Graebert presents the business case for cloud-era drafting

The Axica conference center in Berlin, designed by renown architect Frank Gehry, was the site of the Graebert Annual Meeting 2017. (Source: Axica)

Desktop, mobile, and browser-based CAD tools work alone or synchronized. Mobile Device Management simplifies team deployment of mobile CAD.  

Graebert GmbH has introduced a synchronized line of drafting software tools that open up new opportunities for design and engineering teams of all sizes. Their .dwg-based Ares line offers a simple way to coordinate CAD drawings across desktop, mobile, and cloud without an IT department. The mobile and cloud version of Ares CAD are not just view and markup tools, but CAD products, with feature sets to match the platform. New compatibility with Mobile Device Management systems simplify mobile CAD deployment in the field.

Ares consists of three CAD products that work standalone or in synchronization with each other:

  • Ares Commander for desktop (Win/Mac/Linux);
  • Ares Touch for smartphones and tablets (iOS, Android);
  • Ares Kudo for browser-based CAD and synchronization between the other platforms.

Graebert calls this triad its Trinity platform. In essence, Kudo is Trinity’s hub, allowing desktop and mobile users access to drawings at any time or place.

The Graebert Trinity platform offers synchronization between desktop, mobile, and browser-based CAD tools on multiple computer platforms. (Source: Graebert GmbH)

BYO storage service

Instead of creating its own cloud service, Graebert takes a more practical path. Users may use existing cloud file-sharing accounts such as Dropbox or Google Drive, accessing drawings from any of the three Ares products. Once a drawing is started in any of the three products and tagged as a shared file, it becomes available for use within all of Trinity. Search is possible on all connected devices and multiple file-sharing sites as needed. Picture Notes and xRef attachments are supported, providing full .dwg compatibility.

The improvements to CAD workflow are obvious. With Kudo as a hub, users who move from desktop to mobile, or multiple users, can avoid creating conflicting versions of a drawing. Kudo notifies all users of changes, and prevents simultaneous access. Sharing settings make it possible to pass drawings along to clients or others who don’t have a Ares Kudo account. Projects are shared as a URL offering a view-only link; if the drawing changes the view-only clients will always see the latest version.

Most features of the desktop version have already been migrated to Kudo; Graebert says more advanced drafting features not already ported to Kudo will be soon. Graebert currently upgrades its products quarterly; users can expect support for Bentley MicroStation and Autodesk Revit files in the next few months. Kudo already supports integration with Onshape and the Trimble Connect user community.

Flexible licensing terms across multiple platforms

Graebert is responding to the Autodesk move to an all-subscription business model by offering customers a choice between perpetual licensing and a subscription. There is also deployment technology for pushing CAD into the field on mobile devices. A purchase of Ares Commander for the desktop comes with one year of access to Kudo and free use of Touch. An annual subscription comes with full use of the mobile and browser versions. Graebert also offers a flexible license plans for customers who want to run Ares from a network. If a company doesn’t immediately renew a subscription, but chooses to later, Graebert only charges for the portion of the year a customer wants. “We won’t punish late re-subscribers,” says Graebert director of marketing Cedric Desbordes. “Our users can always get back on track.”

There are additional deployment options for Ares Touch. Anyone can download Ares Touch from the iOS app store or Google Play. Without a license, Touch can be used to view, share, and add dimensions to .dwg drawings. InApp purchases allows users to subscribe for $29/month, which unlocks 150+ drafting features and offers a license to use the desktop and browser versions. Graebert also offers Mobile Device Management compatibility for corporate deployment.

Ares Touch for iOS and Android devices offers both single user and corporate deployment license options. (Source: Graebert GmbH)

Expanding from its OEM roots

Graebert software is used by millions of drafting professionals, many of whom don’t know the name “Graebert.” That’s because most company business is in providing CAD technology to other vendors, including Dassault Systemès (DraftSight), Corel Corporation (CorelCAD), Esri, and Onshape. Graebert hasn’t forgotten its OEM side with the Trinity roll-out to retail customers; a Kudo SDK supports Windows and Linux servers, allowing other developers or companies with a large user base to create custom applications for Kudo.

Graebert may be mostly unknown to its user base, but the anonymity is starting to fade away, thanks to the unique business advantage in Graebert’s Ares line. There is no other CAD vendor with such a flexible and integrated approach to cross-platform CAD. The foundational CAD technology is Teigha from the Open Development Alliance, a proven workhorse for .dwg-based drafting technology. In this season when many CAD users are taking a close look at how they buy and manage their CAD technology, Graebert offers a unique technology proposition and a compelling value proposition.

Ares Commander is a full-featured 2D/3D CAD product; special versions for mechanical design and geospatial applications are also available. (Source: Graebert GmbH)

Randall S. Newton in Managing Director of Consilia Vektor, and a contributing editor to Digital Engineering, Cadalyst, and AEC Magazine

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