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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Autodesk Acquires Sequoia-Backed Software Design Startup PlanPlatform - Cloud CAD Collaboration Computing

I laugh when customers tell me that they're going to buy their software from another vendor and they're going to show Autodesk that they mean business. The problem is that there really aren't any other companies that have invested in so many areas that provide a total BIM solution. Archicad is the worst offender since it's impossible to make content unless you know how to do programming. They lost the battle a long time ago but we get the threats every now and again.

Autodesk has invested millions of dollars in acquisitions to improve on the future of BIM. Here's another one for the engineers.

Repost: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/17/autodesk-acquires-sequoia-backed-software-design-startup-planplatform/

by Leena Rao on December 17, 2009
Autodesk, the developer of software design applications, has acquired PlanPlatform, a competing company. According to reports, Autodesk shelled out between $20-$30 million for the Israeli startup. Autodesk, a publicly traded company, provides software design applications for a variety of industries, including Architecture, Engineering, Media and Entertainment.
PlanPlatform, formerly known as Visual Tao, develops SaaS that provides engineers with two-dimensional and three-dimensional software drafting tools. The startup recently $4.3 million, with Sequoia Capital leading the round. Autodesk has acquired a number of companies, including Algor, SoftImage and 3D Geo.

After a little more digging, I actually came across a live link to their product.  Here's the link: http://www.visualtao.com/app/message?link=TTEvz33cuTTHm1j.  It's web based drawing or as some of you might call it, cloud computing.  Cloud CAD Computing.  Pretty cool.  Also, here's an article from Cadaylst: http://www.cadalyst.com/cad/autocad/news/the-tao-cad-and-gis-12786  and a blurb from the article.

How It Works

Most likely, you'll begin by uploading a series of drawings to your workspace, configured to be accessible to your colleagues and collaborators. The product seems to have been developed specifically for review cycles. In addition to the navigation tools (zoom, pan, rotate, and so on), you can also use the editing toolbar, which lets you attach xref files, annotate, dimension, draw lines and primitive shapes, and delete items.
CEO Weiss pointed out, “Users are not limited to adding overlays and markups to drawings, but that they can edit drawing geometry, text, and block objects. Today, this is something that can't be done over the web or without a preinstalled desktop CAD editor. They can directly apply those changes made during a review or co-editing session to the file on [VisualTao’s] server or download a version containing the changes to their desktop.”

The real-time collaboration option lets you launch a co-navigation session, wherein two parties can interact with the file simultaneously. Weiss verifies that the software currently supports up to four co-editors at a time. This feature distinguishes VisualTao from other online collaboration tools that let you work with others by passing the control baton, a method by which only one participant can interact with the drawing at a time. (In other words, the person with the baton works while others watch.) With VisualTao, your collaborators do not need to be subscribers in order to work with you. The company's FAQ explains, "You can invite any number of unregistered users via e-mail to collaborate with you."

The integrated chat window lets you send and receive text messages or voice over IP, much in the same way you would in Google Talk or Yahoo! Messenger. At the end of the collaboration session, you can archive a transcript of the discussion, complete with a record of the edits to the drawing and the comments added.

The permission setting lets you define the rights of your collaborator. Whether the other party can edit the drawing, just view it, or download it is determined by the checkmarks you put in this window.
Along with these tools, VisualTao gives you a view of the big picture via the dashboard, which lists all your discussions and the associated messages and participants. The discussion view shows you the relevant messages and collaborators in a consolidated window (no more digging into Outlook Inbox or searching through the messages using a keyword).


Autodesk Acquires Sequoia-Backed Software Design Startup PlanPlatform


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