3D CAD in the Cloud

Looks like a couple of the leading 3D vendors, namely Autodesk and 3D Systems are trying to motivate their customers to move to the cloud. In the case of 3D Systems, who has been on a serious buying spree announced this week the purchase of TeamPlatform, a software that claims to allow you to create a project portal in minutes. 3D Systems is one of the leading 3D printer manufacturers, which is certainly about as hot a technology as laser scanning.

On the Autodesk front they announced InfraWorks 360 Pro. Autodesk InfraWorks 360 Pro is a “pay as you go” software as a service (SaaS) solution for which Autodesk is charging approximately $1200 per quarter (varies by country). The quarterly pricing will include  150 cloud credits which Autodesk describes as a “unit of measurement to perform tasks such as a vertical optimization for a road design in InfraWorks 360 Pro or a simulation in Autodesk 360.

Paul McRoberts, VP of the modeling group explained the this solution is data agnostic and allows the user to create a unified data model in the context of the real world. “We don’t care if it’s a CAD file from Autodesk, Bentley or Intergraph or anyone else,” said McRoberts. They don’t, but customers do.

From what I understand these two key 3D players see each other as major competitors in this space. Should be good for customers and interesting to watch.

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2 Responses to 3D CAD in the Cloud

  1. Steven says:

    At my firm, we will just use another program. Charging by project/process is not a good way to learn or advance your skills. How would we feel if we were charged per mb for internet service. Remember the days of cell phone minutes or car rental miles? That’s not what the customer wants. Plus now my production speed can be effected by my internet signal. What about out in the field? Airport internet is not always free. Not all hotels have free internet. I can’t get a youtube video to load at times, so putting my professional work at the same risk is not going happen for us. We work in remote areas and sometimes have no internet. They’ll be special borrowing of licenses or whatever, but I just want to click the icon and work. I know this is better for the software companies, but It’s worse for us.

  2. Mike Ulrich says:

    I have to agree with Steven. Good for software, bad for us. It reminds me a bit of the “earthwork racket.” Autocad gives you the ability to size and rotate the grid squares and apply all degrees of freedom to determine a volume by many various methods and print it out. You calculate it for bond amounts and it takes a bit of care and redundancy to get it right.

    A couple weeks later, you get a call from an earth moving contractor asking for your cad file. You offer the quantities to your client and the contractor says, “It’s not Pay Dirt. It’s not Agtek. We like the report formatting. Pay dirt is the only software that gets it right.” They tell the client that they will calculate the REAL earthwork for $200 for 200 acres of grading. (Sometimes, it seems that they are just trying to pad their quantities.)

    I don’t need anyone to “vertically optimize” my road design. We wont buy it, but contractors will, they will rely on it, market it, and try to eat our lunch.

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