CAD and planning for Stability and Reliability

Watching all the PR stuff with COFES 2012 this week and reflecting on choices. I see the benefit of the cloud in small ways for CAD in things like taking perhaps an IPad like device to a job site and looking at details for a job. Maybe even simple work there but nothing complicated for sure. And the work done there would still be archived and organized back at the place of business.

Looking at the failure of the cloud in a spectacular way at COFES where they surely ought to have been able to deliver reliability if it was humanly possible. Evidently at this point in time it is not. It brings me to thinking about the CAD world and how we make choices for what we use and the ramifications of those choices.

I have been watching with great interest the Dassault debacle over their cloud implementation attempts. Tons of resources poured into stuff customers don’t want any part of. As clarification here I have no idea how this is all being received by Catia users as I am primarily interested in midrange MCAD. I can guess though by seeing Siemens picking up more customers than Dassault is. Insofar as the SW users go there is huge anger over all this mess. Nothing is for sure from the kernal to the way software will or won’t have to operate on the cloud. Dassault regularly sends out conflicting statements of future intent. I think in part this is because they are deciding if they want to even be in a truly cadcentric market or do they think they can make more money with social media driven “experiences”.  In the mean time whole careers built on cad design and geometry creation are in jeopardy as users are faced with cloudy places they don’t want to go to, bugs that are not fixed and emphasis seemingly on everything but robust geometry creation. You don’t think lots of SW users feel this way look at maintenance renewal rates  and comments from people on the web that were huge fans a few years ago who today are not.

Dassault also has another huge problem in that Synchronous Tech which is based on the parasolid kernal is owned by Siemens. There are things in there that make ST the best all around direct modeller out there that are not for sale to competitors. Now DSS is faced with SW having to work on a kernal with features missing or push to their own kernal. All the talk made about not to worry about the parasolid kernal and SW is I believe just a smoke screen. They are already way behind on implementing direct editing and if they don’t do something they are going to get their rears thoroughly kicked. So their choice is to change kernals for the “new” SW Catia Lite and give all the buyers the thrill of having to learn a new program GUI plus failed translations for years to come along with being beta guinea pigs for direct edit developement. Or you can stay with SW traditional and pay fees each year for meager cosmetic improvements until they end it entirely.

Autodesk is now telling everyone they will have to go to the cloud if they intend to use Autodesk products. I am not seeing in statements lately any ambiguity here and so while they are not giving lots of details I suspect it is all about pay for play and the end of things like permanent seats of software. This also means by the way the end of true data ownership by authors because if there are no permanent seats there is no permanent use of their own intellectual property either. Ya gotta pay to play forever no matter how egregious the conditions Autodesk creates for you are in this wonderful new world. I think I can make these types of statements with a high degree of certainty by the way as none of the cad on the cloud companies have lifted a finger to dispel numerous real concerns.

Don’t know a whole lot about ProE or Creo as they are just there and have a fairly large user base and not a whole lot going on. I guess here but perhaps it is a legacy user base that feels more comfortable with what they know over what may work best. Creo does seem to be a company looking for a place to be and a marketable identity.

So this leaves Siemens as the last of the big four software companies. When I bought into Solid Edge it was for the power I saw in direct editing. What it has become in the three plus years since then is a whole lot more.  I see consistent planing with a goal in best in class geometry creation. There are things coming up in the near future that even the most diehard surface modeller from SW will have no complaints about ending this last perceived lack of ability. SE is already the best all around implementation of direct editing out there. It is the best midrange MCAD modeller right now for mechanical parts which is the vast majority of all MCAD. The only thing lacking outside of the soon to be fixed surfacing is the integration of  other products. This too though has become a priority and will be fixed in the near future.

Oh, and can I say that there has been no mention of forced use of clouds here?

While many are faced with huge and disruptive changes I can say that this is not the case here with SE and I assume NX although I don’t use NX or keep up to date on it. No kernal change forthcoming. Mature direct editing. An emphasis on geometry where developement funds are used to my benefit and not to create pay for play cloud crap or “Minimoys”. Everything I see and hear is strictly business and that business is geometry creation. Bass at Autodesk/Inventor is telling you what you are going to get like it or not. Bernard of SW/Dassault capers across the stage with his IPad and tells you that you are going to like “immersive experiences” just because he says so. ProE/Creo ???? don’t have a clue. SE on the other hand is all about what you want and need to do your job in the most effective way possible.

I made a choice to move to SE from VX/ZW3D for CAD because it was a logical decision based on what benefited me in part creation and especially in ease of working with imported geometry and existing part changes. What it has become since then regarding the trashing of users by Dassault and Autodesk and the go nowhere philosophy at Creo is a whole lot more. It has become a stable future with a company that has a plan that includes my desires and needs with a product that is tremendously useful and quickly improving.

There are a lot of you CAD users out there who are faced with bad things and you have some choices to make that will affect the rest of you and or your company’s future. If stability, capabilities and reliability of the software you use combined with a corporate management philosophy that includes user needs and input along with a clear and concise roadmap for the future is important to you, I think you should have a look at SE. I have been well served and you will be to.

Let me add something here. I don’t get freebies or software or anything from Se that any other user does not get. I pay my way entirely out of my own pocket in every area. This blog happened primarily because most of the time I truly enjoy working with SE. Yeah thats right nothing is perfect. And I believe there should be a greater user community out there for SE so I am willing to spend some time helping it along. I recommend and support SE because it has proven itself to me to be tremendously beneficial to what I do for a living.

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