This being Berlin, maybe the headline should read “Love Blogging”
Alright, so here we are tucked away in a small theater behind a room at the back of a craft store (The Snuggery). This is the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, part of the former West Berlin, and so holding a product launch in this secret cinema feels all very Spy vs Spy.
Wilfried Graebert is the CEO of Graebert GhbH, a software firm that began as an Autodesk distributor for Europe. I won’t go into all the history here, but now Graebert is one of the largest DWG-compatible CAD software companies in the world. They have operated under the radar: 7 million downloads of CAD software based on the ARES OEM engine, three million licensed. Them’s AutoCAD-sized numbers, and very few know that Graebert is #2 after Autodesk. CAD software based on OEM includes DraftSight and CorelCAD.
“Most 2D and 3D CAD packages now do the job. Most new features are just for a fraction of users,” says Mr Graebert. This year, his emphasis is on stability; next year, on mobile CAD apps.
Cedric Desbordes is head of sales and marketing, and is reminding us how tablets are overwhelming sales of desktop/laptops, and how Android is overwhelming sales of iOS devices (outside of USA and Japan). This is the reason Graebert ported its ARES CAD software to Android first. 40 million professional users of Android tablets for work, not including BYOD uses [bring your own device]. The biggest maker of tablets, Samsung, is pushing its stylus on its Note series; as well, Microsoft’s Surface supports styli. As well, they (along with Apple, it is rumoured) are shipping 12” tablets for “professional use.”
It it normal for people today to have multiple devices in different form factors. As a result, Graebert feels that users today have these new questions:
- How can I work on more than one device at a time?
- Can I move my license from device to device?
Mobile CAD, for Graebert, is not just CAD running on mobile devices. It means making CAD itself mobile, moving from platform to platform. Tablets will not, however, replace desktop computers – in the near future.
This is Graebert’s vision of “mobile” CAD:
- ARES Commander on the desktop for heavy CAD work (as always)
- ARES Touch on tablets for on-site work and during meetings
- ARES Touch OEM for custom applications
- ARES Touch on smartphones for viewing
To enable this, Graebert offers the cross-device licensing:
- Triple-OS license: isone license for Linux, Mac, and Windows
- Flex license for concurrent users on a network running any of the three OSes; priced 25% higher; plus a license can be borrowed from the network for up to one year.
- License-to-Go uses the same license on another computer for up to five days; when it expires, renew it on the same PC or renew License-to-Go for another five days. Limitation: applies only to one other computer.
- ARES Touch is free with an ARES Commander; runs on any Android device on your Google account
Once ARES Touch becomes available, you can buy it from Google Play for $250 and also get ARES Commander for PC/Mac/Linux.
Oh, and ARES Touch will support some of the desktop APIs, such as LISP and TX (ARX).
[Disclosure: Graebert provided me with hotel accommodation, covered half of my airfare, and provided some meals.]