Two recent news items about the computer aided design software industry have shown positive trends for CAD companies and their affiliates. In this post, we’ll discuss these trends, and what they mean for the industry.
Report Shows Growth in the CAD Industry
In a report that shows good news overall for the computer aided design software industry, research group JPR showed that the CAD industry posted overall growth in the year 2014, and was worth $8 billion dollars with over 5 million regular customers. This trend is expected to continue. The JPD report also shows that the industry is expected to grow by another $700 million by 2017.1
In addition to positive financial growth, JPR also made note of several positive changes that were shaping the industry. In addition to industry newcomers specializing in 3D printing, virtualization, and other complementary areas of design and production, finding a foothold alongside industry regulars, use of new technologies like the cloud and mobile apps were also on the rise. While tablets and the cloud did not make a big enough impact by themselves to have a noteworthy impact on the industry, interest was on the rise. According to JPR’s Kathleen Maher:
“[CAD vendors’] attitude [toward the cloud] has completely turned around, so while individuals and companies may not be rushing to use cloud-based workflows or virtualize their systems, there is a high degree of interest as evidenced by the shift in product offerings among CAD vendors.”1
JPR’s report examined CAD use across the fields of architecture, construction, and mechanical production. As would be expected, it noted that the level of use of CAD products varied across geographical regions. In areas where the economy was growing or relatively healthy, CAD use was heavily prevalent. In economically depressed areas, the technology was used less.1
Professional CAD Workstations Now More Affordable
In another piece of CAD news, industry watchers have noted a surprising trend in pricing for the professional-grade workstations needed to operate professional CAD software. These high-powered computers, which require significantly more processing power than the average consumer-grade desktop, have traditionally been significantly more expensive than traditional home computers. But over the last few years, companies have begun introducing workstation desktops priced at less than $1,000, lowering the bar of access to professional grade CAD tools to the average consumer.2
As recently as even five years ago, consumers who wanted access to professional CAD programs would most often buy consumer tech products, and then spend additional money upgrading their desktop’s CPU, GPU, and RAM so that it could run the professional-grade programs they wanted to use. While this was a less expensive option than purchasing a professional workstation computer, the cost and technical knowhow needed to perform these upgrades could still keep CAD tools out of the reach of consumers, and was a practice that was generally discouraged by both computer manufacturers and software companies. And, even when upgraded, consumer devices do not provide the flexibility and adaptability that the workstation PCs designed specifically to run CAD and other professional design software provide.
The advent of workstation desktops that are more affordable to the average consumer will likely open many doors for startups, home businesses, and amateur designers who were economically barred from having access to professional-grade CAD programs in the past.
You can learn more about CAD and how it is used by contacting Q-CAD today at 800-700-3305.