Frame Brings CAD Windows Apps into the Cloud

By Peter Bernstein March 27, 2015

CAD Windows apps can now be moved to the cloud thanks to Menlo Park, California-based startup Frame (formerly MainFrame2).  This represents what is likely to become a sea-change for CAD.

Whether we know it or not we have all seen, if not actually worked with computer-aided design (CAD).  On a mass market basis we see its use on the popular home improvement shows which allow interior designers and contractors to render the “look of your new home.”  

The value of CAD systems for electronic envisioning of designs has been one of the most important drivers of what some call the post-industrial age. CAD originally was a disrupter by cutting the person-hours needed to render 2D and 3D items.  Its use for high-quality visualization of components, which when animation is added shows how they all fit together, has been equally as disruptive. It precludes the need for constructing things.  In short, CAD software has a history of being disruptive, applicable across vertical markets, and with the rise of 3D printing is only poised to add additional value. In short, here we go again. 

Just for a little context.  CAD is part of the Digital Product Development (DPD) within the broader Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) scheme of process. These includes such things as:  Computer-aided Engineering (CAE),  Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Computer-aided  Manufacturing (CAM) with instructions to Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines, photo realistic rendering and motion simulation, document management and revision control using Product Data Management (PDM).  It is foundational to all of these in many ways because after all you need a plan/design to get going.

What CAD has not been, because of its computational speed requirements and codec needs regarding the quick ability to create and move around complex graphics, is cloud-friendly.  This is where Frame comes in. 

Source: Frame

The nice thing about it is that you can use you premises hard drive or a cloud-based one.

The three year-old company quickly established a reputation as an innovator in virtualized software delivery and breaking ground in the instantaneous delivery of Windows apps into the cloud. This includes having such reference customers as Adobe and Siemens.   This past week at the Develop3DLive event in Warwick, U.K., has a series of announcements including its name change.  

Company founder and CEO Nikola Bosinovic, along with being a panel member on the future of CAD and the cloud revealed the following: 

  • The public BETA of its new Frame end-user product, that lets anyone quickly and easily move any Windows application into Frame’s secure cloud environment, automatically, with just a few clicks. This is scheduled to go to market before the end of Q2 2015.
  •  Additional funding from Bain Venture Capital.

Addressing the need for speed

The company has chosen to place its first focus for the Beta on the CAD, Design and AEC industries, “because of its unique ability to handle even the most intense graphics tasks easily while preserving high quality.”

Key features of Frame include:

  • Full compatibility with any existing Windows software
  • The ability to connect to any PDM or cloud storage
  • Superior graphics performance

To the latter point, Frame states that even the most demanding graphics tasks run smoothly from the cloud super-computer powered by NVIDIA GRID graphics.

“Seeing SOLIDWORKS running in a browser was unbelievable,” said Jared Conway from Hawk Ridge Systems, the #1 Worldwide SOLIDWORKS reseller.  “The cursor response was crisp and assemblies rotated smoothly even with RealView enabled.  Overall, the SOLIDWORKS experience on Frame was top notch.”

This is one of those instance where seeing really is believing.  In fact, if you are a member of the CAD community and would like to take Frame out for a spin, a limited number of Frame BETA accounts are being made available at www.fra.me

Having apps work from the cloud as if they were local really is a major step forward. As Frame points out, all you need is an HTML5-capabe browser and away you go. The cost reductions possible for business apps could be several orders of magnitude for the same user experience.  Certainly worth seeing if you are eligible for one of those Frame Beta accounts.  




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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