Great point Mydesign. It's definitely THE age, and there's no going back. I agree that CAD and high-end design tools don't translate as-is to the new platforms. So there has to be a rethinking of what functions and tasks actually need to be done in the field or from whereever (when a mobile device makes sense) and adapt those tasks and processes to the mobile footprint. I think that's what IMSI/Design and a lot of the others are doing. It's a not a direct and complete translation.
Beth, now it's the age of portability and hand held computing devices, so big work stations and labs are old stories. Now professionals are looking for all tools and software in their hand held devices especially with Smartphone and Tablets. But I don't know how it's possible because of the large foot print of software and the need of high computational requirements.
I've also noticed how things that used to be called applications are now referred to as apps because the term is en vogue. PTC's Creo line uses that nomenclature to refer to all the "right-sized" applications that work off the same data model, whether it's a parametric molder or a sketching "app."
As for the pricing issue, I agree that once you go beyond a simple front end to an already licensed application (i.e., you already paid for it), the cost of these productivity apps has to be somewhat higher so the company can fund continuing development and make a fair profit to boot!
Beth, this seems like a good productivity tool. The discussion of pricing is intersting as well. The term app was coined for smart phones to indicate a "smaller" application, therefore they were either free or inexpensive. Since they were often tied to some sort of server for the information they displayed, they really were just front ends to an application. This is more like a productive application, so its price will naturally be more. The comment about it paying for itself in one use on the factory floor is also probably correct. This is the majic of software and computers. No matter what we pay for them, they generally pay for themselves very quickly. On the app issue, it is interesting that in Windows 8 Microsoft is generally calling everything an app. When they were asked about the size of the app in the app store Microsoft was setting up, the answer came back at 2GB or more, since Office was listed as an app and was that large. This is another term that has morphed since its inception.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.