Over the years it has been observed that every new technology is first looked at with scepticism. Not all the technologies that are newly brought into the market affect the market and their functioning dynamics. Some fail to create the desired impact and are easily forgotten than noticed and taken into consideration.
Cloud Computing is the new talk to the technology town. Will it stay or be rejected and slip away as fast as it came?
Like every product, and technology, cloud computing has its own pros and cons. In this article, we will try to understand the pros and cons with respective to the CAD/CAM/CAE and PLM market in India.
It will be prudent to first understand the fundamental concept of cloud computing, before the in-depth analysis of the effects of cloud-computing.
In simple words, Cloud Computing is a reservoir of information/data/software to be stored or accessed by individuals and/or companies any geographical location through any internet enabled electronic devices.
It basically is an external virtual data storage system made available to the companies to obtain the information as per their need and requirement. The service providers set up a large server spaces and lease them out. The companies rent out software applications through the cloud and use it without having to purchase. The client companies pay the software developers/service providers with respect to the tenure.
The leading companies have already started investing in the technology. The demand is on the rise and the software technology developers are capitalising heavily. They are giving their best to reach the users directly to offer them the services through latest technology. They also want to provide services using latest technology to be able to support the users better at less-than-before costs. Cloud computing might become the primary buying channel for users once gains popularity. This will make the competition even more intense.
Letus begin by exploring the general characteristics of cloud computing.
General Characteristics and Benefits of Cloud Computing:
Centralisation of Data: Companies can now store all their data in one location thereby making it easier to share and access.
Enhanced Storage Capacity: Companies can now avail the benefits of increased storage capacity than before.
Ease of Operation: The users need not have to be trained engineers or Technical IT personnel to be able to use this technology effectively. The user interface is simple and as same as the user interface of a computer.
Independence and Mobility: The data can now be accessed from any remote location through any hardware device connected to the internet.
Highly integrated and automated system: The applications or software installed on any of your hardware device are automatically updated without any manual input.
Cost Effective: Necessary infrastructure is provided by the third party and all the data is securely stored off the site. Hence the cost of ownership and operations turns out to be significantly low.
Dependability and Reliability: Anxious moments like Retrieving vital information during desperate times would now be reduced to accessing the computing software through your internet enabled device in a few clicks.
Scalability: Subscribing to a service rather than investing in offers you the flexibility of scaling it up or down depending upon the demand and need of an hour. It is thus highly cost effective as you just subscribe the service. Companies can reduce their expenses paying exactly proportionate to their use of Cloud Computing.
Enhanced Performance: It is a great mechanism to boost up Knowledge Management and Knowledge Sharing within the company. Three steps process - uploading the heavy files on FTP, mailing the access code and then the download - will now be compressed into one – log into your system and pull it out. This technology will reduce the time constraint faced by the companies.
Security: As mentioned earlier, because Cloud Computing is provided as a service by the Third party companies, they need to ensure that all the necessary security measures are put in place to protect and/or prohibit the access of the sensitive data by the unauthorised people.
Implications of Cloud Computing to the CAD Industry:
Leading Software/Technology Developers can now directly reach the customers through cloud computing. Because of direct selling, the costs of the product will reduce significantly.
Also, for the consumers, they can now easily avail the software whenever required and will have to pay only for the actual time of usage. Basically the software will be provided as SAAS (Software as a Service) which the users can hire and pay as per their usage.
The companies providing Engineering Services will highly benefit from this. Their cost of operation will drastically go down, as they will get to use software as a service when required and pay proportionate to their usage. Thus their profit margins and bottom lines will subsequently go up.
Cloud Computing is currently at a nascent stage for the CAD/CAM/CAE & PLM industry and the companies will have to decide how they want to make the most of this.
Companies have to look at Cloud Computing as the next big Technological revolution changing the rules and the platform of business. In country like India, the companies will now have to start exploring and researching on utilizing cloud computing.
The author is Director, DesignTech Systems Ltd.