Three big evolutions are shaping the future of computer-aided design software and influencing CAD users’ expectations — and enabling a highly personalized experience, seamless and expanded collaboration, and universal access to game-changing insights.

(Image: Autodesk)

The Growing Importance of Personalization

The future lies in providing users with platform technologies that can easily be configured and augmented. Within the product, it will be simple for users to discover and test add-ons and third-party vertical applications complementing a base product.

Adding updated features to your existing workflow and upgrading software will be seamless. This will be true not only for features, user interfaces, and tools, but also for training and learning materials, content, additional subscription benefits, and more — all of which will be recommended or served at the right time based on the user’s design intent and preferences.

The shift toward a subscription model and cloud-based services will allow software vendors to become much more intelligent and agile in terms of offering what’s right for each user and organization, while also helping them gradually and seamlessly adopt the next level of technology

Improved Collaboration Will Occur in the Cloud

Now, imagine a world where collaborating is more streamlined. The move to cloud-based design technology will free up some of the constraints that arise when only a single user can work on a file at a time. A world where connecting different tools is seamless and file formats and software releases won’t matter or exist, freeing users from the challenges of versions, compatibility and interoperability. There will be one version, one platform and one design, and it will be maintained in the cloud. The advent of design and drafting software reduces the time and cost to change a design, enabling far greater degrees of collaboration.

The power of the crowd is really where the new generation of CAD will find its potential.  At some point, there will be digital marketplaces and social networks that will allow CAD users to connect with one another from within their application, share — and eventually monetize best practices, content, add-ons, and engineering solutions.

Universal Access to Rich Data and Transformational Insights

The real value of having data stored in the cloud will come from the insights that will be provided back to users, design team managers and executives. For example, one challenge for users is not being able to reuse old designs, as old data isn’t well archived, or is hard to search (or when knowledge leaves with employees). Analyzing data from past projects will provide users with contextual content, like blocks or templates, as people design.

Almost any question you could ask about a project will have an answer: How many individuals in a department touched the model? How many hours have been spent on the project across different disciplines and tasks? What were the friction points, and where can workflows be improved?

Companies embracing the cloud early on for their design and collaboration applications will have a significant competitive advantage.

>> Read more by Rob Maguire, IndustryWeek, April 13, 2017

Shaping the Future of CAD