Time is running fast, or so we imagine. Instead it is space that is changing as always. Because if the Universe stood completely still time will cease to move also and everything would also be dead. Physics or metaphysics? But as living architects, engineers, creators and entrepreneurs we need to look into the Future and to foresee what is coming. What is the future of CAD?

CAD, or Computer Aided Design has been around for a while now. We have learned to draw lines and squares and perhaps even objects in 3D on our desktops or our laptops.
But we are still stuck behind the desks - but in other disciplines this has already changed! Sales people, journalists and others can now be found working almost anywhere using Smartphones, Pads and keeping most of both operating systems, software and files in the Cloud instead of on their computers or on their local servers.

Another line of development can be seen in SF dreams where enhanced reality, holographic designing  and such things appear. Perhaps not really feasible yet, but still...I mean we already have multi touch screens and even multi touch tables!

So what does all this mean to us working with drawings, creators of the world's Infrastructure in the form of housing, buildings, roads, railways etc? Do we need to change? Or shall we still print, print and then print some more PDFs, DWGs, DGNs, PLAs and so on? And if some nerd tells us that we need to change is there a point to listen or just take another cup of terrible decaf coffee?

These questions were of course rhetorical - OF COURSE WE MUST CHANGE!

First of all we need to think about the environment. Sustainability is important -  not producing so much paper and not so much ink and so on that printing requires. And the electricity of course. But there is also the working environment. All those prints creates dust and noise which both are bad for us. And the need to have everything locally creates the need to use heavy laptops that you still have to carry around. Carrying 3 kilos back and forth every working day means carrying a mid size car on your shoulder every year!

Then we must consider quality. Having dozens of copies of our files make us never really knowing if the file we open is the last or even the right one. This can cause massive costs, frustration and even create dangerous constructions if we are unlucky. In the Cloud data only exists in one place.

Then there is time(if there is time!). Installing new versions of software, copying files for safety reasons and ordering new software takes time. Time you could use for better things. In a Cloud solution all updates for all your software is done in one place, not on 50 laptops.

Then we have security. If you keep everything on your laptop and it falls to the floor, gets lost or stolen your also equally lost. If your local server breaks down or the building catches fire you might lose a lot of data. You might retort that it is not safe having your data in Cloud servers and that data should be kept close to you for safety reasons - but if you really compare vulnerability of a local Internet connected server at your office with a Cloud facility with all your encrypted data stored on several servers behind efficient firewalls your local server is in trouble.

And if we raise ourselves and enter into the Cloud - what then?
Then we could use lighter equipment and be more flexible in time and space.

At this point we can start imagine ourselves using a multi touch Pad instead of out standard old laptop or even using our smart phone for some things too.Gone is the times of carrying huge weights around. And parts of the CAD industry has started on this path already.

Graphisoft has for example started their BIMx  project

Bentley has shown that ProjectWise and Bentley Navigator can work on a Pad.

But Autodesk has gone as far as actually creating an iPhone Application called AutoCAD WS and they also have the SketchBook Pro app and more.

So right now Autodesk is leading the Pad Race but I would guess the other companies will start working now to get the process rolling.
The multi touch Pad - produced by Apple, Samsund, Asus, Sony or whoever - is the Flexible Future of CAD!

In my mind the Software companies must produce software that can run on all the platforms that all the Pads can run on. Gone are the days when a Software manufacturer could say: "We only make this in one version". Until every software is constructed to run on ANY platform there must be versions made for all.

So let us get used to talking no more about CAD on laptops and desktops as our designs will more and more will be done using software on a pad.

We need to start talking PAD fluently - or die!

But the Holographic Designing then?  Yes I would really like to see that coming too....You can dream, can't you?

Finally about  the coffee. Stop drinking coffee without coffee, go for real coffee or start drinking something else instead! Nuff said.

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  • I'd like to think of PAD as the past of CAD, We are supposed to work in 3D but are limited to flat devices.

    Holographic things, why not one day,

    3D Screen exist, were are the high definition 3D glasses so I can turn my head to extand my "virtual" field of vision?

    Devices are able to detect my movements without touching something...

    What else do we need?