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Remote Access to CAD without the Latency

By Mendy Newman, Ericom Software

Mobility and devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones have made it significantly easier to conduct business from just about anywhere. In most cases, email and office productivity tools are the standard applications along with remotely accessing enterprise software solutions. However, the CAD world is different.

In particular, engineers, architects, and other designers are often limited in how they can take advantage of mobility, primarily because of the computing horsepower and bandwidth needed to manage CAD files remotely.  By providing the ability for designers to collaborate and work on projects regardless of physical location, mobile technology, specifically remote access solutions, can make the process of creating – everything from homes to bridges to cars and every product in between – even more efficient.

Mobile technology can be a game-changer for architects, engineers, and designers. However, there’s just one small issue to consider: CAD.

Though CAD software and models save time and costs for designers and their teams, there are cases in which access to CAD can actually hinder the process from design to production. In particular, integrating mobile technology into the design process can be a tenuous experience, especially when dealing with large files and unreliable network connections.

For instance, the sheer size of CAD models can make it difficult to share files with team members in different locations or those using different devices, making collaboration a challenge. Additionally, bandwidth issues and network latency can hamper productivity when working with CAD files from remote locations, causing frustration and draining wide area network (WAN) resources. Moreover, managing the check-in/out process and version control of CAD files can impede progress and bloat storage resources.

Despite these challenges, how can designers bridge the gap between CAD and mobile technology?

Integrating remote access technology into the design process is a perfect solution for increasing productivity and expanding the reach of designers. Remote access solutions allow designers to access CAD files easily and with near-zero latency from any device including workstations, laptops, tablets and even smartphones – making working on-the-go a simple task. Centrally managed, remote access also gives designers the ability to quickly edit and work on CAD files without downloading any files on physical devices, helping to manage version control issues and eliminate confusion. Leveraging HTML5 technology, designers can access CAD files within standard browsers, providing the flexibility to work in the field or from remote offices without compromising productivity.

From an IT perspective, browser-based technology eliminates the need to install and maintain software on the endpoint device. In essence, by using remote access solutions, designers can work virtually anywhere without sacrificing the ease and performance of working on their office workstations.

Racing to Remote Access

Designers in a wide variety of industries are reaping the benefits of remote access solutions. For example, the Sahara Force India Formula One racing team has integrated Ericom Connect into its design process to remain race-ready from any track, in any location.

Sahara Force India’s drivers might be the ones who cross the finish line, but each is backed by a team of dedicated engineers and designers whose job it is to create the innovative vehicles that win races. The race team’s engineers aren’t the type to sit at desks all day; in fact, they are often designing race cars on the track and remote access technology allows them to accelerate the design and testing process.

Remote CAD access is applicable to a variety of industries. The race car shown here, designed by the Sahara Force India team, was engineered with Ericom Connect. Image courtesy of Ericom.

Remote CAD access is applicable to a variety of industries. The race car shown here, designed by the Sahara Force India team, was engineered with Ericom Connect. Image courtesy of Ericom.

Prior to Ericom Connect, the engineering teams were forced to lug their CAD workstations with them to every off-site location and track in order to make adjustments and improvements to the race cars. More than anything, Sahara Force India’s engineers needed the flexibility to access 3D CAD model files from any location and any device.

Using remote access technology gives the engineers the capability to make design changes to CAD models without the hassle and expense of dragging around physical workstations. Now, using any device, the engineers can make edits on the fly without downloading any software or large files, and without sacrificing the speed or convenience of working in an office.

Remote access has proven to be indispensable for Sahara Force India and their engineering teams. Team members now have the ability to view and edit CAD files trackside, making the process of manufacturing new parts and having them delivered to race locations more efficient. By speeding up the design to manufacturing process, remote access keeps race cars race-ready from any track around the world. Simply put, Sahara Force India is using remote access to design fast cars – faster.

With the right technology, engineers, architects and designers can optimize the use of CAD applications and files and create within near real-time environments. By providing remote, centralized access to CAD from a variety of devices and locations, remote access is enabling the next wave of innovation in engineering, architecture, and design – without the limitations.

Mendy Newman is head of Solution Management for Ericom Software

About DE Guest

This article was contributed to Digital Engineering by a guest author.