening in traditional business software portends any broader trend, the CAD guys better be ready.
Thanks Beth for an interesting story. It's heartening to see design tool makers paying attention. Or maybe it's just the fact that they are consumers, too. In any case, that wall going down sounds like a good thing.
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