01
May
08

CAD Market Prospects Considered

CAD model

On the Cadalyst website, Kenneth Wong asks, “Can CAD Market Grow in an Economic Downturn?” and then goes on to interpret and place into context raw data from the Jon Peddie Research Special Report, a collection of facts and figures which describes itself thus:

The 2008 CAD Report is a detailed report that looks specifically at the CAD market. It includes information on worldwide CAD software revenues, market share, and information about the user base. The market looks at the industry from the two major subsets of Mechanical/Manufacturing and AEC (Architecture, Electrical, and Construction). The report also includes a section on CAD for the Mac and Process and Power. It breaks out the relative share of the market for Architecture, MCAD, Process and Power, Civil, GIS/Mapping, and other.

What, you may ask, does the “Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM)” chapter of Architectural Graphic Standards, 11th Edition have to say about all this? The chapter, by Kimo Griggs and Kenneth Kao, starts with a simple definition and then elaborates:

The digital design technologies associated with CAD/CAM range from simple two-dimensional (2D) drawing to sophisticated three-dimensional (3D) solid parametric modeling programs…The ability to extend the use of digital design models, particularly 3D models, beyond design visualization into design development, engineering, manufacturing, and then into facilities management, enables designers to explore ideas and provide solutions in ways that were previously inconceivable.

And this is not only wonderful, but inevitable. Still, many AEC professionals are asking themselves, and the experts on their payroll, questions about the future of this technology and especially about its profitability. According to a recent report, Africa’s demand for engineering applications software increased by 8% in 2007, over the previous year. This news comes from Cambashi, another research and analysis consulting firm that specializes in engineering and enterprise applications. Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia and Libya together (collectively known as the Mahgreb) account for a third of all the demand for engineering applications software that stems from Africa, as well as a large share of the architecture and construction software, which are all tending to pretty much flow together as time goes on. Egypt is also an enthusiastic consumer of engineering applications. On another page, we find information from Cambashi about the United Arab Emirates, which also uses engineering applications in a big way. In the UAE, three-quarters of the software demand is for the kind that serves the engineering, construction, and architecture fields. This is compared to the rest of the world, where purchases applicable to those fields make up only 38% of the software market.

After posing the very relevant question of whether the CAD market can grow, Kenneth Wong asks another one:

So how are the IT managers and CAD managers bracing for the inevitable economic slump? Some think loosening the purse strings for well-timed training and well-placed technology might help tighten their companies’ operating margins.

It’s obvious that the computers and the people are only two factors in the equation. Industrial firms need an infrastructure to employ IT effectively, and that base needs to meld CAD visualization and information management. One of the trends noted by the Jon Peddie Research Special Report is “a significant shift taking place as smaller businesses are investing in new technologies.” Stepping into the next phase of technological progress is definitely not just for the big boys. Another emerging trend is an emphasis on training in such vital areas as building information modeling. One of the experts Wong talked with for his article noted that, over the past five years, the main growth he has seen is in the upgrading of 2D licenses to their related 3D systems. This CAD management consultant, Robert Green, also says,

“Examine your processes and fix the problems you find so you can squeeze every little bit of productivity from your existing staff. To the extent that CAD/IT tools support these goals, make the investments. If training to achieve better standards compliance and process control supports these goals, then do so.”

So – given all this – can the CAD market grow in an economic downturn?

SOURCE: “Can CAD Market Grow in an Economic Downturn?” 04/07/08
photo courtesy of AmyMEmeME , used under this Creative Commons license

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