Will “cloud drive” disrupt engineering collaboration?

What is the next file system that will be available for our disposal? Cloud file system. Really? In the past few years, I’ve been writing about the future of moving CAD and engineering content to the cloud and various options that will be available to make it happen. Navigate to read some of my previous posts related to this topic – Google Cloud: Ready for CAD/PLM? or CAD, New Collaboration and Online Storage Services.

It seems to me some cool elements of “cloud dreams” started to become a reality these days. Dropbox was clearly one of the most successful pioneering cloud storage. Apple iCoud and Microsoft Sky Drive are two additional players in this space. One of the interesting events in the last few days was the introduction of Google Drive. If you haven’t had a chance to read about that, navigate to the following link to read more.

Engadet just published an interesting article comparing four different cloud storage services – Google, iCloud, Dropbox and SkyDrive. You can see prices and other features and functions. It is worth reading.

What CAD vendors are doing at this space?

My earlier prediction is that cloud will become a good place to store cloud files. One of my old posts about that was – Is Google Docs a good place to store CAD Files. Engineering and manufacturing community is actively discussing “cloud” topic. No single opinion. Read my Product Lifecycle Data and Cloud Trap Debates. At the same time, I have to say that things are starting to move, and some of the CAD / PLM vendors are running fast to introduce their support for cloud drives.

I was reading AutoCAD WS blog yesterday – AutoCAD WS launches Google Drive integration. In a nutshell, it sounds dead simple. AutoCAD WS is an application that can be used natively on Google Drive to open AutoCAD files.

CAD vendors, Cloud and competition

It is interesting to see, but it seems to me some competitive friction may happen between cloud storage vendors and CAD/PLM companies that focusing on collaboration. Products like Autodesk Cloud, SolidWorks n!Fuze and few others will have to provide visible competitive advantages compared to Google, Apple and Dropbox. CAD vendors need to take a note, in my view.

What is my conclusion? Cloud storage and discs become very powerful. The ability to keep everything in a single virtual connection(s) simplifies many questions related how to access information from disparate places by multiple people. For many years, it was one of the most complicated questions – collaboration in design environment. With the introduction of the cloud discs, we are getting an additional way to simplify the access and improve collaboration. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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