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The competitors

kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 306 ✭✭✭
I'm curious to see that Autodesk Fusion 360 roadmap reveals "branching and merging" and "built in data management". Wonder what that actually means, and more importantly, what it means for OnShape's USP? I also see they have announced an Adobe like 'one price, all apps' deal at Autodesk University...announced without the critical information..price! 

In any case, one price, all apps would likely kill off a lot of competitors if it was reasonable. I have to say, we jumped to the Adobe Creative Cloud immediately. £40 a month? No brainer.


  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭

    @KevinQuigley Branching and merging from Autodesk - neat stuff. I haven't read that yet. Thanks for sharing.  That would take some uniqueness away from Onshape.  Is that news of out AU, I take it? Does Fusion not work with files, but within a database?  Things in the product development world seem to be going the way of replicating what software dev folks have done for a long time.  It just makes sense when you see the flexibility that it gives - brilliant..

     I think maybe another question to ask is what happens to Dassault and Siemens.  They are pushing older tech at the moment at high prices.  At least Dassault has been working on something - although apparently unable to throw the hammer down.  My guess is that the business folks at Dassault didn't want to cannibalize their current golden goose (Catia level pricing) - that's why the good folks here started Onshape...someone somewhere was going to do it.  Siemens doesn't seem to have anything else in the pipeline that I can tell.  I think they will cater to the crowd that doesn't want CAD and data outside of their own four walls.  Dassault is trying to have their cake and eat it too.  They are trying to navigate the middle ground.  Not loose customers who are progressive minded and retain the folks with the same needs as the Siemens crowd.  Tricky to do, I'm sure.  I don't think they will pull it off well.  They clearly haven't been up to this point.

    As a side bar, it reminds me of watching cable TV companies and content companies try to figure out what to do about streaming  - not kill off their golden goose of the tried and true for the last 50+ years and still not fall behind to companies like Netflix and others.  HBO seems to be progressive.  I wonder when ESPN will make the calculation that they might make more money offering a streaming only option for all the cord cutters like myself - and not continue to subsidize half the channels on Comcast, Verizon, etc...  Of course the streaming content arena is different than CAD on the cloud - but enough similarities.  Its always the process in competitive business.  Creative destruction.

    I think Autodesk is being more ballsy with pricing because they are not nearly as large a player in the product design realm as the others.  They can afford to be more on the side of the market upsetters.  But, they also have to support a lot of legacy stuff too.  That takes resources.  Maybe that's why they don't want to give specifics on pricing.  They are trying to find that optimal point - like Dassault.  Onshape will not have the baggage to support.  I think that is an organizational advantage in the long haul to them.  One could argue Onshape won't have the revenue from legacy products either - but they may pick up enough customers to create problems for the entrenched players subscription revenue.  I look at the Autodesk cloud offering and it looks to be too much - like they are throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks (which is perfectly legit way of doing it) - but it might be dizzying to a potential customer http://www.autodesk.com/360-cloud.  Maybe Onshape can provide a USP there - much more simple...  I suppose Autodesk could streamline things, too.  I thought that Autodesk cloud products still required a local install.  An advantage to Onshape if its still the case.  I wonder if performance is eventually hampered by waiting for something on the local end - just speculating.  I also wonder what kind of connection speed the Autodesk products need.  Onshape seems to do well on a weaker connection.  I was able to test it on a 3G network in a 3rd world country and it was pretty good.  Onshape seems like it will also offer their tool for free for all publically exposed data - its hard to beat that price.   That is still a USP to my knowledge.  .  I would think that might attract some companies that offer lots of 3D data to their customers -a company like McMaster Carr comes to mind in the US.  I suppose Autodesk could copy this business model - its not necessarily a technical capability to offer - more of a strategy.  You will pay for privacy with Onshape - and they haven't put that price down either.  If their organization is more efficient - which it seems like it could be without the baggage of legacy products, than it would seem that they could be on the winning end of the price war - which is ultimately where things go in the longer haul.  I still stand by my proposal that Onshape should merge an electrical PCB design tool and bring it into the fold.  That would be unique.  One environment where electrical designers and mechanical designers could all work together efficiently.  Do it Onshape!  I dare you.

    If I were Onshape when it came time to launch I would market the fact that some of (or most, or all, I don't know) the original SolidWorks folks are behind the product.  The credibility of that crowd combined with what is obviously an impressive group  in the latest web/streaming tech is something that would get the attention of a lot of folks.  It would carry weight.  I'm sure the Autodesk folks know what's coming and are doing a decent job of getting out there - far better than some of their peers.

  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited December 2014
    My suggestions to Onshape:
    • Expose & maintain a 'set in stone' short- to medium-term roadmap (1 yr max?) for Onshape as a product.
    • Do tech previews (webinars? forum posts? whitepapers?...) about (unexposed) functionality that is in the pipeline.
    • Create a true beta/testing playground for functionality that is unexposed in 'production Onshape', but that enthusiasts can test drive. This could be part of a deep UX strategy...
    I've been dabbling with Fusion 360 the last month or so. I agree it will be a fierce competitor to Onshape.
    That being said, Onshape is something I can imagine being used by our sales people, non-engineers, suppliers. Not so much the case with Fusion 360. Still requiring an install IS a hindrance for those users. For me, not having to install anything is the most significant differentiator vs competitors.

  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    I think I should dabble with the Autodesk products as well.  They certainly are all in.
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers, User Group Leader Posts: 1,407 PRO
    edited December 2014
    After downloading an 80 meg executable and then sync'n files to the cloud, I lost interest in autodesk's new flag ship product, fusion 360. T-splines makes it look really good but I doubt if autodesk will ever be able to write decent 3D code that'll be used by the masses. They've got a lot of money, but they don't have the right vision.

    I think onshape is on the right track and can't wait to use it to build a real product with a team of engineers.

    Maybe I'm too bitter towards ACAD because I had to learn lisp to make it work correctly. I'll never forgive them for that.

  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    @bill Wow, an 80 MB executable.  Having to sync files - that's not going to fly with limited data connections.  Has Fusion changed recently - or was this from a past experience?  I guess I'll find out soon.

    I think you probably hit the nail on the head with the bad experience with AutoCAD.  People remember that.  I think Onshape would be wise to market the track record of their founders.  People remember that too...
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,025 PRO
    I Installed Autodesk Fusion 360 on my mac a couple days ago after reading this post, Certainly has a lot more modelling tools than preproduction Onshape. Liked the way icons flashed out around the pointer when right clicking. Also appears to have a .dxf export from the part I need.  I started modelling a part and after about 5 commands cashed, I reloaded and started again doing things a slightly different way and cashed again after about 3 minutes. I haven't been back. I must say I have not had this cashing experience with Onshape. 
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • Ben_Ben_ OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 281 PRO
    I used 360 and crashy crash crash crash..... Did not matter PC or Mac I was so frustrated I gave up on it a few months back
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    The one thing that Fusion 360 has going for it is the already quite extensive tool set.
    However, the UI is something I find rather messy and convoluted.

  • mark_biasottimark_biasotti Member Posts: 123 ✭✭✭
    I find the UI outstanding (and especially the in view graphics and visualization)  but also like a lot of you I will crash regularly.

  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited December 2014
    Regarding Fusion 360 UI: bad choice of words on my end.  :)
    Maybe 'lack of adaptiveness' is what I meant...
    Take f.i. sketching. Why doesn't Fusion switch its UI to a dedicated sketcher? Why do I need to pull down menus to get to most sketch commands? To me, this workflow is convoluted. Or am I missing something?
    Fusion's tool layout stays the same all the time in a given workspace. I don't like that. I want my tools right in front of me for the task at hand.
    The marking menus (mouse gestures) are great in concept (they allow really quick tool selections!), but too limited in Fusion.

  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited December 2014
    Oh, and another benefit of Onshape over just about any competitor is complete platform independence. I run Ubuntu (14.04) on several machines at home. There isn't really any solution for MCAD today. Wherever I have Chrome, Onshape runs exactly the same. I think Onshape could be the first serious 3D CAD tool that runs on ANY Linux distro. I honestly believe this has the potential to be huge. Most software vendors that don't cater to the Linux audience do so because supporting multiple distros is very resource intensive. The way Onshape works, circumvents this problem elegantly.
    The age of Chromebooks has only just started (this is a whole different game than the 'netbook' fad...). Onshape makes so much sense there. It's exactly the kind of CAD tool you would expect on such a device.

  • fastwayjimfastwayjim Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 219 PRO
    I've played with A360 a bit... As a CAD tool, it's fine, however, the step-by-step tutorials promote some backwards modeling techniques, sheesh!

    It still feels like a "regular" CAD tool, however. I had to download it. Then I had to install it (2Gb of new stuff in my user profile??). To launch it, I click an icon on the desktop. I have to click the Save button to save my work. So the difference between this and existing CAD tools is what?

    On the collaboration front, I don't see anything innovative going on... With the CAD program local, collaborating through the web browser seems clunky. Also, the "share" functionality gives me a URL, but that link just brings me to a lightweight SPZ (Spin/Pan/Zoom) version, not the actual.

    I think OS's approach of being browser-based is much more comfortable. Tying in to existing web-based services (Google Docs, calendar, etc) will make it even easier to adopt. I look forward to doing a heads up comparison again once OS's CAD capabilities are up to par...
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