Last week I had been in attendance at Graebert’s Annual Event held each year in Berlin, Germany. The global CAD company is not well known (yet!) in the United States but is an emerging force on a grand scale within global CAD markets spanning both AEC and MCAD.
Apple’s Enterprise iPad Story: The iPad and Japan
While there is much to report about from this event—some of which has already been covered—one of the more fascinating tidbits of information coming out of this event for key global customers, users and press, is the news that in Japan the majority of the five largest AEC mega-companies are rapidly standardizing around iOS and iPads for tablets in the architecture, engineering, construction and operations (AECO) industry. This news comes at the expense of Google’s Android. And in Japan, where the AEC industry very much works from the top down, the ascendency of iOS may emerge rapidly.
Kajima and Obayashi
The information first peeked out last week at a dinner event for press where the logic behind the decision for Graebert to support ARES Touch on the iPad and iPhone—where it had previously been launched on Android first, which is rare—was revealed. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Graebert’s Japanese employees at dinner the next day, where I was able to glean more information from a Mr. Yoji Ebata, president and owner of Altertech Ltd, in Tokyo, and executive of Graebert Japan’s new office. Additionally, a gentlemen from Kajima was also among the Japanese group.
Graebert Japan’s Yoji Ebata explained to me what is happening on the ground in the building design and construction market in Japan, saying, that iPads are far in a way becoming the “dominant platform for tablets in Japanese AEC market.” Companies like Obayashi have well over 1000 iPads deployed. And Kajima Corporation also has over 1000 iPads deployed.
ARES Touch Push—”Can your product run on iPad?”
During the Graebert event the announcements centered on the new ARES Touch for iOS, where Graebert cited its Japanese customer’s demands. Mr. Ebata noted that when company founder Wilfried Graebert came to Japan back in April of 2015 they met with several big construction companies, including Obayashi, Kajima and Taisei, among others, to promote Graebert’s ARES Touch on Android. “But every company we visited,” stated Mr. Ebata, ” said, ‘can your product run on iPad?’.”
This news was somewhat surprising to hear given recent visits to Japan, back in early 2014, where visiting some of these company’s construction sites it wasn’t clear yet what type of tablet computer was dominating or beginning to become preferred in the field. Since that time however Apple has made big enterprise announcements, particularly with IBM, and those appear to be making an impact on decision making.
Apple + IBM and Industry Stats
Indeed, at last year’s big October announcement for ARES Touch for Android, the company cited Gartner’s prediction figures for worldwide tablets in 2015 and Android market share at 62 percent. This year at its Annual Event (held last week) Graebert’s tune has clearly shifted, citing 2015 IDC stats showing Apple’s iOS enterprise activation figures at approximately 80 percent market share. In a talk Dr. Robert Graebert noted that Android is well-installed because of low cost Android devices and phones, but said that the company is “selling a professional product” and Android is popular in the consumer space. While the company isn’t changing its plans with regard to Android—it wants to and will support both—Graebert is clearly launching a dual iOS-Android strategy on the heels of both industry report data and real demand from boots on the ground in Japan where AEC customers are asking for ARES Touch on iPad.
CAD Industry Looks To Enterprise Worthiness
The US construction industry, the world’s largest construction industry, has been iOS dominant from the iPad’s early days but over the past few years signs of waning growth have put pressure on Apple. While the growth figures may have changed complexion, industry insiders suggest it isn’t the enterprise and business markets that have contributed to that. The news coming out of Japanese industry experts and insiders reinforces this.
Let’s summarize what was learned in Berlin. Both a key CAD reseller with deep knowledge of the Japanese AEC CAD market and an insider from Kajima Corporation, both reiterated the view that the Japanese AEC industry appears to be standardizing around iOS. As a result of Graebert’s customers and potential customers in Japan, key IDC data showing actual activations in enterprise between platforms, and Apple’s own enterprise partnerships, Graebert made a decision to support the iOS platform for its ARES Touch software going forward.
It’s important to note that this report is based not on any statistical data from Japan’s equivalents of Gartner and IDC, but from “reports from the ground.” But with that grain of salt, it marks an important early sign for iOS gains in the business world.