Connecting disparate design, engineering, and management functions via modern software speeds creativity and opens new business opportunities.
Every day, millions of people log onto distributed computing systems and collaboratively design three-dimensional (3D) systems. But they aren’t CAD designers working on new facial reconstruction implants, diesel fuel rails, helicopter rotors, or wind turbine blades.
Gathering online to design buildings and cities, more than 100 million people worldwide are registered users of the low-resolution video game Minecraft. In early 2015, the pocket edition of the game for iOS and Android devices passed the 30 million download mark. Called by some the Legos of the 21st century, Minecraft is more than just a game, it’s a sign of where design is going.
Programmers of modern design software systems say Minecraft’s explosive popularity has shown that it can be easy to work across vast geographic distances using shared resources. Multiple players simultaneously work on the same overall design, watching as the changes one user makes ripple through the house or city that they’re building – a level of real-time collaboration that many professional design teams can’t achieve.
In practical terms, that means the days of designers managing their own files and working on discreet systems are numbered. The future is in connected, cloud-based offerings where designers’ different sub-systems will work from the same master files – a change in the basic architecture of the finished product will ripple through every component instantly instead of having to be reconciled against multiple, different versions.