Realities of Engineering post COVID-19
It is clear from current events and the global pandemic that we will never look at our position in the world in the same way again. We have all discovered new ways of working and interacting that moving forward we are likely to continue following.
In December 2019 it became clear that an unknown viral infection was tearing its way through Wuhan in China. The vector for the disease was our humanity, those physical social interactions that make us what we are. From coffee-shop discussions through to international customer meetings we were unknowingly spreading the virus globally and making each other sick.
The response was to reduce the spread between humans through self-imposed quarantine procedures. Unchecked and in the wild, the virus would spread by infected humans at a rate of 1.3 people per day – that is, an infected person would infect almost 11 people in that time. Causing an exponential growth in the disease that would infect the entire planet within 2 months.
The aim of this quarantine was to reduce this ‘red line number’ to 1.055 people per day, effectively reducing the rate to both a manageable level and a point where the virus could be beaten.
During those early days of quarantine a number of things about our society were discovered:
1) Primarily that some of the lowest paid and least desired jobs suddenly became some of the most important in our society.
2) Lack of forward business planning became very apparent .
3) A large number of modern roles were abstract to the point where people genuinely could fulfil them remotely.
Clearly those businesses that were able to adapt quickly and effectively had a significant advantage compared to those without a coherent remote working plan. However even those that were able to allow their staff to fulfil their roles remotely, did not do so without challenge.
In our industry the general software toolchain that leads from design engineers through to manufacturing and PLM systems is not cloud based. Vendors often advertise the word cloud to imply that you can run their software over the internet, however, by digging a little deeper you will soon realise that by any modern definition, they are far from the true definition of cloud software.
Typically vendors who have not made the investments to port their suites onto modern cloud architectures are really just touting a graphical remote server based solution. This is analogous to running a TeamViewer session to a desktop machine (or server emulating a desktop machine) in a data centre; virtually doubling your hardware capital investment or paying someone else to mirror yours. Or they are forcing home users to install a full software suite and use a ‘dropbox’ style file upload mechanism.
These limitations result in a band-aid solution of legacy programming languages and legacy frameworks all coupled together with a non-cloud based infrastructure. This lack of investment and development in these platforms had never been more apparent to the customer as they struggled to configure VPNs and organise software licences.
It is really important to understand that these days pretty much everything is called ‘cloud’ as it is treated as a marketing term. There is a technical distinction that once you are aware of it, will provide clarity when comparing the products on the market.
True cloud based software is developed ground up to embody core cloud philosophies and architectures. The principles at the core describe the –
Elasticity of resources – does your underlying architecture grow seamlessly with your needs?
Ease of provisioning – how quickly can you get your engineers up and running?
User-oriented allocation of resources – do you require extensive support from an administration team or can your users quickly configure and use the system in the way they need?
Here at Cadonix we like to take the definition even further to really ensure maximum flexibility for our users, that is why all Cadonix software including the full Arcadia Suite is delivered to the users as a Web App. That is, an application that can run entirely within a browser. Exactly in the same way as Google, Slack and Office 365.
By placing this requirement on ourselves it ensures that embracing the cloud philosophy is at the core of all our software. We work to ensure that we are always at the forefront of delivering a productive experience to our users.
We safeguard the principles that our end to end suite satisfies not only the needs of the design engineer, but also that of the harness manufacturer – allowing for seamless data information interchange over the web not only within Arcadia itself but to existing 3rd party supporting systems such as enterprise PLMs, via our API interface.
When you are next trying to decide on what suites and technologies to invest in for your business growth and continuation, you can ask your vendors to tell you about their cloud technologies and use this information to critically analyse their responses.
Hopefully it will not take another pandemic to test if their solutions match their marketing.
Andrew Armstrong CTO – Cadonix
If you want to know more about Cadonix and Arcadia please click on the following link https://www.cadonix.com/products/ and let us show you how we leverage the true cloud for business just like yours.