In the 1950s and 60s, John McCarthy, an outstanding American computer scientist who coined the term “artificial intelligence”, argued that in the near future, all processes related to the operation of computers and the use of their computing power will be made available for public use and will use shared data centers. We now recognize […]
In the 1950s and 60s, John McCarthy, an outstanding American computer scientist who coined the term “artificial intelligence”, argued that in the near future, all processes related to the operation of computers and the use of their computing power will be made available for public use and will use shared data centers. We now recognize this position as "cloud computing," though it hadn't yet been named. And though it was hard to fathom for regular citizens and business leaders, McCarthy's position was supported by other leading scientists of the time.
As it turned out, the ubiquitous availability of high network bandwidth, the decreasing costs of computers and devices, and the widespread adoption of hardware virtualization have led to a huge increase in the use of cloud computing across diverse industries.
In the past decade, and specifically within the past few years, work environments have migrated from local infrastructure to the clouda t an exponentially increasing pace. This migration is made possible by shifting the entire service, from data storage through software to computing, to a remote server and granting access to clients.
This relationship between server, network, and machine offers certain benefits and disadvantages. Cloud migration has the advantage of transferring the responsibility for security and reliability to the cloud service provider. At the same time though, the speed of operation becomes dependent on the computing power of the server and connection speed with the server.
The development of network infrastructure and cloud technology has extended the possibilities of cloud computing. Migration to the cloud means that users don’t need top-of-the-line hardware, huge amounts of memory, or special software to take advantage of sophisticated programs. All they need is a browser and internet connection.
With the widespread adoption of cloud technology, particularly fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more industries are realizing how they too can take advantage of cloud infrastructure. This “cloudifying” potential extends to the gaming and engineering industries.
Cloud gaming is a trend that is slowly beginning to transform the gaming industry. Rather than running a game off a disc or downloading game files to a player’s machine, cloud gaming is hosted on servers, accessed through a browser or web client. Gameplay is then streamed to the user's device. This approach to gaming means that players do not need a computer or console with high computing power. Often, a tablet, TV, or mobile phone is enough. Thanks to the use of these cloud platforms, the player does not have to download or install the title, which significantly reduces the time needed to start playing.
The phenomenon of cloud gaming concerns the processing of the game in the cloud - graphics, characters, background, operations – basically all the game’s content. We already use similar technologies in other sectors, although then we don’t use the term cloud computing. These are similar concepts with slight differences.
Cloud computing is generally described in relation to collaborative work on text files, spreadsheets, and other office processes. Cloud business solutions differ from cloud gaming solutions through their target audience and objectives. Unless that business is in the gaming industry, they likely aren't striving to create an immersive gameplay experience through low latency, stable internet connection, and high bandwidth. In fact, there is nothing to prevent an average business professional from establishing a cloud storage and sharing solution to handle offline content and automatically sync files.
Cloud gaming, on the other hand, is fully dependent on a constant network connection. This is the biggest technological barrier so far, but due to the development of technologies such as 5G and WiFi 6, the widespread adoption of cloud gaming phenomenon has a slightly rosier outlook. Ever faster networks will be able to maintain a high level of immersive detail and allow for comfortable gameplay.
The main requirement of cloud gaming, as previously mentioned, is a high-speed internet connection, without which smooth gameplay is impossible. Its parameters vary depending on the provider – e.g., Stadia recommends a 10 Mb / s connection, Boosteroid says that to play in Full HD resolution and 60 frames per second, you should have a 15 Mb / s connection, while in the case of GeForce Now - 25 Mb / s. For comparison, Netflix recommends 25 Mb / s for watching movies in 4K resolution.
Engineering firms increasingly rely on 3D CAD software in the cloud. This technology provides the user with a complete work environment, from the design application to document management tools, all via web browser. Thanks to the available software in the cloud, the user buys access to a given application rather than paying for each tool as a native application. This strategy reduces the huge start-up costs related to hardware and software for designers.
- integrated data management
- granular/secure file sharing for projects
- minimum or no installation,
- lower costs
From a product development perspective, engineers need to explore many different options for their projects and be able to communicate freely with various team members, contractors, and of course, the end client. Exposure to different concepts and access to tools that streamline communication supports engineers in producing informed and inspired designs.
Traditional CAD software can bog down the design process, because these tools don't offer the same collaboration capabilities that cloud CAD offers. With a cloud-based platform, multiple users can access and edit a design at the same time, and projects can be streamlined through notification, comment, and workflow tools. Thanks to these capabilities, multiple teams can provide feedback on projects and facilitate high-quality deliverables.
One of the biggest challenges in introducing cloud CAD design to engineering firms and businesses is security. However, there are more and more counterpoints that prove users have nothing to worry about. Security is a major point of competition for cloud service providers, which makes for excellent measures to protect servers from data breaches.
These cloud service providers employ encryption, network separation, and authentication tools to secure client data. Additionally, they may conduct regular penetration testing to spot security vulnerabilities and respond to developing trends in cybersecurity.
Another challenge is connection timeouts and reliability. Cloud-based tools require stable internet connectivity. No internet means zero access to CAD programs, which also means no work done – unless those files are stored on a cloud service with integrated off-line solutions or sync clients. Additionally, a high-speed internet connection is a prerequisite, especially when working with large data sets. Design files are in the tens of MB range, often reaching GB. Consequently, low internet speeds will have a major impact on user experience.
The same performance considerations for cloud gaming are identical to the requirements of a full-blown, cloud-CAD solution. Delivering high computational power with minimal lag and out-of-the-box, co-working capabilities are at the center of creating a streamlined, cloud-enabled engineering ecosystem.
It’s worth emphasizing how many possibilities are hidden in cloud technology - we can see how quickly various industries are using the cloud to solve a diverse array of challenges. Not so long ago, the cloud was considered mainly a business solution.
Today, in addition to the streaming platforms we already know, such as Netflix or Spotify, the cloud unveils possibilities across personal and professional verticals, including gaming in the cloud and developing engineered solutions. Cloud-based tools and platforms can replace equipment worth several thousand dollars at a fraction of the cost, providing greater accessibility and activity scope for the average user.
The obvious downside is that as soon as you stop paying for the tool (cloud technologies are often billed as a subscription service), you will no longer have access to the products and services upon which you have come to rely. In the event of an outage, the disruption in service may result in lost data, and you may have to restore files or tools from your backup files.
The main barrier to cloud gaming and 3D CAD design is the speed and stability of the internet connections. However, consistent strides in network optimization, including the introduction of 5G connectivity, are rendering these concerns to the past. Cloud-based technology is here to stay.
SaaS-Based CAD is Taking Over
Article written by Piotr Slupski