HEXAGON’S BRICSYS ACQUISITION didn’t cast a shadow over Graebert this November. The Berlin-based company shared the news that it is finding clear trends of new types of (.dwg) CAD users—especially with its enterprise customers.
Just as importantly, it also shared the news with Architosh that its ARES Kudo technology—a mature (.dwg) platform delivered via a web browser—has been adopted by Dassault Systèmes of France. Dassault DraftSight will be on the web and the beta version is coming most likely at SolidWorks World in February 2019.
Graebert’s Cloud Technology and Enterprise
Graebert’s cloud technology, known as ARES Kudo, and its Trinity licensing approach are proving very valuable to enterprise-level customers; and among such customers, in particular, Graebert is seeing a clear trend of concentric circles of (.dwg) users, each with its own requirements for engaging with CAD data.
Wilfried Graebert, Founder and CEO, told Architosh, “we have some Japanese customers in the AEC industry that have hundreds of desktop solutions from us, but they are looking forward to deploying a batch of thousands of iPads.”
Cedric Desbordes, sales & marketing executive at Graebert, said that while this goes against “our earlier philosophy of ‘Trinity for All,’ at the enterprise level people need different products for different purposes.” This has led to the announcement that soon in 2019 it will be possible to license ARES Touch (its mobile solution) and ARES Kudo (its web browser solution) separately. It means you will no longer need to buy a desktop license to gain access to these products.
We have some Japanese customers in the AEC industry that have hundreds of desktop solutions from us, but they are looking forward to deploying a batch of thousands of iPads.
Most readers will agree that different types of users and situations today require different types of access to CAD data. Field workers, factory floor workers may only need to look at mobile devices to review CAD data and perhaps make notes or comments back to other colleagues. While clients, executives and people in the position of approving designs really only need to view and sometimes comment.
To respond better to their largest customers, Graebert announced ARES for Enterprise, for companies with 100 or more users. It will provide an array of enterprise-class solutions to handle the administration of large amounts of users, mobile device management (MDM), simplified licensing based on “monthly active users” rather than licenses for each user.
ARES Kudo Wins—AWS, Internal, and Draftsight
In tandem with the needs of enterprise-scale customers is the need to put ARES Kudo on a private AWS account. Dr. Robert Graebert, CTO, Graebert, told Architosh that “if you are a larger enterprise customer who already has AWS you can just add this [Kudo] on top.” He added, “You can sign up here and say, ‘I want to pay for a certain amount of seats’ and then just simply go to work.”
Graebert will manage the ARES Kudo on private AWS for an enterprise customer, helping companies meet specific security requirements as needed. Earlier in 2018, the company received the Industrial Software Competency certification from Amazon Web Services (AWS), marking Graebert one of the first companies to do so. “AWS has been a great partner today,” said Dr. Graebert, “and we are always looking at ways we can do more with them.”
AWS has been a great partner today and we are always looking at ways we can do more with them.
In addition to AWS ARES Kudo can also now run on an internal Windows server behind a company’s firewall. This Intranet approach brings all the benefits of the web browser-based experience with increased benefits that come from being within the LAN.
Finally, Dassault Systemes of France, Graebert’s largest OEM partner, is going to take DraftSight to the web in 2019. “The idea of DraftSight Cloud is to more closely connect the (.dwg) editing experience closer to the ecosystem of the Dassault user,” said Dr. Graebert. Not much more can be said about DraftSight but it is helpful to remind readers that there are over 2 million registered DraftSight users.
Let’s recap what ARES Kudo is for the reader. Kudo is the first full-featured (.dwg) CAD solution in the cloud that enables you to create and modify (.dwg) drawings inside your web browser. It is not the limited types of tools that have gone before by other vendors. It is a mature technology.
In fact, Cedric Desbordes, expressed it well this way: “The first validation [of Kudo] came from Onshape and now this same validation is coming from Dassault. It confirms the maturity of ARES Kudo as a technology for developers.”
New Partnerships and Other Wins for Graebert
Typically at each Graebert Annual Meeting, their third-party OEM partners show new kit and make announcements. Again, buttressing the point that ARES Kudo is deeply mature and compelling technology, Kessler AG of Germany, an OEM partner, made a key announcement. “Kessler is working in the facilities management (FM) space…and their solution works with ARES Kudo to create FM space diagrams for facilities professionals in that market,” said Desbordes.
When I asked if any OEMs were embedding Kudo into their cloud solutions as Onshape has done, Desbordes said, “when we sign a contract with a new partner, sometimes we must hide them behind a curtain while they are working on their solution for competitive reasons. We are not able to give any names right now but, yes, we have new partners.”
On ARES Commander, BIM, and DWG Futures
In a discussion with Architosh, Graebert CTO, Dr. Robert Graebert said that Graebert cares about BIM but is interested in being a general (.dwg) CAD technology. In other words, it doesn’t matter if folks like Bricsys have gone off and decided to attack the BIM market.
“If you are asking me if BIM is important to us, yes it is,” said Dr. Graebert. “But we are deciding how we are going to collaborate and work with these tools—like Revit—and this applies to mechanical tools where today we work side-by-side with the big 3D tools.” Because the ODA (Open Design Alliance) is addressing both Revit and IFC within their development plans for their SDKs (software developer toolkits), Graebert says how ARES technology will address Revit specifically and BIM, in general, will take shape further down the line.
As for future (.dwg) technologies, Dr. Graebert noted that they are currently working on technology to enable multiple users to work on the same (.dwg) file at the same time. “We are currently changing the backend technology on that, because we have something like that now with Onshape,” he said, “that is based on a transaction-based approach with (.dwg).”
And this is just a glib comment but Autodesk just spent over $870 million on a 2D viewing app. So I think 2D [viewing] is still very much in vogue.
“We have started working on adding session management,” he added. “If someone else is editing the drawing you go into viewing mode automatically” Graebert seems intent on bringing this technology out in steps and is aware that the ODA is also developing similar technology. “Down the road I want to get to the point where the technology is about branching and merging—something that is I am very familiar with as a programmer—this idea where you have two different states of a drawing over time, and being able to bring those changes into the drawing without destroying the work that the other guy has done. That is such a powerful concept and yet nobody has done that with (.dwg) yet.”
I asked Dr. Robert Graebert what his thoughts were about the future of (.dwg)-based CAD and he had several interesting comments worth sharing. “There are over 2 million DraftSight users and that is a really interesting and big number because it shows that the audience is there,” he said. “Now can you monetize it? That is really an execution problem, not an audience problem.”
As for the sentiment that the MCAD and AEC industries have moved beyond 2D CAD based systems, Dr. Graebert admitted things have evolved over the years. “Obviously, the market is shifting. Are people still willing to spend three thousand dollars on a CAD system for (.dwg)? I don’t think so,” he added. “But we still see a bright future working with an audience that needs to, and wants to, work with (.dwg) files.”
“And this is just a glib comment but Autodesk just spent over $870 million on a 2D viewing app. So I think 2D [viewing] is still very much in vogue.”