In Conversation: Reinventing the CAD industry – Taxal, Shapr3D & Al Dean
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:00:03] Welcome. My name’s Allan Behrens from Taxal and I’m joined by some very interesting guests. I think you’ll agree, Istvan from Shapr3d. Hello Istvan and Al Dean from developed 3-D. How are you? I’m good. I’m great. And what we wanted to do today is just talk about some of the trends in the CAD industry. I think for many people that have seen the industry go through these sort of phases and certainly, there’s something happening. And that’s why in particular we’ve got Istvan joining us today. And just to go over well, what’s actually happened over the recent or not so recent past? How in the world of CAD have you noticed anything?
AL DEAN [00:00:56] I think there’s a move towards it’s a fairly hackneyed phrase, democratisation. I think access to proper digital design tools has grown. Maybe the hardware has got a little bit more accessible and there’s a lot more folks interested in creating that design data then moving into engineering yeah. It’s an interesting time. There’s a big growth of it.
AL DEAN [00:01:22] I mean, certainly there’s you know, the world is moving to digital Istvan and, you know, you’re in the business. You know, where have you come from and what’s the sort of background?
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:01:34] So my background is software engineering.
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:01:37] I graduated as a software engineer 12 years ago, and during the last years of my university, I had another cat start up very, very, very keen, going to a generative design tool with original programming language that I joined me in as a senior software engineer. And then I started Chapare 3D.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:01:58] So, I mean something certainly that I see evident in the kind of market people talk about industry digitalising.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:02:06] And I think in the world of Cloud, the world is digital, albeit there are elements of manual. I mean, they still play models, for example. Have you got any observations about that?
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:02:17] Yeah, I look, I mean, there is there is a generation that has grown up with iPhones, either their hands. Right.
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:02:27] I’m I’m I mean, that generation to too. And I, I agree with Al that indeed the democratisation of design tools is a massive and but the way how we see it is that it’s really it’s much more like it’s actually it’s a generational shift. So as this generation that that is really the first actually digital native generation has grown up. We just demand our our software, even our B2B and business software to be amazingly easy to use. We don’t want to go to trainings to learn how to use these tools. And and we believe that that that because of this this these needs every software, including CAD, is going to be much more accessible. That that, of course, unlocks a very large market by democratising access to these design tools. But it’s also going to be the main stream of of CAD as this generation is becoming the majority of the workforce.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:03:32] Right. And the platforms Al the platforms have changed dramatically over the past 20 years, haven’t they? I mean, there’s just been a phase shift in how people use technology.
AL DEAN [00:03:44] I think there’s this there was the idea that the CAD operator or the platform that they used was a specialised piece of equipment has maybe gone away. The idea that a much wider spread of folks can use those digital creation tools is ground. I think part of that’s a platform shift. Part of that is that more people are used to interacting with 3D data, whether it’s games, whether it’s Ar whether it’s VR, whether it’s just the idea that 3D present in cinema, TV, that kind of thing. There’s there’s the fear of 3D is going away, I think. And that’s a platform shift to more accessible tools.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:04:32] I agree. And I think the other thing that’s changed is there is this on demand perception of software, especially coming from the world of mobile phones and everything. People expect to be able to time slice their life much more than in the past. So you don’t just sit down at a desk and do design. You do lots of jobs perhaps during the day, maybe focussing on something for longer periods. But you expect to be able to pick something up, do it. It’s easy. It’s it’s fun. Actually, I think there’s an element of fun involved in it. And people just want to get on and do it in as pleasant a manner as possible. I don’t know just about. Do you find that as well?
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:05:11] I absolutely like the the purchase behaviour, for example, has completely changed.
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:05:17] I’ve even even businesses, like most businesses, don’t want to go through a cumbersome sales process nowadays. They just want to start using their software and maybe use a credit card to purchase it or or or maybe talk it once, like half an hour for the salesperson to help set up things about that tape. And so basically the old world of of going through the long sales process, having a customer success manager or a salesperson sitting in your office, installing your software and configuring it on your computer, it’s it’s just gone. That’s not how people want to want to access new tools. And what they they actually want to try it immediately. They want to access all the features immediately. They want to learn it by themselves. They want to educate themselves. They don’t don’t want third parties to be involved in this early engagement process. That’s that’s really the Divvy Cloud of the nineteen nineties.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:06:17] So this is a great Segway into. So I mean, why don’t you just explain your business and what you’re aiming to achieve.
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:06:25] So I’m at Shapr3D if I had to summarise in a single sentence. Basically, what we do is that we think a lot about what has changed in the last 30 years, that that allow us to to create a design tool that is a much better fit for for the needs of of 2020. And and the result of this thinking is, is an iPad application, a professional 3D cad based on a solid and D cubed where we are in the first four years.
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:06:59] We are exclusively focussing on reinventing the design experience for four more and stylus interaction. And basically it is this new interaction model that we have created for Shapr3D resulted in an amazingly easy to use superfluid design experience that you can learn in no time, even if you have literally zero experience. But if you are a CAD professional, even then you will find it a superfluid and super intuitive experience that allows you to to design in a way that that is that really feels like this is how it should work in 2020.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:07:38] I mean, Al, you’ve used the application. I mean, what are you what are your thoughts on how it’s different to what else is on the market?
AL DEAN [00:07:48] One of the big issues with other systems that maybe been around a bit longer is that they focus on the documentation of design, it’s about rigid modelling. It’s about creating the perfect form that’s then taken through an engineering workflow. And I think Istavan has done with the 3D is give folks a set of tools that let them think but think and experiment up with 3D geometry, which is something that’s not really been done before. It’s about experimenting and actual proper design work rather than documenting something you’ve already pretty much fully thought out.
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:08:35] Exactly. This is what we usually say when we are explaining Shapr3D that CAD should stand for if CAD stands for computer aided design. But actually traditional CAD systems are computer aided documentation tools and not really design tools. So I totally agree with that. And we are. You’re much more focussed on the design process.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:08:57] And I think the other thing is Istvan is the thing I certainly sense is that you you certainly take advantage of some of the newer I mean, there’s a lot of people using iPads.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:09:07] I mean, goodness me, you know, a lot of design engineers, especially the youth have got iPads and uses one of the one of the bits of software that really takes advantage of that. And I think Apple endorses you as such. Which is which is good for you.
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:09:22] Absolutely. We have and we have been one of the top iPad apps since we released Shapr 3D since 2016.
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:09:34] Actually, we were featured in several Apple events and Apple ads last year. We won an Apple Design Award, which is really the top appreciation that we can get from Apple only four or five applications a year. Get it out of the several million apps in the in the App Store we are super proud of that.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:09:58] So what? OK, let’s think about what’s happening next. So what’s next for the for the business and what do you see happening over the next couple of years?
ISTVAN CSANADY [00:10:09] So from basically from day one, we have been following the same strategy. And that strategy is that we have started with a bit of conceptual design tool and then ideation tool focussing on the first 70 percent of the design process on the prototyping ideation, sketching parts of the design process. And basically what we’ve been doing since 2000 16 is that your step by step adding more and more functionality to the product to cover more and more of the design process. And in the next few weeks, we are going to release drawings, engineering drawings, manufacturing drawings as a new feature in shapr 3-D that will allow us to cover a significantly bigger part of the design process.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:10:58] Great, good. Now, what do you think? You know, firstly about what is talked about and the future and what you think is going to happen in this sort of market?
AL DEAN [00:11:09] I think it’s it’s this this the software market is something that’s changing and it tends to go on to a 10 year cycle. I think I think the last big shift was to move towards more Cloud, but I think that’s maybe a distraction. I think that’s essentially the same tools running on a slightly different platform. A friend of mine described it as just running on someone else’s computer, I think might be what engineers and designers want is tools that let them be more creative in the way that they want. And it’s not just about a mouse and keyboard. It’s not about being a desk. It’s about being out, ironically, in the world that we’re in right at the moment. But once that’s out of the way, things get back to normal. And those folks that will travel the world first off, travelling in China, hop on a plane, come see their customers in Singapore, back to the US and back home. I think we need a different set of tools for how business is done, and particularly design and engineering gets made and got left behind a little and quite small iterations of the toolsets that have been around for quite some time. Maturity is a good thing, but maybe we need something else.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:12:35] I’d like to Istavan yourself and Al, for your input. I think it’s been a very interesting conversation and I hope that the views and George as well. Thank you.