IBSystems Adds FreeCADApps.com To Its Growing On-Line Engineering Network With More Than 6,000 Free CAD Software Downloads

IBSystems Adds FreeCADApps.com To Its Growing On-Line Engineering Network With More Than 6,000 Free CAD Software Downloads

Internet Business Systems, Inc. (IBSystems) announced the addition of the www.FreeCADApps.com website to its family of technical web portals after acquiring this asset from IMSI, a publicly traded company (OTCBB:IMSI). This robust and well-established web site includes almost 6,000 free, downloadable CAD software programs used by mechanical and architectural designers. The site also boasts high traffic and a large and loyal user base.

David Heller, IBSystems' President, said: "Adding FreeCadApps to our network makes MCADCafe.com, AECCafe.com and the IBSystems Network the leading destination for engineers and designers who want to experience demo CAD software and free CAD utilities and programs."

Visit www.FreeCADApps.com to learn how to feature your demo or download free software.

IBSystems is a leading provider of web portals and virtual trade shows targeted at computer modeling professional audiences. Its EDACafe.com, MCADCafe.com, CADalog.com, FreeCADApps.com, GISCafe.com, AECCafe.com, PCBCafe, DCCCafe, NanotechCafe, and TechJobsCafe web portals bring valuable resources and timely information and job opportunities to professionals in the Electronic Design Automation (EDA), Mechanical Computer Aided Design (MCAD), Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Architectural Engineering (AEC), Printed Circuit Board (PCB), Digital Content Creation (DCC), and Nanotechnology industries. Its TechJobsCafe brings employers and jobseekers together in each of these high-tech fields. IBSystems complements their portals with Virtual Trade shows online publications. The company is building and launching additional industry-focused vertical portals and products on an on-going basis. Please visit http://www.ibsystems.com to learn more about IBSystems.

This is the second acquisition that IBSystems has made from IMSI, and, like last week's announcement about the acquisition of CADalog.com, will benefit our subscribers and the mechanical design/engineering community at large. The newest acquisition, FreeCADApps.com, is a unique and diverse collection of software (currently 5,872 files) of demonstration applications, fully-functional applications, utilities, benchmarks, viewers, models, and drawings available as freeware, shareware, and free-trial software. Some of the mechanical design/engineering CAD applications supported include AutoCAD, AutoCAD Mechanical, Rhino, and SolidWorks. There are even some CAE products available, as well. On the main page there are links to the newest files, the Top 20 Downloads, and an Evaluation Center that contains a collection of software programs you can test drive before purchasing. All of the products for download are rated by the downloaders themselves (from poor to excellent), and the size of the download and the number of times an application has been downloaded are also displayed, along with its type - freeware, shareware, demo, evaluation, etc. The files vary in size from a few KB to MB. On the download page for any application, you see all of the information pertaining to that specific application's file, including a detailed description, as well as comments from others who have downloaded it. Because they fill so many niches not addressed by their parent applications, the products available from FreeCADApps.com will help just about everybody optimize the parent applications for their mechanical design and engineering environment and the way they work.

Windchill On Demand

PTC announced it will tap an IBM on demand service center to offer small and medium business (SMB) manufacturers access to PTC's product development solutions. The service provides these capabilities to companies that have traditionally faced initial startup, infrastructure, and administrative obstacles.

The service will provide SMB manufacturers with Windchill, the PTC solution for product data management and collaborative project management, through a shared hosted environment. The service allows manufacturers to control all product information, collaborate with partners, suppliers and customers on design activities, and manage the development process throughout the life of a product. The service will be offered as a per-user, subscription model starting as low as $100 per month. The service will be sold by resellers of PTC solutions and can be used with all major CAD products.

PTC's software will be hosted in IBM's Boulder, Colo. on demand service center, which uses IBM Universal Management Infrastructure (UMI) technology to distribute software as a service.

With the service, customers will have access to leading technology used by the world's foremost manufacturers to shorten the product development timeframe and provide access to external resources for real-time collaborative design. Ultimately, the service will help manufacturers use technology to reduce their cost of doing business without the associated investments.

"Santa Cruz Bicycles uses Windchill to develop market-leading products that outclass our largest competitors," said David Earle, director of engineering, Santa Cruz Bicycles. "PTC offers SMBs like Santa Cruz Bicycles easy-to-use technology in a delivery model that we can afford, thanks to IBM on demand services."

"With IBM advanced service technology, PTC now offers a flexible and easy-to-afford delivery model that removes the technology barriers that can inhibit SMBs from successfully competing with larger companies that have more technology resources," said James Heppelmann, executive vice president and chief product officer, PTC. "The service can be deployed in just a few days and will safeguard the SMB's investment as their business grows and their technology needs expand."

This announcement from PTC is interesting because it illustrates a trend that has been around for a while in the business/enterprise software arena, and is emerging in engineering (especially CAE) software - the concept of software not necessarily being offered as just a product, but as a service. This model makes sense for the vendor and user, but for much different reasons. With the service subscription model, for the vendor, distribution, support, and payment are major issues that are largely taken care of based on the nature of the model itself. For the user, paying only for what you need when you need it are attractive reasons for at least considering the model. However, for the user, I can envision issues with the learning curve involved with using an application that may not be used for periods of time. All in all, though, outwardly, the subscription service model for Windchill seems like a good direction for PTC in that it will hopefully level the playing field a bit for SMBs and let them compete with the big boys with big IT budgets. I also suspect that over time, the service subscription model will be offered by more vendors and embraced by more users for economic and practical reasons, especially for expensive, high-end software applications.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached here or 408.850.9230.

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