MCAD/MCAE Industry View – A November 2010 Update

Both analysts and generalists having the right tool for the job is an important consideration for vendors. Said Vaughn, “I see a trend that engineers and their management are realizing that, in fact, they need a toolbox, and that one tool does not fit all jobs. My prediction is that what remains of the 1990s trend to reduce software vendors will turn back in favor of encouraging competition and making sure that engineers have the right tool for each job.”

Added Klimpke, “Given the reluctance of business to increase hiring, some designers will have to get involved in parts of designs that were previously not in their realm.” As a result, said Klimpke, the tools they use must be easy to learn and supported well by the vendor.

High-performance computing enhancements also will impact simulation and analysis next year. “As the industry makes strides in making high-performance computing more prevalent and more affordable, organizations will want to leverage engineering simulation tools to find not just a good design, but the optimal design,” explained Choudhury.

“Social networking for simulation, simulation on the cloud, and high-performance computing are all trends - evolving or developing - that vendors will increasingly need to pay attention to,” said Berry.

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In April 2006, the writer of this November 2010 MCAD/MCAE Commentary received the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from The CAD Society, presented by CAD Society president Jeff Rowe at COFES2006 in Scottsdale, AZ. Subsequently, in February 2007, the writer became affiliated with Cyon Research's select group of experts on business and technology issues as a Senior Analyst. This Cyon Research connection aids and supplements the writer's ongoing, independent consulting practice (HENKE ASSOCIATES), and of course the Cyon connection occasionally influences the contents of issues of the articles written for the quarterly MCAD Commentary and/or the articles written as a contributing editor of EDAcafé WEEKLY. While Cyon Research has held annual COFES sessions in Scottsdale AZ every spring since 1999, in January 2010 Cyon announced that a COFES would also be held in Tel Aviv, Israel in December 2010. See this URL:


So in preparation for the current November MCAD Commentary, the writer would occasionally “graze” news tidbits about “doings” in Israel.

One Israeli “news source” kept popping up - blogs from a group called GarargeGeeks, which describes itself as an Israeli-based not-for-profit physical and virtual space for innovative and creative people to introduce, network, expose, create, brainstorm, innovate and build. People that take part in the activities come from different disciplines such as electronics, software, mechanical, art, design, music, hacking and gaming. The spirit of GarageGeeks promotes building non-commercial projects that may otherwise not come to life. The GarageGeeks is an Israeli Registered Association (Amuta).

The home of GarageGeeks is located in the Holon Industrial Zone, Israel. The garage is a 100 square meter space that includes heavy and light machine tools, electronic components, a software development environment and raw project materials. The garage hosts monthly evening events which are all about meeting people, networking, gaming and eating, starting with monthly presentations to discuss some of the topics that are of interest to the garage community.

GarageGeeks is sponsored by Gemini Israel Funds and Carmel Ventures. Recently the writer of the MCAD Commentary came across a news tidbit dated October 22, 2010 that said that the GarageGeeks and Yossi Vardi were going to be hosting Carl Bass, Autodesk CEO. In following up, the writer then saw an article by one Shmulik Shelah dated November 14, 2010 where the latter met with Carl at such a GarageGeeks session on November 2, 2010. The article appeared in Globes [online], Israel business news -

Carl Bass was apparently en route from India back to the USA, and stopped in Israel to fulfill a promise he made last year after acquiring an Israeli company named “Visual Tao,” now called “Planned Platform,” which currently pursues developing remote access to engineering design software via the Internet.

The Shkulik Shelah article went on to quote Carl as saying, "Our software is not interesting, unless you give it to creative people who do interesting things. Over the past 15 years, every movie that has won an Academy Award in the US for visual effects used Autodesk software. Something crazy is happening in the world of mobile telephone applications. A year ago, some of our guys began a project unauthorized by management, in which they adapted the software to work with the (Apple) iPhone. We didn't believe that anyone would want to use it, but we were wrong. There is big use. The illustrations created following the use of (our) Sketchbook software for iPhone's has caused millions of users to consider buying the software. We've been in the business for 28 years, and 10-12 million copies of our software have been purchased to date. That's a lot, but it's only an average of (400,000 per year) over all the years, and all of a sudden half a million people bought the “app” software at the application store. This was the cheapest project we ever did, which reached more people than any other project. It surprised me."

Your MCAD Commentary writer was intrigued and went looking for some news release he might have missed while he was off doing EDA WEEKLY research. And there it was, a News Release from Autodesk dated September 30, 2010, entitled, “Autodesk Launches Web and Mobile Access to AutoCAD Designs -- AutoCAD WS extends AutoCAD through the cloud to web and iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.”

On September 30, 2010 Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK) announced the availability of AutoCAD WS, a new free web application that uses cloud computing technology to enable AutoCAD software users to view, edit and share their AutoCAD designs and DWG files through web browsers and mobile devices. The AutoCAD WS mobile application for iOS is also now available as a free app in the App Store for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

"Through anytime anywhere access to AutoCAD designs, the AutoCAD WS web and iOS app greatly simplifies the way designers and engineers work in the field and with multiple stakeholders," said Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, Autodesk Platform Solutions and Emerging Business. "Autodesk has a long history of making design more accessible, and AutoCAD WS is the latest example of how Autodesk is using cloud computing and mobile platforms to extend design beyond the desktop, while helping accelerate better design."

The AutoCAD WS web application was previously available as "Project Butterfly," a technology preview on Autodesk Labs that was used by more than 75,000 people to view, edit and share AutoCAD designs through their web browsers.

With the commercial launch of AutoCAD WS, users can upload and manage designs in their online workspace directly from their AutoCAD desktop software through a new free plug-in now available for download, or as part of the Subscription Advantage Pack for AutoCAD 2011. The plug-in is compatible with 2011 English language versions of AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT and other AutoCAD products. This capability will also be integrated into the soon to be released AutoCAD for Mac software.

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