Cloud-Based CAD Set to Skyrocket

As per findings of a survey conducted in November 2015 by the Business Advantage Group, no sooner many more business will be embracing cloud-based CAD systemsWith this adoption the CAD delivery method sets to grow by 70 percent in the year ahead and by 164 percent within the next five years. This is a market research and consultancy firm that follows CAD and product life cycle management trends.

The survey found that 11 % of respondents presently use a CAD system that resides on vendor servers; i.e. in the cloud. Very recently around 19 % say they expect to be designing with a cloud-based CAD system. Assumptions are that the number could rise to 29 % within the next five years, as per the survey.

The survey sampled 610 CAD users and decision makers across a global range of companies of different sizes and across industries. Approximately 180 respondents are using or planning to use cloud-based CAD software.

Chris Turner said that cloud-based CAD continues to be an area of interest in today’s market. Turner is Business Advantage managing director.

CAD users’ interest in a cloud-based model is reflected across many industries that use various types of software accessible through the cloud. Market research firm IDC expects sales of cloud software to surpass $100 billion by 2018, improving at a compound annual growth rate of 21.3 percent. That company predicts subscription-based software-as-a-service delivery model which is another name for cloud-based delivery will significantly outpaced conventional styles of software delivery, growing nearly five times faster than the entire software market and accounting for $1 of every $5 spent on software by 2018.

CAD in the cloud is different from cloud-based licensing, in which software subscriptions are managed in cloud while the software continues to operate on local machines. Cloud-based CAD systems is completely based on vendor servers. While users access the software on their local desktops or mobile gadgets, the software doesn’t exist on those gadgets; it resides on distant servers.

Jon Hirschtick, Onshape founder said that though CAD software is increasingly moving to a cloud-based, subscription-service model, the roughly 9 dollar billion 3D CAD market remains very fragmented. His three-year-old company recently released the first fully cloud-based 3D design software.

Its notable that 58 percent of respondents to the Business survey were aware of cloud-based CAD, a number that included users of all levels, including managers, executives and daily engineering and design users.

Those who already use or plan to use cloud-based CAD are interested because the software is mobile, as per sources. That is, it can be accessed from various locations on desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. They also cite cloud-based software’s updating ease–vendors automatically update the software—and its increased storage capacity. Companies can ramp up storage on vendor servers without purchasing additional means of storage on-site.

Hirschtick said that Desktop software must be continually updated, which can make for compatibility issues.

He added that with CAD software on the desktop, users are stuck with problems around getting everyone a copy of the CAD system and the CAD data. When you have copies of the software all over the place, people end up with different software versions and different CAD files and they worry about overriding change and where the latest version is.

Survey respondents also stated that cloud-based CAD offers good scalability, as a consequence additional users can be added or quickly.

Respondents from the engineering, architecture and construction industry were most interested in cloud-based CAD’s increased mobility, perhaps because users from that sector take CAD designs into the field more often than do manufacturers.

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