Are Engineers Ready to Go Mobile?

INDUSTRY NEWS

Are Engineers Ready to Go Mobile?
Design News (05/12) Vol. 67, No. 5, P. 48 Stackpole, Beth

There is a movement among engineers to adopt mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones as productivity tools for easing various aspects of their daily tasks without wholly replacing their primary desktop systems and applications. CAD and design tool vendors attribute many engineers' reluctance to embrace mobile devices to a lack of understanding about the technology. The devices currently lend themselves best to consumption and collaboration around engineering data, but tools such as Maple Player for the iPad or Autodesk's AutoCAD WS can give on-the-go engineers easy access to product data, and allow them to take the design with them for more effective collaboration with peers. "In terms of design apps, we are thinking of pretty task-focused apps for something engineers do every day," says PTC's Steve Prideaux-Ghee. "There's only a small number that will be useful." The mobility movement forms the core of Dassault Systemes' 3D experience vision to push engineering and product-related data to users outside of engineers and outside of individuals tied to high-end workstations. "We know that we touch only 5 percent to 10 percent of the company in terms of users working on heavy-duty PCs using 3D tools," says Jacques Leveille, Dassault's CATIA marketing vice president. "If we want to make the 3D experience available to everyone, we need to provide the 3D experience on platforms that are available to everyone." Dassault will initially release versions of its Natural Sketch 2D and 3D sketching tool for mobile devices, and its CATIA Live Shape direct modeling tool, but Leveille says Dassault will have a full suite of mobile design tools by year's end.

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