Engineering the Evolution of Engineering Software

I follow Seth Godin’s writing daily. I like the tone of his words; simple yet highly focused and solidly concrete. At the end of July, he posted about what he calls “Our Engineering Ratchet”. I printed this post (on paper) and stuck it on my wall (with a pushpin). Take a second to click through and read it; I’ll wait for you to come back…

“Quietly, over the last thirty years, engineering has become dramatically more efficient and effective” – Seth Godin

Seth’s commentary centers around the speed at which mechanical, electrical and chemical (and of course, materials) engineering are moving today. The first factor driving this velocity? Modern computer-aided design and engineering software means that small teams can outpunch their relative weight. And secondly, the idea that the Internet gives every engineer access to the current state-of-their-art, as a design benchmark. How can one not be motivated to excel when they have nearly unlimited reach and computer power in their hands?

The acceleration of engineering practice

Mechanical tools and software tools both evolve, and give way to new ideas and workflows. New materials are created almost daily. This evolution is an enabler, but not a driver of forward movement. In his short post, Seth goes on to say that the third element in this acceleration is an overall increase in market openness to accept productivity enhancements. Making these new things easier to adopt drives broad acceptance of their adoption, and helps to increase the rate of change. Think about this for a minute – if you make new and better things today, people will go out of their way to adopt them.

For an engineer, this is the Holy Grail. We truly live in the Golden Age of Engineering. I laugh a bit as I typed this, as my mentor John Walker said this in the very early days of Autodesk. He was totally correct back in June of 1987. The final enabler of this new golden age, according to Seth, is an expectation that better is (always) possible. Better tools, better communications and better markets are foundational – and the change in engineer’s expectations drives this Renaissance home.

Back in your corner of the world…

What does your “stack” of engineering software tools look like today? Are you on the latest operating system version, running on current hardware? I bought a late model 15-inch laptop recently for 1/4th the (original) cost of my seven-year-old dual Xeon workstation. The laptop has more memory and comparable graphics – and it simply outperforms the workstation. You don’t need a stopwatch to tell the difference. And even better? The new laptop weighs less than three kilos. It fits in my briefcase, and it’s light enough that I often feel compelled to look and make sure it’s actually IN my briefcase. And it boots from cold in seconds. Am I making a point? Yes.

If you’re running older software on outdated hardware, aren’t you doing yourself a disservice? What version of BricsCAD are you running today? If you think about it, the cost of upgrading is totally minimal, compared to the cost of your time. The performance and usability of computer hardware improves every year, and the cost of hardware is shockingly low when viewed historically. Just as important, BricsCAD improves every year. The depth of our vertical application catalog is growing in leaps and bounds, also. More developers are discovering the ease of porting their applications to the BricsCAD platform, improving product choice for all.

What is your engineering time worth?

Don’t underestimate your value, and don’t miss the wave of new workflows enabled by the latest versions of our software. As Seth says, travel back in time a bit and you’ll realize that few things have ever worked as well as they do now. Your CAD software should be exceptional. Upgrade your BricsCAD today.

Don Strimbu

Don is our VP of Communications at Bricsys. He has spent 2/3rds of his life in the CAD industry. Don is a big fan of usable technology, high fidelity music systems and (really) well-designed machines.

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