…for some things. The other day, I amused myself by creating a video using a site called Xtranormal. You’ve probably seen 3D cartoon-like videos of people with stilted voices. It’s done by signing up for a free account, choosing a background and some characters, then typing in your script. This is converted, generally fairly successfully, to spoken words. The characters lip-sync to your script, you publish the video and you’re done. If you have a YouTube account, the site will upload the video for you. Video creation service provided on line, video hosting and viewing service provided on line. No problem.
Here it is; this blog’s readership is not the intended audience, so you probably won’t find it particularly amusing.
Could the video creation have been done using a standalone application rather than doing it on line? Absolutely. It may well have been quicker on my PC, but using this SaaS was fine. It performed well enough to be usable. Somebody taking my work isn’t an issue, as I always intended to show it publicly anyway. The worst that can happen is that my email address is abused, but it’s easy to make a throwaway email address.
I think that for this trivial recreational task, SaaS technology was absolutely appropriate. If the site had been unavailable or my Internet connection had been down, it wouldn’t have really mattered. If YouTube goes down for an hour and people can’t view my video, so what? If YouTube closes my account and makes all my videos unavailable, that would be more annoying but still not fatal.
So, full steam ahead for CAD on the Cloud, then? Er, no. It has yet to be shown that the Cloud is the appropriate technology for that particular use. I’m sure it will be, for some specialist niche requirements. But all of it? A complete fully-functional CAD application provided on a SaaS basis as an appropriate use of technology? Not any time soon. Maybe one day, but then again, maybe not. There will have to be real, demonstrated benefits that outweigh the concerns. The CAD Cloud vendors are going to have to go well beyond the “Wow! This is cool!” phase first, and start engaging the CAD community in serious discussion about the genuine concerns that customers have about the technology. Ignoring those concerns won’t make them go away.