Drafting software vendors believe Autodesk is handing them an historic marketing opportunity. The two obvious leaders, Bricsys and Graebert, will update their developer and dealer networks this month.
The users of drafting software have never had it so good. Autodesk may be noticeably shrinking away from AutoCAD, but other CAD vendors supporting the ubiquitous .dwg standard are stepping up.
Later this month the two leading commercial vendors of AutoCAD alternatives hold their developers conferences. These two companies approach the market from very different directions, but both are doing quite well in the market place.
Bricsys, of Ghent, Belgium has built a dealer and third-party developer network of more than 1,500 small companies, each selling BricsCAD either plain or with add-ons and localization (for language and/or regulations). Graebert GmbH, of Berlin, sells software under its own name (Ares), but also creates .dwg-compatible products or otherwise contributes to products sold by other companies including Corel Software, Esri, Dassault Systemes, and Onshape. It also offers consulting services to other CAD vendors, and has a line of CAD products specific to the building renovation and operations market under the SiteMaster brand.
Last year was a year of audacious announcements from both companies. Bricsys introduced Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology that advances the use of .dwg into three dimensions well beyond what Autodesk has been willing to do. Autodesk has its reasons, primarily in that it promotes its 3D architectural modeling software Revit as the one right way to do BIM. Bricsys believes there is a market for .dwg-based BIM; we expect to see significant updates of their vision at their conference in Paris on October 25.
Graebert is looking to own cloud-based and mobile access to drawings. Its Ares line of CAD is now available as three discrete products: Ares Commander for PCs (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux); Ares Touch for smartphones and tablets (Android and iOS); and Ares Kudo, browser-based web software that works from any modern browser on any computing device. Graebert recently announced Service Pack 3 for Ares Commander 2017, which includes read support for DWG 2018; write support will come with the next service pack. Kudo is now available in most language markets, making new synergies possible between desktop and mobile. (See this video for details). Any Graebert customer who buys a license or upgrade of Ares Commander now receives .dwg 2018 support, access to Ares Kudo and Ares Touch, and 12 months of upgrades which includes the upcoming Ares Commander 2018 release (expected to be announced at the Graebert Annual Meeting October 17.
While Autodesk cuts back on resources for AutoCAD and pushes 3D design, Bricsys and Graebert offer an alternative vision and a path for keeping the .dwg file format relevant in the 21st Century.
Randall S. Newton is Managing Director of Consilia Vektor
Keywords: Bricsys, Graebert, Autodesk, .dwg, drafting, 2D, 3D, BIM, cloud