Designers are no longer tied down to their offices, thanks to mobile CAD applications that allow them to take their designs anywhere. The increasing quality of consumer mobile devices has extended the reach of these applications to a wider range.
The increased competition between Samsung and Apple in the smartphone and tablet markets has dramatically increased the speed of development, leading to highly advanced mobile devices. This makes it possible for CAD software developers such as ZWSOFT to produce mobile applications that feature all the tools users need to make changes and annotations effectively.
Functionality vs. Practicality
Ralph Grabowski, Managing Editor of Tenlinks.com recently asked in Part 3 of his article ‘Running CAD on a Small Screen’ why users would want to swap the full functionality of their desktop software with its 15-inch screen, for limited functionality and a 4-inch screen. As Steve Jobs once explained, it is like the small Swiss Army Knife carried on a key chain - the most useful tool is the one that we always have with us. Grabowski suggests that portability is the main benefit of CAD on mobile devices.
Design on the Go
Designers are required to work beyond the confines of their office for various reasons from site visits to product inspections. All designers will, at some point be required to leave their desk and work without their desktop CAD software. With mobile CAD software such as ZWCAD Touch, designers can now take their designs out of the office with them, instead of printing drawings or notes the old fashioned way. This enables them to make even more accurate examinations of their designs, and annotate directly on the go. Some applications even allow for vocal annotations, such as ZWCAD Touch’s SmartVoice, making mobile CAD an even more appealing proposition.
Recent developments in 3G, 4G and even 5G mobile data allow users to access their entire design portfolio, wherever they are through the cloud. With most CAD applications linking up to 3rd party cloud software, this can be done automatically. Furthermore, with the growing capacity of smartphones’ hard drives, high data charges can be avoided by simply loading the drawings directly on to the device with even faster speeds.
Greater Productivity at Reduced Costs
Grabowski also suggests that price is a key factor that promotes CAD on mobile devices. Compared to the high prices of desktop CAD software, the monthly subscriptions for most mobile CAD software is an affordable investment, while some CAD applications, such as ZWCAD Touch, are free to download and use.
In addition to the price advantage, companies can also save money by making changes to their design process. Money can be saved on reduced printing costs, as designers don’t need to have designs on paper when working away from the office. Since users don’t have to transcribe annotations or alterations, as notes or changes to the drawing on site will automatically be updated on the desktop version, labour costs are also reduced.
Collaborating with ease
Mobile CAD simplifies procedures, increases cost efficiency and fosters an atmosphere of collaboration. Where previously, users had to print drawings and present them in person, they can now email them to clients or collaborators, wherever they are. Annotations can then be added and returned to the designer. An important factor is that the client or collaborator doesn’t need expensive CAD software, or extensive CAD knowledge to view and annotate the drawings, leading to significantly reduced costs of collaboration.
Daniel Huang, Product Manager of ZWCAD Touch from ZWSOFT comments that CAD on mobile devices may never replace desktop CAD software. However, mobile CAD applications are truly effective as a supplement to desktop software. Offering enhanced ease of use and cost savings, mobile CAD applications will only improve with new mobile technologies.