I just returned from San Francisco, where Autodesk held its Media Summit 2012. The point of the event was to hear about all the newest products from the company. The big news is that it recently introduced what it calls Autodesk 360° PLM, which resides on the cloud. This is Autodesk's first PLM offering. Subscription customers get it as part of their subscription. Otherwise, you pay for the time you use, on-demand. According to Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, Autodesk 360° PLM already has two million unique users. He says it supports a fundamental shift in the way that most people will do their work. The computer platform today comprises "mobile, social, and cloud" -- not so much client-server arrangements, says Bass. It is not the only cloud-based program that is showing success in measurable terms, says Bass. The company launched the cloud-based AutoCAD WS about two years ago and Bass says it has had seven million users since then. Some users access it on their Androids or iPhones (the "mobile" part of the above paradigm). And Sketchbook is being downloaded 150,000 times a week.
Why is cloud-based software so interesting? It is almost infinitely scaleable. Also, that high-tech programs are now easily available via the cloud or downloaded onto mobile devices has lead to the democratizing of design. Small firms working globally can now win large jobs. Everyone has access to technology.