@Greg; @Jack: I think you're both right in terms of the need trying to be served. For out in the field markup and collaboration, the ability to manipulate lightweight models is really all you need, hence the high utility of smart phones and tablets. But the idea of being able to go further and do some hard core CAD modeling work is also appealing, especially once the devices whet your appetite for doing more. I think we'll get there over time.
@TJ: That's a real eye opener in how dependent we really are on these devices.What a shame that a job site that could have profited from the use of mobile technology wouldn't allow it. I wonder given the proliferation of these devices and our increasing dependence on them, how long a mandate like that would be realistic.
Integrated technology is sometimes a hindrence. This past week the project I oversaw during installation was in a location that absolutely forbade cameras of any kind. Phones were not a problem, but no photography could be tolerated.
I had to leave my android smartphone AND my laptop computer in the construction company's trailer outside the secure area.
This particular startup had more difficulties than normal and would have benefited from a tablet and software as you've desrcribed. An Ipad with its cameras would not have made it past the checkpoint.
We were left with paper and pencil.
I did a lot of standing around Thursday and Friday. No phone, no computer. Heck, I use my phone for a watch so I couldn't even look at the time.
Yes, I do agree with you Jack that many times mark-ups in the field would be great on a simplified representation of the part or assembly and this would be adequate and powerful. However, as the design engineer, I'm eager for the day when I can pull up the entire CAD assembly and do some focused work in the field (to offset the extra emails and task assignments that accumulated during the time that I was out of office). Maybe in the not to distance future...
True, Greg, but do we really need all that power when we're out in the field? If it's just a layer or two that is being looked at or simple notes / mark-ups being made, the high-power stuff can be done later.
I eagerly await more and more CAD tools apps for tablets and smartphones. However, given the large assemblies and high processor power that our designs need, I'm thinking that these apps for me will be an extension of our existing 3D CAD tools at best (at worst they will be too painfully slow). I am hopeful that processing power will catch up to the need in the long term.
Beth, as mentioned in the article mobile apps are designed as an extension of the corporate structured suite of CAD tools not a replacement. When Jeff Hawkins created the PDA, his vision was to replace the desktop PC. Today we still have desktop PCs with computing power matching Cray machines.
This technology serves as part of a much larger trend -- that is, the tendancy for our offices to follow us everywhere. This could be great or scary, depending on how you look at it. Tools like these could enable us to spend less time at the main office, but more time working. The walls between work and the rest of our lives are crumbling, bit by bit.
Beth, I think your article answeres the question that was prompted by the emergence of mobile devices for design engineers. Do they actually need these mobile apps? By the way, I'm impressed by your use of "obviate."
Dave, I think you are describing the initial resistance by many of your peer engineers perfectly. But once you get over it and get used to the utility of being able to access email and key materials on the fly, you definitely get hooked and are perhaps more open to exploring some of your more traditional engineering tools on these platforms.
Most of the PLM vendors are working on mobile capabilities for the PLM systems (note, I did not say mobile VERSIONS of their PLM systems). No one has drunk the mobile punch enough to believe you can run a full-blown PLM system on a phone or even a tablet. But you can benefit from some of the capabilities on a mobile device.
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