So perhaps many of you have been wondering why the leading CAD company on the Mac platform has been so long coming on developing a product for Apple’s phenomenally popular iOS platform devices like the iPad. Yes, we were wondering that too! But now we know why.
To be honest, Sean Flaherty, CEO of Nemetschek Vectorworks, left us a very good clue last summer when we spoke to him about the iPad in AEC. He said he felt the iPad was actually a “cloud device” and that was the moment when we began to think about iOS differently and how even Apple’s iCloud made sense in an emerging cloud-based world.
Now the company is announcing something big. In a few days Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc., one of the largest CAD companies worldwide, is going to announce Vectorworks Cloud Services, an entirely new facet to the growing company’s products and services.
What is Vectorworks Cloud Services
Vectorworks Cloud Services is a multi-faceted offering which will serve as a future platform for the company. In this initial release it will provide a specific base set of functions and operations. In future releases it will expand and do even more. Let’s look at what is going to be offered very soon. (see image 01)
For starters, Vectorworks Cloud Services creates presentation versions of your Vectorworks files up in the cloud. The cloud server automatically creates a PDF presentation file with each “sheet” in the Vectorworks file becoming a “page” in the PDF file. If you purchase premium 3D credits the cloud server will also update and render 3D viewports as part of this process. The cloud server is undertaking this operation while your desktop computer is free to do other Vectorworks tasks. When it is complete the PDF file is automatically saved back to your desktop.
The next thing Vectorworks Cloud Services does is allows you to upload and synchronize your Vectorworks files up on the cloud. This means you can synch your file or files from two desktop locations (syncing from an iOS device is yet another location) and work on them with colleagues. (see images 02-03)
Nemetschek’s chief technology officer, Dr. Biplab, Sarkar, spoke to us about the essential components of Vectorworks Cloud Services. “The first component is a small desktop application which is somewhat like DropBox,” said Dr. Sarkar. “It connects to Vectorworks Cloud Services, synchronizes your folder of files, updates viewports and creates PDF documents for you use.”
The second part is the Cloud Portal which is driven by a Web App. “From a web browser you can login through the portal and view all the published files that have been created,” said Dr. Sarkar. “You can also do additional things like email those PDF files to colleagues and clients.”
Lastly, Nemetschek Vectorworks finally has its iOS offering. The new Vectorworks Nomad software is an Apple iOS app that essentially allows you to login to the Cloud Services and do a bit more than just email and view files. “It lets you do basic markup and measurements,” said Dr. Sarkar, “as well as email and printing via Apple’s Airprint technology.”
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