Who will own next generation education platform for CAD and PLM?

Who will own next generation education platform for CAD and PLM?

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Education is a place where you want to start winning heart of new users.

In CAD space, vendors traditionally paid a lot of attention on providing free software licenses for education. So, today you can get educational version for each CAD package practically for free in return of proper identification – Solidworks; Solid Edge; Autodesk Inventor; Fusion 360; Onshape.

So, I can get free CAD for education. What’s the deal now? How CAD and PLM vendors can compete for the future changes in the world and for the opportunity to sell their story to students around the world.

It made me think that a platform can be a differentiation factor. Young people have their preference in the way they think about using internet and computer platform. I’m talking about generation that doesn’t remember life before internet

And the generation that think 3.5″ floppy disc is actually 3D printed model of save icon.

So, winning the platform or coming together with a platform can be an interesting competitive factor. I found the following data point interesting. Take a look on stats of platform shipment for education (2 charts comparison between US only and world wide)

Another article with some data points – Apple wants to sell more iPads to schools, but Google  already owns the education market.

We can see how Chromebook platform is growing. However, Apple seems to be not ready to give up on education. Earlier today, Apple announced some news about education Read the following article – Apple’s New Approach To Education Is Humbler, But Stronger.

So, what does it mean for CAD vendors. It is an interesting question to ask. While Windows is still occupying majority of CAD installation, winning youngsters with Chromebook and iPad can be an interesting step.

An article 4 ways you can bring CAD to your Chromebook doesn’t leave actually many options. The viable option for today is Onshape and browser based emulation of Windows.

Let switch gears and talk about education for PLM. This is a completely different talk. In CAD segment, it is all about tools and skills. In Production Lifecycle Management is about business processes, practices and strategies. It is usually more depending on people and their ability to organize learning process.

A good example is Purdue PLM certification program lead by Nathan Hartman. But there are many others as well. If you know one, please share links and connect me to right people – I will be happy to share information about them.

A special place in my heart is Bill of Materials management education. At OpenBOM (disclaimer – I’m co-founder and CEO), we’ve see a strong interest to use Bill of Materials tools to replace education process dependencies on Excel. OpenBOM Team Subscription is available for all education organization for free today. Please contact me.

What is my conclusion? CAD is clearly a tool to win future engineering minds. And Chromebook seems to be a wining platform. There are not many option today to bring CAD to Chromebook or mobile device. CAD in a browser (eg. Onshape) is one of the simplest and most powerful options. Otherwise you need to invest into browser based desktop emulation software (eg. Frame). In the category of fully functioning CAD on mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone or Android device, Onshape seems to be a leader as well. Solidworks, Inventor, Solid Edge are only available for Windows. Fusion 360 can be available on mobile devices and also can be used in a browser with some limited features. Solidworks xDesign can be a promising option for Dassalt Systemes, but system is not available in production mode yet. Solidworks is probably a dominant product in most of engineering schools today. Who will take this place in the future? A battle for young engineering minds is just at the beginning. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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